New York City teachers push for more arts education funding in school budget
Requests for an open letter written by more than 100 NYC teachers discussed at an Education Executive Budget meeting to ensure funding for arts education is secured in the department’s upcoming budget education.
The May 10 meeting saw City Council members, along with Schools Chancellor David C. Banks, discuss the importance of investing in arts and cultural education within New York’s public schools.
The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable – a service organization and community of arts practitioners – launched a campaign called “It Starts with the Arts” several weeks ago, which encourages the mayor and city council to increase funding current per pupil minimum arts allocation. $79.62 per student to $100 among other demands.
This particular request was addressed during the education executive’s budget meeting, with city lawmakers saying they recognize the need to prioritize funding for arts education.
“We’re asking for the minimum stipend of $100 per student because I know, coming from a family of teachers, if you give them money, they’re going to spend it on what they think is most important” , Council Member Justin Brannan said at the Gathering. “If it’s for arts and music, it should be used for arts and music, that’s why we’re serious about it. “
In response to questions about future expansion and investment in the arts education budget, leaders familiar with current budget spending argued that arts investment was a top priority within the Ministry of Education. .
“We have prioritized the arts in the recovery funding plan [with] the school stimulus grant that went directly to schools — which was a $350 million grant — requires 25% of that funding to be spent directly on arts education programs,” said Lindsey Oates, chief financial officer of the NYC DOE. “Additionally, we used stimulus funds for a $15 million reduction in the arts budget, which has been critical in getting post-pandemic arts programs back into schools and we will continue to look at opportunities at the ‘coming.”
Following the meeting, teachers and arts education specialists expressed excitement about the opportunity to work in partnership with the DOE to further increase investment in the future of arts and cultural education within NYC DOE schools, which experts say are critical to the overall development of children.
“Arts education is really a launch pad for success in school and in life,” Kimberly Olsen, executive director of the NYC Arts Education Roundtable, told amNew York. “Yet so often we see that the arts provide space for students to not only learn, but also to grow in their social and emotional learning, while exploring things like self-awareness, group awareness, collaboration and relationship building. Especially right now, as we hope to emerge from the pandemic, our students need spaces where they can be in communities, spaces that promote and support their mental health and support their overall well-being. We are excited and super charged by the city council’s passion for arts education, to have them include it in their response to the city budget was nothing short of amazing and moving for so many of us. We look forward to seeing if it will be included in our next school budget.