NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The state of the arts is unequal at New York City public schools, according to a new report from the comptroller’s office.
Comptroller Scott Stringer’s analysis of Education Department data has found that 28 percent of schools lack a full-time certified arts teacher, while 20 percent have no arts teacher at all, including one out of seven middle and high schools. The report also found that 10 percent of schools don’t have a dedicated arts room.
The State of the Arts report released Monday shows that the lack of arts instruction disproportionately affects low-income neighborhoods. More than 42 percent of the schools are concentrated in the South Bronx and central Brooklyn, according to the report.
“I’m a firm believer in the arts,” schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said. “If you have a band, if you have a chorus, if you have a drama club or a debate club, many kids come to school the day of those particular activities.”
WEB EXTRA: Read The Report (pdf)
State law requires that all middle and high school students receive arts instruction.
But Farina said it’s unclear how the programs will be funded. Stringer said it would cost $26 million to put full-time certified arts teachers in every school.
“Funding for arts education in New York City has been on a steady decline over the last seven years — it’s time for us to draw up a new plan so that we can give all our children, in every corner of the City, a quality, comprehensive arts education,” said Stringer in a statement.
From 2006 to 2013, there has been a 47 percent decline in arts programming funding and an even steeper decline in dedicated support for supplies such as musical instruments and other equipment, according to the comptroller’s report.
Stringer has proposed creating a separate budget line for arts funds and reaching out to cultural organizations to build possible partnerships for arts education, among other steps.
Parent Peggy Washington her now-grown son, a music producer at CUNY TV, is a product of arts education, which she had to find outside of the schools.
“Now he’s an Emmy winner,” she told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “And I’m so excited, I don’t know what to do.”
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