Monday, January 11, 2010

Write Your Senator to Ensure Compliance with NYS Arts Education Mandates! Now easier than ever!

You'd think that if something was a LAW, then a publicly-funded institution, like a PUBLIC school would be inclined to comply. Right? I mean, schools don't break laws, do they? Do they?

In short, yes. They do. Nearly every day. Right here in our own great city of New York, in our own beautiful borough of Brooklyn. The New York State Standards for Arts Education (a 40 or so page document that I've read- thanks to my Drama in Education teacher) lays out a pretty clear and cohesive set of MANDATES (not guidelines or suggestions) of how arts departments are supposed to be run in NYS public schools. The requirements are rigorous, but appropriate for optimal benefit for the students and the school, both. But these mandates are not being followed. Sometimes pretty blatantly, and sometimes by cutting corners and glossing over details.

Who's to blame? Thoughts on this vary. Teachers can only work with the resources they provide. School boards cannot be in every class for every art lesson, so knowing what's really going on ALL THE TIME isn't feasible... Adequate support and reinforcement is lacking from policy makers... All are true, but none fully address the solution. Healthy arts programs depend on support and commitment at EVERY level, and the parents and community have to do their part, as well. The action and agendas of legislators should be determined by the interests of their constituents, so keep quality arts education off the back burner by letting your legislator know that you care.

Click here to let your senator know that NYS Arts in Education Mandates MUST be implemented in your area!

And while you're at it, check out the awesome "Arts Bill of Rights" on the Center for Arts Education NYC's website: Every Child in Every School | The Center for Arts Education of New York