Mayor Bloomberg loves the arts and supports many arts and cultural institutions as a (billionaire) philanthropist. And yesterday, he made sure that NYC public school students get a chance to love the arts as well, by introducing ArtsCount, a way to make sure schools and their principals are offering arts programs "through accountability and quality improvement initiatives."
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said, "We demand results in math and English and now we are demanding the same in the arts as well. We have already set clear standards for what students should know and be able to accomplish in the arts, but we still have work ahead to ensure that all schools and students meet those standards." Here are some of the initiatives:
- Parent, Student, and Teacher Learning Environment Surveys: This fall, results will be released from the City's new Learning Environment Surveys, which addressed arts participation and satisfaction with arts programs at City schools. This survey data will factor into schools' Progress Report grades.
- Quality Reviews. Beginning next fall, annual Quality Reviews will add arts education as an evaluation criterion for all City schools.
- Annual Compliance Review: Compliance with State requirements will be included in principals' annual performance evaluations.
- Focus on Outcomes. This year, the Department of Education worked with the cultural community to create comprehensive exit exams in music, drama, and dance. The 2007-08 school year is the first in which these exams will be available to all high school seniors.
- The Annual Arts in Schools Report: This new report will collect and synthesize data on arts participation, spending, staffing, and instructional programming to provide a comprehensive view of arts education in City schools.
With ArtsCount we are taking arts education to a new level and holding schools accountable for providing all students with the arts instruction they need and deserve." ArtsCount seems to be a way to ensure principals include arts programs in curriculums, because the city eliminated a program provided millions in arts education (the money goes into a general use fund). The Department of Education will be creating grades for each school, and arts will be one of the factors used. The NY Times says that most critics who were upset about the end of arts funding are cautiously optimistic, but are waiting to see how ArtsCount really works.