Every Child in Every School: A Vision for Arts and Creativity

City Arts Leaders push de Blasio on Instruction Promise

By Eliza Shapiro
More than 90 influential arts and culture groups are pushing Mayor Bill de Blasio to stick to his promise of providing arts education to every public school child in the city.

During the campaign, de Blasio said he would establish a four-year goal to ensure every child would receive arts education up to the state education department’s standards, with instruction by certified arts teachers. In her first few public appearances, chancellor Carmen Fariña has also said the city’s schools need more arts instruction. Last week, during her first official school visit to M.S. 223 in the South Bronx, Fariña praised the school’s principal Ramon Gonzalez for his work to help turn the middle school around, which included increasing arts instruction with federal funding through the Center for Arts Education’s School Arts Support Initiative.

City arts advocates say the new administration’s support for the arts, coupled with a new law requiring the Department of Education to provide data on arts instruction, signal a new era in the city’s schools.

Some of the city’s most powerful arts and education advocacy figures signed the statement, including Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children who served as a member of de Blasio’s transition team; N.Y.C.L.U president Donna Lieberman; executive director of Alliance for Quality Education Billy Easton; and Karen Brooks Hopkins and Matthew Van Besien, the heads of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and New York Philharmonic, respectively.

The statement specifically calls for instruction in visual arts, dance, music, and theater by certified arts teachers, along with dedicated funding for facilities and supplies. “Far too many of our city’s public school students are not being provided access to a rich and engaging curriculum that includes the arts instruction they deserve and is required by law,” the statement reads.

“Every Child in Every School: A Vision for Arts and Creativity in New York City Public Schools” –is one part of a continued advocacy effort to ensure arts education is a priority for the new administration.

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