Doug Israel

Doug Israel

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.

2 Responses to “Candidates Weighing in on Arts Education”

  1. As an English and Theater teacher for over 30 years I have witnessed firsthand the transformative powers of The Arts. Upset over the slashing of arts programs in schools I decided to do something about it. So, I got a bunch of kids from Brooklyn Theatre High School and asked them to respond to the statement: The Arts are extra-curricular and disposable.

    Please take 6 [minutes] and listen to what they have to say…

    http://firstonlinewithfran.com/2013/06/12/first-online-with-fran-episode-2-brooklyn-theatre-arts-high-school-students-speak-out/

    My goal for episode 2 is to receive as many views as possible to pitch it to a TV station; ultimately, to air it as a PSA commercial. The message is clear, accurate, and it’s straight from the horse’s mouth: KIDS! Who better to express the transformative powers of The Arts? Plus, the blog addresses the NYC Mayoral survey campaign and CAE’s arts advocacy petition, as well as AATE, and the NYC Roundtable organization programs.

    I am asking for any of the following means of support (none of them require money!!): your endorsement as a website comment, the click of your finger on the episode link, social media sharing, any kind of professional networking that you feel would benefit from viewing this episode. Or not. This is where my passion lies and this is my way of raising awareness and advocating for an arts inclusion education.

  2. Dear Doug,
    Thanks for the shout-out. We are in the planning stages for our 2013-14 candidate survey and I love what you’ve done to increase the bar for survey responders. I also love the online infrastructure that you created. It’s very user friendly and feels very forward thinking. Bravo! We may have to borrow from you.

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Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.