New Report Shows More Art Programs Offered in Public Schools

A new report shows there is more art, drama, theater and dance instruction in city public schools since a substantial investment was made by the de Blasio administration. NY1's education reporter, Lindsey Christ, filed the following report.

There are more certified art teachers in city public schools today than at any time in a decade and more students are studying a wider variety of the arts, from dance to theater.

"Most importantly for me, is that many of these programs are now serving English Language Learners and students with special needs," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "There has never been a time in New York City where these students have been as well served through the arts."

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina released the city's Annual Arts in Schools Report at PS 316 in Crown Heights.

Expanding arts instruction has been a priority of Mayor de Blasio's administration.

The city spent $400 million for arts classes in the last school year, which is up from $336 million when de Blasio took office in 2014. 

Most of the money is spent on teachers. The city says it has hired 364 full time art teachers over the past two years. This school year, 31 schools that did not have art teachers, were able to hire one.  

"More principals are making sure arts are part of their regular budget, as well as any additional money we give them," said Fariña.

The Chancellor believes that to educate the whole child, you must have those arts experiences. So school principals are looking beyond the test scores.

City elementary school students have the most exposure to the arts.

But middle and high schools still generally don't offer much variety. Most middle and high schools only offer one or two of the music, theater, dance and visual arts programs.

The city still is not meeting state standards for arts instruction. Only a third of 8th graders fulfilled the state requirement last school year to study two different types of art.

But that's an improvement. Two years before, only 19% were in compliance.

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