IESP Policy Brief #09-01
In 1975, New York City found itself on the verge of bankruptcy, and newly-elected Mayor Abraham Beame was forced to enact massive cuts in the city's budget. Some of the hardest hit programs were arts education classes in the public schools - funding for programs in visual arts, dance, music and theater were slashed from the Board of Education's budget and arts teachers were laid-off from all public schools, essentially eliminating all arts education from the curriculum.
Although many of the city's cultural and artistic organizations subsequently stepped in to provide arts programming for youth, it wasn't until the 1990's that funding for arts education was restored directly to the public school system through the establishment of the Center for Arts Education and the creation of ProjectARTS. In 2003, the DOE developed the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts in an attempt to establish a city-wide pre-K - 12 arts curriculum for schools to follow as a model. Four years later, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein then outlined the first-ever accountability plan for arts education in terms of both student access and program quality, further signaling the importance of the arts to a students' overall education. As part of ArtsCounts, the Institute for Education and Social Policy at NYU, in conjunction with the DOE's Office of Arts and Special Projects and the Arts Education Task Force, was asked to refine and pilot-test a Quality Arts Education Rubric that could be used by school leaders, arts educators, and cultural organizations to measure program and instructional quality of arts education in their schools. This report looks at the development of this rubric as it fits into the larger ArtsCounts initiative and progress made toward the goal of providing all New York City children with a high-quality arts education.