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City Council to require the DOE to report what schools are giving mandated arts instruction

On Tuesday, the City Council passed legislation requiring the city to release information about how its schools are—or aren’t—providing arts education for students.

Despite some arts education being mandated by the state, it has fallen away at many schools across the city. Cuts to school budgets, and an emphasis on state tested subjects, have contributed to the decline, principals and teachers have told us in the past.

According to the arts education advocacy Center for Arts Education, half of New York City elementary schools and 22 percent of middle schools aren’t providing enough arts education under state law. The new city legislation would inform parents which schools fall into that group in an annual report, which would include data about what schools and districts offer music, dance, theater and visual arts courses and have licensed arts instructors.

“Intro 925-A will not only help inform education policy-makers, but will also provide parents, students and the public with the tools to make informed decisions and advocate for resources to be provided for their schools,” CAE Executive Director Eric Pryor said in a statement.

Arts education became an issue on the mayoral campaign trail this year when candidates debated how to improve the city’s track record in July.

At the time, candidate Bill de Blasio wouldn’t commit to additional funding.

“I am a progressive, but I can count,” he said. “I’d like to be honest with people about the fact that we have a very serious problem the next few years.”

You can read the text of the bill here.