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The Importance of Arts Education: NYC's $23M Pledge

Janelle Cox


This week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio benchmarked $23 million toward music and arts education in New York public schools. The new budget containing this allocation, passed on Tuesday, will go towards improving art spaces (especially those that are underserved), creating new partnerships with cultural institutions citywide, hiring 120 new middle and high school art teachers. Here is a quick breakdown on how the investment is meant to be spent.

Related content: 3 Free Art Apps (a TeachHUB Review), Five Fabulous Music-Making Apps

This funding is partially in response to findings that concluded there are 419 schools lacking certified art teachers. $4.7 to $5 million will go toward hiring an estimated the new certified teachers, while another $2 million will go toward launching a support team to hire and train these new educators.

Meanwhile, another $7.5 million will be used towards upgrading facilities such as auditoriums, dance floors, choral risers, lighting, and even instrument repairs in schools. In addition, certified art teachers will all receive an estimated $1,000 to spend on art supplies, materials and equipment.

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So, we have to ask, is all of this worth it? According to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the arts make children want to come school, especially kids in middle school.

The Center for Arts Education, a group that pushed the administration to push arts education to the top of its priority list, applauded the news as victory

If you are still unsure if the mayor made the right budget allocations, see for yourself.

10 Quick Facts on Why Music and Arts Education is Important

There is has been an overwhelming amount of research that shows children benefit greatly from art and music education. Here are a few quick facts.

1. Research shows that music improves math and reading skills, and promotes creativity, social development and self-worth.

2. Students who study art are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.

3. Studies show that students who study art and music have a lower drop-out rate, and that the arts helps keep at-risk students in school.

4. Arts education improves early cognitive development.

5. Music and art curriculum develops childrens’ critical thinking skills and their leadership skills.

6. Research shows that arts education fosters self-esteem and allows children to work cooperatively in teams and groups.

7. Arts education improves memory, and the ability for children to differentiate sounds and speech.

8. Studies have also found that by understanding music, children are able to visualize elements that go together, like relationships that occur in math problems.

9. Arts education helps to develop a child’s visual-spatial skills. 

10. Recent studies indicate that the left side of the brain (which processes language) can wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways if a child is involved in music education.

How do you feel about the mayor delegating $23 million towards music education? Do you think it is worth it? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators

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