13. How will you ensure that arts education leadership and instruction better reflects the population of 1.1 million public school students? What will you do to ensure that arts education reflects the cultures, values, and learning abilities of students engaged in it?
We need to have teachers that reflect the diversity of our City. Studies show that when students have teachers who look like them, their outcomes are better. Teachers of color are more likely to empathize with students of color, and provide a culturally responsive curriculum that reflects the needs and abilities of their students. Teachers should also have access to ongoing professional training to ensure they are receiving the most up-to-date guidance on developing culturally-responsive curricula. Teachers should also integrate artistic organizations, projects, and other efforts from the local community.
12. How can the city play a more active role in reviving jobs in the creative industry and broadening access to the arts in local communities?
As a critical part of the City’s economy and vitality, the arts must be prioritized in reopening and recovery. We must reimagine how the City uses public space to give arts organizations a bigger footprint in their communities–by reforming our concessions and public art permitting process to unlock hundreds of thousands of square feet of public space, including sidewalks and plazas, for arts and culture—it’s the 21st century, you should be able to get a permit on your smartphone. The City should be creating additional opportunities for teaching artists and other un/underemployed artists to apply their skills to their communities.
11. How could the city ensure that all of our public school students receive instruction from qualified instructors?
The City should create a pipeline for professional artists and CUNY art students to receive teaching certifications and training in order to be able to be instructors in NYC’s public schools. With the deep local expertise in the arts sector, New York City’s students should have access to a world-class arts education. We should also focus on making sure that we recruit teachers of color.
10. Will you commit to requesting and participating in a hearing to understand why these learning requirements are not being met?
9. With hundreds of schools out of compliance with NYS Education Department instructional requirements, will you publicly call on the NYC DOE to properly enforce and implement city and state arts learning mandates?
As Mayor, I would hold my Department of Education accountable to meeting all standards, including those required for arts learning, and work to exceed standards whenever possible. We can’t tolerate anything less.
8. Would you support the restoration of per-capita dedicated funding for arts education in all city schools? Why or why not?
Yes, it is important that we set aside funds to ensure each student has access to a comprehensive arts education.
7. What would you do to ensure that every school in the city has the resources to provide every student with a quality education that includes the arts?
We need to ensure that each school is dedicating sufficient funding to arts education. As Mayor, I will move money from Tweed into classrooms. In recent years, DOE administrative costs have ballooned, and we instead should be investing this money directly into students and arts education.
6. Studies show that arts and cultural organizations led by people of color are often underfunded, resulting in limited capacity to provide critical support to young people and communities around NYC. What will you do to provide more leadership around an equitable distribution of resources to ensure their sustainability and growth?
Investing in arts and cultural infrastructure, particularly in communities of color, is critical for economic growth, solidifying identity, developing community, and processing trauma. We should be integrating arts investments in our land use negotiations, as well as our efforts surrounding housing and economic development, and improvements to public safety, and transportation and our streetscape. I will use the platform of City Hall to bring landlords together with cultural organizations and artists to bring vibrancy back to our main streets with WPA-style murals and other wonderful art. It is also critical that we systemically mitigate barriers and offer additional support for organizations led by people of color to obtain funding and other resources. In addition, we should be increasing affordable housing to make sure artists are able to stay in their communities.
5. As students, principals, teachers, and school partners work to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on academic achievement, what role do you see the arts playing? What strategies do you envision for broadening the school-day curriculum so instructional time in the arts is not crowded out of the school day?
Reviving the arts will play a fundamental role in our economic and emotional recovery. As students go back to school, I think we need to be prepared to provide outlets for the trauma of the past year. The arts will be a mechanism by which we collectively process the past year, and can be a lifeline for those who do not have access to mental health services. Arts education should not be stifled in efforts to catch students up, but should have protected time in students’ school days. In addition, instructors should be encouraged to incorporate arts into other subjects, like math and science.
4. The long-term effects of COVID-19 on students and schools will take years to understand. It is widely acknowledged that arts education provides authentic ways for students to build long-term social-emotional competencies (such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, empathy, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making). How will you provide school communities with the tools and resources needed to confront and address trauma while fostering a welcoming, supportive environment?
Our school communities have acutely felt impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As students return to school, they must have access to professionals to help them and their families overcome the trauma of the past year. In addition to social workers and guidance counselors in every school, teachers must be trained in trauma-informed education to mitigate stress and nurture interests for students.