Does your son’s school offer arts education? If it is a New York City public school, there is a good chance it doesn’t, according to a report recently released by the NYC Comptroller’s office, and covered here by the New York Times. The report shows that 20 percent of NYC public schools lack any arts teachers, including roughly one out of seven middle and high schools, even though state law requires arts instruction for middle and high school students.

As the report, found here, notes, arts education has long been recognized by teachers and parents for its positive impact on students in and out of the classroom. In 2012 the National Endowment for the Arts analyzed the relationship between arts engagement and students’ academic and social outcomes. They found that that high students who had were deeply involved with arts programs in school:

Had higher GPA’s than students with lower levels of arts engagement;

Enrolled at higher rates in competitive and four year colleges than students less involved in arts programs; and

Were 3 times as likely than their peers without arts training to earn a bachelor’s degree.

They also found that students with low socioeconomic status and a history of high arts engagement had better grades and higher college enrollment and attainment rates than students’ not involved in the arts.

So what can parents do if your son’s school, in NYC or anywhere else, is lacking in arts education? GCP will be focusing on this in more depth in a later post, but here are some immediate steps:

Do Your Homework: Check out websites that focus on what parents can do to encourage their children’s arts education, like PBS Parents’ Art Education site, found here, which has lots of information and great links.

Do-It-Yourself: Many websites also provide instruction for parents who want to encourage and develop their child’s creativity in the absence of a school arts program. has tips to “Make Sure Your Child Gets an Arts Education”, found here. In “Parents Teach Art: A DIY Approach to Elementary Arts Education”, found here, an enterprising parent has put an art curriculum on line for others to use in their schools.

Work With Other Parents to Bring Arts Education to your Son’s School: The Center for Arts Education has a Parent Toolkit which gives advice and instruction on how to convince your school that an arts program is critical. Learn more about it here. Visit the CEA website, found here, for parent guides which include information about how you can support arts education at home and at school.

Arts education is a critical part of our sons (and daughters) development, and we can’t stand by and let a school’s limited budget deny them this opportunity for growth and engagement. Check out what your son’s school offers, and if it is not enough, start figuring out how to help your son get more!