One in five New York City schools has no certified art teacher—part time or full tim—and schools lacking arts education resources are clustered in low-income areas of central Brooklyn and the south Bronx, according to a report released today by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Stringer's report recommends including arts education on school report cards, protecting arts classrooms from being lost to co-locations and using partnerships with outside groups and the sharing of staff among small schools to increase access to the arts.
In a report on this topic last year, City Limits' Jessica Siegel found that the disparities in arts education were intertwined with some key aspects of Bloomberg-era school reform. Under Mayor Bloomberg and his first schools chancellor, Joel Klein, budget lines dedicated for art were folded into general pools of funding to promote flexibility. Principals were given autonomy over many policy decisions, including whether or not to fund art.
And the increasing focus on test scores drove schools to focus time and resources on instruction that might directly affect test performance.
Addressing those pressures might be as important as making more resources available, as Stringer recommends.