Comptroller: City should boost schools’ lagging arts offerings

One in five city schools does not have even a part-time art teacher, despite state laws mandating arts instruction—and the gaps are greatest in schools with many poor students.

Those are among the highlights in a new report from Comptroller Scott Stringer about the state of arts education in city schools. The report repackages data that the Department of Education has put out annually, and it adds an interactive map with a school-by-school breakdown of arts offerings that is in line with what the City Council voted in December to require from the department.

Stringer, who is the city’s financial steward, recommends safeguarding arts funding so that schools cannot choose to use it for other purposes, as the Bloomberg administration allowed. He also recommends several other policy changes that arts advocates have called on the de Blasio administration to make.

The administration has said that it sees arts as an integral part of what schools offer, and Chancellor Carmen Fariña reiterated that point today.

“A well-rounded education that encourages creativity in tandem with a broad range of knowledge and skills is critical for our students’ success in the classroom and beyond,” Fariña said in a statement. “Having access to a great arts education — and a committed and passionate arts teacher — is integral. We will work to provide schools with the support they need to offer dedicated art classes that our students deserve.”