Streams

Missing: Arts in Schools

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Scott M. Stringer, New York City comptroller, talks about his school-by-school assessment of state-mandated arts education and the uneven distribution of resources around the city.

Guests:

Scott M. Stringer

Comments [14]

Chris from Inwood

Thanks to Brian and Stringer for doing this segment, which is hugely important. I work for a large cultural institution that has robust partnerships with many NYC schools. The gentleman who called at the end is absolutely right: principals have huge power in determining how resources are used (resources = money, time, AND space) and there is great variation between schools in terms of priorities, educational culture, etc. Lower income schools often face vastly more challenges academically (largely due to poverty, ESL, special needs kids), and so it seems obvious then that principals in these schools would devote more resources to testing, because that is the #1 criteria they are judged on. Further, the administration in a school can be replaced if this one aspect doesn't improve. So, unless you change the INCENTIVES for those who actually make the decisions, nothing will change, regardless of dollars added to the equation.

one more thing, which was not mentioned but is pertinent: charter schools. There's a big debate about funding and space issues that go with charters, but one thing many of them do which is 'free to all 's the resource of TIME. Many of them have school days which are 2+ hrs. and have mandatory arts and music. That's nearly 45 extra school days over the course of an entire year! And if you give kids a variety of activities (rather than constant test prep), they will stay engaged.

Apr. 08 2014 02:58 PM
Charles from Downtown

Thank you for revealing the Missing Arts!
Looking forward to your Hewlett-Packard 911 system audit results.
After the CityTime ripoff, how can any of the previous administration' private contracts avoid a through audit?

Apr. 08 2014 01:48 PM

Is it a surprise that NCLB is 1) a very poor method for educating children and 2) has been used to turn our priorities away from "non-academic" activities? If you think that Art has taken a knock, look at Music programs and Phys. Ed activities.

Dubya's plan was just a ploy to increase the amount of public money that GOP donors (in the form of the test and scoresheet industries) could lay claim to. It's a crock.

It's nice to have the national data for making comparison between schools. It's a waste of time and gives a false impression of what it means to be educated to spend up to one-third of classroom time studying to take a multiple choice test!

It needs to go.

Apr. 08 2014 12:01 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The only "art" I ever had in school was doodling in my notebooks while daydreaming through while some guy up front was droning on about something or other. Who needs art anyway? It's just a scam. Okay, it's an outlet, I get it. Kids should get time and a place to play and do some graffiti here and there between classes. But Art as a subject? I don't think so.

Apr. 08 2014 11:43 AM
Publius from NYC

Does Scott Stringer always sound like this? The sound resemblance to the late James Gandolfini is positively creepy.

Apr. 08 2014 11:42 AM

amandagov, kids in affluent neighborhoods get the art teachers because of active parent associations. Some of those active parent associations will sometimes do sister city programs with cities in developing areas, but never really look at doing sister city programs within their own community.

Apr. 08 2014 11:41 AM
Liz from NYC

We'll never have excellence in our grade schools, with respect to the arts and the entire curriculum, until we stop funding schools with property taxes.

Do we care enough about future generations to make that change?

Apr. 08 2014 11:40 AM
tom from astoria

As a professional artist, I know how important it is to have an art class every semester in high school. Moving to a new town as a freshman, it was the art I did in art class that gave me an identity and boosted my ego. Then, it was my high school art portfolio that got me into a good SUNY university with an EOP scholarship. Art pays my rent to this day.

Apr. 08 2014 11:38 AM

My son had art teachers at every single school.

He did NOT, however, have good science. A survey should be done about science classes in elementary school. My son's school - otherwise considered a good Upper West Side school had the most ABYSMAL science teachers. Totally turned him off. Once he got into middle school he was rescued by a brilliant young science teacher. He now goes to science and really within the context of science does do art.

Ditto for the high schools. I tried to look in the labs at every single school I visited and I have to say I was appalled at the lack of decent labs, especially for chemistry.

Both are necessary. Life is not all about reading and math.

Apr. 08 2014 11:37 AM
Andrea from Philadelphia

I have to say this doesn't surprise me. This is the kind of thing that parents at schools in wealthier neighborhoods raise money for. When Joseph Fernandez was chancellor he wanted to make those schools share their wealth with poorer schools that didn't have access to those kinds of donations and was crucified for it by the wealthy parents who basically said that they would take their kids out of public school if they couldn't use the money they raised for their own kids.

Apr. 08 2014 11:37 AM

My son had art teachers at every single school.

He did NOT, however, have good science. A survey should be done about science classes in elementary school. My son's school - otherwise considered a good Upper West Side school had the most ABYSMAL science teachers. Totally turned him off. Once he got into middle school he was rescued by a brilliant young science teacher. He now goes to science and really within the context of science does do art.

Ditto for the high schools. I tried to look in the labs at every single school I visited and I have to say I was appalled at the lack of decent labs, especially for chemistry.

Both are necessary. Life is not all about reading and math.

Apr. 08 2014 11:36 AM
Robert from NYC

Strange and sad. I went to Morris HS in the "south" Bronx, 166th and Boston Road in the '60 where we had a full range of arts and in particular music and drama. We were one of the top music and drama departments in NYC. We had full Jr and Sr Orchestras, Sr Band, Mixed Chorus, Girls Ghorus. Our instrument room had hundreds of orchestral and band instruments and the staff was tops! Also the art department was going strong too. There was dance, and the drama and music depts put on annual show usually a Broadway play, eg, Finian's Ranibow, Bye Bye Birdie, inter alia. Yep it was a great school to go to for the arts.
Sad to hear this now. I had no idea it was this bad.

Apr. 08 2014 11:36 AM
amandagov from Manhattan

I have three kids in public schools and have been blessed to have amazing art education in elementary and middle school. Our PTA helps to fund art education. Art stretches a different part of one's intellect and we should be ensuring that all kids get quality art education. I suspect families in poor neighborhoods get the short end of the stick, and think that this is another tale of two cities issue.

Apr. 08 2014 11:34 AM
irv

My high school in Ozone Park had an instrumental music program for 80 years, until my Principal closed down the band room, because a student stole a few instruments.
They only had two music teachers for over 3,000 kids.
We gave the Principal a petition to restore the instrumental music program, and she laughed at it, and ripped it up.
I quit, and they fired the other music teacher.

Apr. 08 2014 11:34 AM

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