I love the creativity of the New York Post Headline writers!
The headline addresses the annual arts education report released by the NYC Department of Education. According to the Post:
Just 8 percent of city elementary schools met state requirements for arts instruction in the 2007-08 school year, according to a new report.
And that figure was double what it had been the prior year, when only 4 percent of schools offered dance, music, theater and visual-arts classes to students, as required.
The gains were more substantial for the city's middle schools, however, with 46 percent of schools meeting state instruction mandates last year – up from 29 percent in 2006-07.
Arts participation also increased in high schools, ranging from gains of 5 percentage points for students taking arts classes in 11th grade to gains of 10 percentage points for students in ninth and 12th grades.
City and education officials hailed the overall increase in participation documented in the second annual Arts in Schools report – an initiative that was designed to both account for and boost student engagement in the arts.
"This year, we saw more schools offer more art to more children, and we're going to keep building on that progress," Mayor Bloomberg said.
The Center for Arts Education (CAE) commends the New York City Department of Education (DOE) for issuing the second annual Arts in Schools Report, which provides the public with helpful information about arts education offerings in public schools. However, the release of today's report makes clear that the school system is still failing to provide students with the arts education they are entitled to by law. With budgets being slashed this year and presumably next year, and an increased focus on testing and test preparation, there is a fear that arts education will disappear from the schools.
Some key issues the Center identified:
— According to the current report, only 8 percent of elementary schools reported offering the minimum that is required by the State of New York, up from 4 percent the previous year.
— While last year's report found that only 29 percent of middle school students completed the state requirements in the arts, this key barometer is noticeably absent from this year's report.
— Schools are budgeting less on the arts overall, with spending on services by art and cultural partners down by over half a million dollars, and a 63 percent decrease in spending on arts supplies and equipment.
— Spending on the arts relative to other budget areas has also decreased. It is critical to note that the data predates the current economic crisis.
The great accomplishment here is that NYC is gathering and now REPORTING arts education data on an annual basis. I am a little concerned about the disappearing benchmark for middle schools.
The point is… in order to get to where you want to be… you have to know where you are. In NYC public schools… the know more than 99% of the rest of the schools in this country!