To the Editor:
We applaud Education Week‘s recent special section “Arts Education: A Look Ahead”, which raises important questions about an often-undervalued component of K-12 education. What’s absent from the five otherwise informative essays is reference to the instruction, programs, performances, and exhibitions provided to schools by cultural organizations and teaching artists in communities throughout the country. This vital component of a robust arts education is formally endorsed and supported by many school districts, including those in Chicago, Dallas, and New York City. Increasingly, services from artists and cultural groups enter schools as part of a thoughtful collaboration between school administrators, licensed classroom teachers, and outside providers.
In New York City, to help ensure the quality of these services, the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable (for which we are co-chairs) provides ongoing professional development to hundreds of organizational and individual members who collectively serve hundreds of thousands of students through in-school and out-of-school programs. Our members’ services run the gamut from skills-based instruction and aesthetic education to arts integration. Many members work with special-needs populations, including English-language learners, court-involved youths, and students with disabilities. The growing work of outside arts groups nationwide is something Education Week should consider paying attention to in the future.
Sobha Kavanakudiyil & Theodore Wiprud
New York City Arts in Education Roundtable
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2017 edition of Education Week as Don’t Forget About Teaching Artists