Most New York City Students Take Arts Classes Before Graduation

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — November 16, 2015 1 min read
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A report from the New York State Controller indicates that 95 percent of New York City’s graduating class of 2014 met the state’s requirement for arts classes — a significant increase from 2011, when an audit showed closer to 50 percent of the district’s students meeting state requirements.

The controller’s report, based on audits of the city’s public school students conducted by the state and the district, was obtained by the New York Daily News. The Daily News reports that much of that improvement is due to better tracking on the part of the city’s education department, which ran trainings for schools on how to track and report students’ arts education. But officials also credit more funding for the arts and teacher training programs.

New York’s state education department requires students to take classes that are taught by certified arts teachers, include 108 hours of instruction over the course of the year, and have a syllabus that aligns with state requirements.

The National Endowment of the Arts reports that across the country, arts education is often an equity issue: Students in more affluent schools are more likely to have access to quality arts education. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that many of that city’s schools lack arts programs altogether, and that a push to improve offerings has had mixed results so far.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.