City schools are already down 135 arts teachers - even before the massive layoffs projected for next year, Education Department data show.
Last year, public schools employed 2,462 arts teachers, down from 2,597 the year before. This drop erased the slow gains arts education had made over several years.
Now an additional 356 arts teachers risk pink slips as part of the proposed layoff of 4,600 teachers citywide - a cut that would bring the number of certified arts teachers down by close to 20% over three years.
"This would be disastrous for school arts programming and for our city's schoolchildren and would practically wipe away all the gains made over the last decade," said Doug Israel of the Center for Arts Education.
Overall, school arts budgets declined by more than 4% last year, and arts supplies budgets crashed by 34%. Still, more than half of elementary schools offered all four arts - dance, visual arts, music and theater - an increase from 41% in 2009.
But at the middle school level, only 59% of schools reported that their graduating eighth-graders actually fulfilled the state-mandated requirement for the arts, down from 63% the previous year.
"We are trying to make do with partnerships with cultural institutions," said a Bronx middle school principal who asked to remain anonymous. "But we can't absorb all the cuts and not feel some impact. Do you cut your arts program or your math teacher? It's not a choice anyone wants to make."
Deidrea Miller, an Education Department spokeswoman, would not comment on cuts to arts budgets or the impact on schools. But she did say future layoffs could lead to the loss of even more "high-quality teachers" because of the last in, first out layoff rules Mayor Bloomberg is fighting to change.
"These initial [layoff] projections reflect a state law that ties our hands and forces us to make layoff decisions based on seniority alone, meaning that we will lose high-quality teachers in every subject area, including the arts," Miller said.
Don't you like how the DOE shill turns the focus from Bloomberg's cutting of art teachers LONG before any layoffs through his relentless focus on math and ELA as the only subjects that matter to LIFO?
In Bloomberg's world view, everything comes down to ending LIFO.
In my world view, everything comes down to ending Bloomberg's world view.