After years of school budget cuts due to the economic downturn, and a decade of No Child Left Behind-inspired education policies, there is a movement afoot in districts across the country to reinvigorate the school day with a rich and engaging curriculum.
Parents, students, and educators have been beating the drum about the narrowed curriculum and are making the case to expand access to arts, music, foreign languages, science, and other core subjects that have been marginalized in schools in recent years. Now candidates to be mayor in the country’s largest school district are weighing in on what arts education would look like under their leadership.
A growing coalition of 40+ arts, education, and child advocacy organizations here in New York City have asked each of the declared 2013 mayoral candidates to share their vision for the arts in education in public schools as part of the New York City Arts in Education Candidate Survey Project. We’ve received some very promising responses from the leading candidates, including:
- Reducing the emphasis on testing and test preparation to make room for the arts
- Putting in place dedicated arts funding at each and every city school
- Expanding the school day as a strategy to broaden the curriculum
- Including the arts in the school accountability system
You can read the candidates’ survey responses here: www.nycartsed.com
This effort draws inspiration from candidate survey projects that have taken place in districts across the country, most notably the California Alliance for Arts Education and Arts for LA surveys of candidates for city council, school district, state superintendent, and other offices.
As civic leaders in big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle join together with parents, students, cultural institutions, and industry to advance ambitious plans to expand access to arts education and creative learning, it is critical that we continue to educate and engage candidates running for office to build on the momentum. Candidate surveys can play an important role and have jumpstarted efforts here in New York City.