Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called for more and better arts education in City schools in a new report released June 30 – while also announcing $20,000 in grants to help fund in-school arts partnerships and a series of arts mixers to connect the borough’s public schools with the City’s top museums and cultural institutions.
The new report, “Arts Forward,” calls into question the reliability of the Department of Education’s Annual Arts Survey, which is used to monitor compliance with mandated arts requirements. The report recommends ways to fix the survey’s inaccuracies and ensure that schools have equal access to the resources needed to enhance arts education.
The report further recommends putting added focus on middle school arts education, fixing arts education funding, implementing collaborative arts programming, providing new opportunities for teacher certification in the arts, and expanding arts education outreach.
“The degree to which the City’s immense cultural capital is reflected in schools varies considerably, and it’s essential for us to strengthen the tools for evaluation to formulate an accurate idea of what schools need – and then help our students receive integrated, sustainable arts education in their classrooms,” Brewer said.
Brewer also announced $20,000 in grants to fund arts partnerships at two middle schools: MS 328 Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry in Washington Heights and MS 332 University Neighborhood Middle School on the Lower East Side. The grants of $10,000 each are for in-school arts education targeted for English Language Learner (ELL) and special education students – two underserved groups.
Brewer further announced a series of mixers, or meet-and-greets, for school administrators to connect with the City’s cultural institutions – one in the fall and one in the spring, one uptown and one downtown.
“I look forward to working in partnership with the Mayor and Chancellor to ensure that all the arts are for all our students, and I hope this report helps move that effort forward,” she said.