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Summer 2006 Vol. 13 No. 4 Focus on Arts and Schools

Full-time art, music teachers: a dwindling breed?

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Tenth grader John Vizzachero performs with the saxophone quartet from the High School for Creative and Performing Arts at the May opening of the District's annual student art show.

By by Dale Mezzacappa

Once, the Philadelphia School District was a flagship for instruction in the arts, with certified music and art teachers in virtually every school. Today, it is struggling to rebuild that reputation as it faces tighter revenues, a shortage of qualified teachers, and pressure to spend more time on reading and math.

Today, less than a third of the city's public schools have both art and music teachers. The majority of the rest have one or the other, but 66 schools have neither, according to a Notebook analysis of teacher staffing patterns.

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More in this edition

Teaching the arts in Philadelphia: five schools, five stories

By Interviews by Clarisse Mesa and Benjamin Herold

Philadelphia’s 268 schools include selective high schools requiring auditions that regularly turn out professional artists and also schools without even a part-time art or music teacher – with no formal course offerings in the arts. No matter where a school falls on that spectrum, there are likely to be teachers committed to offering quality arts instruction and arts experiences to their students.

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NCLB: taking a toll on arts and music education

By by Ron Whitehorne

As school districts across the nation respond to the challenges of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, children are spending more classroom time on reading and math and as a result some are spending less time on music and art.

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