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Middle School Matters

New York

Middle schools weakest in arts, too, city finds in annual report

The city's Annual Arts in Schools Report shows that fewer middle schools have reported offering each arts discipline every year since 2010, according to the city's Annual Arts in Schools Report. One in five city eighth-graders graduated from middle school last year without completing the state's basic requirements for arts education. That data point is one of many contained in the city's Annual Arts in Schools Report, which tallies arts instruction, staff, and spending. At an event for arts advocates this morning to launch the report, Department of Education officials emphasized that schools' time devoted to and money spent on arts instruction held steady or increased since last year. But they said there remain major areas where improvement is needed. "We have to do more work with middle schools," said Chancellor Dennis Walcott, echoing a sentiment he has expressed many times since launching an initiative aimed at boosting the city's lagging middle schools last year. He said the department would convene a special committee to study arts in middle schools and make recommendations for changes. Just 81 percent of last year's eighth-graders graduated having fulfilled the state's arts requirement of one credit in two different disciplines. In 2010, that figure was 85 percent. And the requirements are weaker than what the state originally set out: Walcott said the city had gotten a waiver from the state to allow dance and theater classes to count toward the graduation requirement, in addition to music and visual art.
New York

Even with no model middle school, city expands literacy push

New York

More schools met threshold for closure on new progress reports