What a difference a year makes! Last April, the US Department of Education released its first study of arts education in US schools in more than 10 years. With that data and information furnished by Portland’s six school districts, the Creative Advocacy Network brought to light a huge gap between arts education opportunities in Portland’s elementary schools and those available nationally.
Now, just one year later, the Creative Advocacy Network is thrilled to report that access to the arts in Portland’s public schools has markedly improved and, with the passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund, next year 100% of Portland elementary school students will have access to the arts in their public schools.
Here is how arts access for Portland’s children during the 2012-13 school year compares with 2011-12 and the US Department of Education’s 2012 study:
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Portland 2011-2012 58%
Portland 2012-2013 66%
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Portland 2011-2012 18%
Portland 2012-2013 25%
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Elementary Schools with NO Access to Art, Music, Dance or Drama
Portland 2011-2012 28%
Portland 2012-2013 19%
Portland 2013-2014 0%
The City of Portland is home to six school districts and 85 public elementary schools serving 34,244 elementary school students. This year 16 Portland elementary schools are unable to offer certified instruction in art, music, dance or drama. And, while we are excited to celebrate the 8 Portland elementary schools that have added arts instruction since last year, we are even more thrilled to report that the passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund will ensure that every Portland elementary school will offer certified arts instruction beginning next year. The Fund will support as many as 70 certified elementary art, music, dance and drama teachers in Portland’s schools.
This week Portland City Council will vote on an ordinance to strengthen the Arts Education & Access Fund by establishing an income threshold for income-earning adults who live in households above the Federal Poverty Level. The Creative Advocacy Network is thankful that the Portland City Council is willing and able to continue improving Portland’s groundbreaking new Arts Education & Access Fund while protecting Portland’s overwhelming support for a critical new investment in arts education and access citywide.
If you have not already paid your arts tax, please remember to file by May 15, 2013. Your $35 will bring the arts to life in Portland’s classrooms and communities.