Revival of Funding for Arts Education?

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Some of our recent posts have focused on budget cuts to arts education in schools across the country. For instance, New York City public schools saw a 68% cut in arts budget between 2006 and 2010 and public middle and high schools in Florida’s Broward County saw huge cuts in their arts funding as well. That trend is about to buck for public schools in Los Angeles. A $750,000 grant from the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education will allow the school district to restores many of its arts based programs. Additionally, educators will work with area arts programs to conjure up new and innovative curriculum into the school’s arts programs. It is expected the district’s overall funding for the arts will be around $34 million, nearly doubling its funding from recent years.

The larger debate about cuts to arts programs has focused on the educational value of such programs. The heart of this new program will focus on integrating arts into other subjects, especially the natural sciences and math. Future funding for the arts is tied to how well schools can integrate the arts with other subjects. The cuts have been particularly felt in low-income and poor school districts. Research shows that students engage in the arts have high GPAs and SAT scores, college enrollment and graduation rates, higher motivation and more civically engaged. All these characteristics are largely missing from students in low income and poor schools.