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Arts Teachers As Endangered Species

Okay, I know, this makes two posts in a row about cuts to arts education. It is, as the Mark Knopfler song goes: “It’s what it is.”

In this case, it’s an old and quite sore subject. And yes, it’s a subject that makes me angry and eager for new city leadership. For all of those who tell me I should be more guarded, sorry.

In what many still argue is the arts capital of the world, the public school system can’t find a way to provide a minimum of one year of arts education for all middle school students.

While real education leaders like Michael Hinojosa in Dallas Independent School District are protecting their arts teachers from cuts, even while 4,000 teachers face layoffs, New York City loses 5% of its arts teachers and is preparing to cut another 15%. This comes on top of a 69% cut to funding of arts supplies and a 31% cut for services of cultural organizations, all before the great recession began in 2008.

Click here for Arts Teachers Becoming Endangered Species in City Schools–Even Before Massive Layoffs, by Meredith Kolodner, NY Daily News.

City schools are already down 135 arts teachers – even before the
massive layoffs projected for next year, Education Department data show.

Last
year, public schools employed 2,462 arts teachers, down from 2,597 the
year before. This drop erased the slow gains arts education had made
over several years.

Now an additional 356 arts teachers risk pink
slips as part of the proposed layoff of 4,600 teachers citywide – a cut
that would bring the number of certified arts teachers down by close to
20% over three years.

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