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Lesson Plans


ADVOCACY IN NYC

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National Art Education Association (naea)
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 11:26:47 -0500 (EST)

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NEW YORK CITY ADVANCES ART EDUCATION

[From NAEANews, December 1997]

The New York City Council approved $33.4 billion budget for FY1998. $100
million will go to the city's Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), making
it the single largest cultural funding agency in the country! (The National
Endowment for the Arts 1998 budget is $98 million.)
Art educators in the city's public schools, having struggled for decades
with bare-bones school budgets, are envious of DCA's bonanza earmarked for
cultural institutions and arts service organizations. When New York City
was threatened with bankruptcy in the '70s, arts instruction reached fewer
than one third of the school children. Many administrators filled the void
in the largest school system in the United States by turning to arts
service agencies. During the subsequent years, those services expanded, so
that today, a network of arts organizations provides a significant share of
arts-related experiences to K-12 students.
In 1996, The Annenberg Foundation announced its Arts Education Initiative-a
gift of $12 million, over 5 years, for school reform by "institutionalizing
the arts"-and challenged other philanthropies to match the grant
dollar-wise 2 for 1. The projected $26 million is administered by The
Center for Arts Education, independent of the New York City Board of
Education. The Annenberg grant money may not be used to pay teachers'
salaries. The first round of grant awards netted 10 schools one-year
planning grants of $10,000 each; and, 18 schools $75,000 per year for 5
implementation years. Total: $600,000. Thirty schools will be funded in
the second round; the last is scheduled for 1999.
Triggered by the private funding and the public outcry of advocacy groups
such as The Art Education Group (AEG) and The University Council for Art
Education (UCAE), Mayor Giuliani identified $25 million in the city budget
"to effect the gradual rebuilding of comprehensive arts education
system-wide." The Mayor pledges another $25 million for this purpose in
1998 and, again, in 1999. Total: $75 million.
These funds will be administered by Chancellor Rudolph Crew's Special
Assistant for the Arts, Dr. Sharon Dunn, via Project ARTS-Arts Restoration
Throughout the Schools. Already, a portion of the annual salary ($30,000)
for a local Project ARTS Liaison was allocated to each high school
Superintendent's Office thus placing seven coordinators (Brooklyn, Bronx,
Manhattan, Queens, Richmond, Alternative High Schools, and Special
Education). Similarly, the Chancellor charged each Superintendent of the 32
Community School Districts, including the Citywide Special Education
District, to appoint a Project ARTS Liaison for elementary and middle
schools.
When schools opened in September, Superintendents chose the first third of
the city's 1,100 schools to receive Project ARTS funds. Another third is
slated for 1998 and the last for 1999. Each school must design its
comprehensive educational plan for direct instruction to students in art,
music, dance, and theater; for professional development; for local
curriculum development; and for allocations for arts/cultural services,
equipment and supplies. Dr. Dunn sponsors a citywide showcase in the
spring, at which arts and cultural organizations exhibit their programs to
school people.
The momentum generated by the simultaneous infusion of public and private
money sparked cooperation of the United Federation of Teachers and parent,
community ,and political constituencies and decision makers at every level
of schooling. Although arts educators are deeply appreciative of the
evaporation of longstanding barriers to a balanced curriculum, they do
worry about how to maintain the fundamental place of the arts disciplines
at the center of general education. For example, how will the new
collaborators be prepared to implement the National and State Visual Arts
Standards? Moreover, at this point, it is unclear how many certified art
and music specialists will be hired for middle and secondary schools.
Another serious obstacle is the unique policy that requires holding a
Common Branch license before a state-certified K-12 arts specialist can
secure employment in a New York City elementary school.
At this writing, The New York City Board of Education, Division of Human
Resources, 65 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 has declared Fine Arts and
Music to be "shortage areas," and offers to accelerate teacher licensing
procedures and invites inquiries (718-935-2988).
Experienced art educators who remember how often institutions ignored past
efforts, how disappointed grantees scramble to replace aborted financial
support, and how complex it is to deliver substantive, sequential,
curriculum-based art instruction are apprehensive. Two local advocacy
organizations intend to play a watchdog role: The Arts Education Group
(212-217-7937) and The University Council for Art Education (212-533-5174).
Their members appreciate the active support of the National Art Education
Association and its affiliates-Retired Art Educators Association and Public
Policy and Art Administration-and welcome the participation of art
educators nationwide.
-Sylvia K. Corwin, Arts Education Group, University Council for Art
Education, Past President NYSATA and NYCATA

naea
http://www.naea-reston.org


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