Today, Children, We’re Not Going To Do A Show

“This isn’t about a single group of kindergartners, but about our core values for all students – that the arts are not disposable, that they are not frivolous, and that they can in fact prepare students for life.” Howard Sherman, Arts Administrator and Producer
Elwood Letter
Of course, on the face of it, it’s simply the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard. In a letter to the parents of kindergarten students at Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, N.Y., the principal and kindergarten teachers wrote: “The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers.” The Washington Post seemed to be first on the case, with a story titled, “Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.” That pretty much set the tone and I jumped into the fray, sharing it online with introductory words including “dumb” and “shame.” I happened to be e-mailing with a producer at CBS News on a personal topic and passed the article along to her, and I tweeted it in the direction of a reporter at The New York Post, knowing how they like to take umbrage at things. I wanted people to see how ridiculous this was, and is. Read more…

A Work Based Learning Program at Vital Theatre

“What I learned is I can’t go through my life silent. Everybody has something in them.”
Caitlin Perkins, Grade 11
Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School

[Read more…]

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.

2013 NYC Primary Election Day

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 10th, is primary election day here in New York City. The results could have a significant impact on the education of New York City’s 1.1 million schoolchildren.

As part of a coalition of more than 40 arts, education and child advocacy organizations, The Center for Arts Education has spent the last several months meeting with the candidates and their staff to talk about the importance of arts education and creative learning for our city’s schoolchildren…and building support for policies that would support the expansion of arts education in city schools.

We have been encouraged by what we’ve heard.

Before you head to the polls, we encourage you to hear what they have to say for yourself. Read the responses to the NYC Arts in Education Candidate Survey Project for the following key races:
Office of Mayor
Manhattan Borough President and Queens Borough President
Office of Comptroller
As turnout in municipal elections is typically significantly less than in federal election years, your vote on Tuesday is magnified and can help play a role in selecting the city’s next leader. And with your continued support and engagement we can help expand access to quality arts instruction.

Polling places are open on Tuesday from 6AM to 9PM. For more information on the candidates and voting process, check out the NYC Campaign Finance Board Primary Election Voting Guide.

First Online With Fran Episode 2: Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School Students Speak Out

On April 5, 2013 First Online With Fran asked a group of students from Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School to respond to this statement, “The Arts are extra-curricular and disposable.”

Here’s what they had to say…

“You can’t take away something from someone that goes to bed every night and smile about. . . It helps you find who you are as a person and where you belong in this world.” ~Justin Figueroa

This is a critical moment for the future of education in New York City.

There’s change everywhere in education, and it’s never been a hotter political topic. Major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland have seen civic leaders join with parents, students, cultural organizations and businesses to expand access to arts education. New York City needs to be on that list.

The NYC Roundtable, together with more than 40 other cultural and educational agencies, invited the declared mayoral candidates to weigh in on what a quality education, including the arts, will look like if they are elected. Their responses are now up for all to see: View the responses now.

To become part of the solution sign a petition right now to show your support for arts and creative learning in New York’s educational future.

Visit CAE’s Arts Education Action Center! Here you’ll find tools, tips, and information to help ensure that all of New York City’s more than one million public school students are receiving an arts education.