3. Do you believe arts are essential to NYC public school education? Why or why not?
Yes. The arts are an essential part of our school curriculum, and must be part of our work to support our children. There are countless studies that show that the impact of a robust music program, for example, goes far beyond the band room, to math class, English class and beyond. The research is clear that students who receive high-quality arts instruction perform better across their academic careers. Beyond the numbers, I’ve seen it in action with my own kids, and with hundreds — if not thousands — of New York City students I’ve met during my career in public service. Everyone has a story about an arts class, teacher, field trip, or experience that opened their eyes to the world beyond their own — it’s quintessential to growing up in New York City, with our neighborhoods brimming with creatives and overflowing with culture.
Right now, the City has a challenging future in front of it, particularly in providing comprehensive, holistic, and hands-on education to our children who struggled the most during this pandemic. Arts will play a key role in helping our children recover socio-emotionally and re-engage in school post-pandemic. That’s why we need to have a Mayor in City Hall who understands the intricacies of government, revenue and expenditure, and who can work with the Council to fund expanded arts programs across the city.
As Mayor, I will double down on arts education in our schools and ensure that every school has at least one full-time, certified arts teacher. I will also triple the number of Summer Youth Employment Program and CUNY Cultural Corps slots linked to cultural organizations, designate a youth Artist Laureate in every borough, pursue innovative partnership with New York’s arts and cultural institutions to provide enrichment opportunities for students, and create separate a budget line for arts education to ensure the specific attention its requires, and focus efforts to support schools that lack the basic staffing and facilities necessary and bring them up to standards.