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February 28, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli Audit Finds Problems with Arts Education in NYC Schools

New York City public high school students are not getting the arts education required by state regulations, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Our audit reveals too many New York City schools may be cutting corners with arts education,” DiNapoli said. “Students should be taught by certified teachers for the required number of hours each week. We all want to find the right formula to improve education and improving arts instruction needs to be part of that equation.”

DiNapoli’s audit examined the arts education received by a random sample of 310 New York City students who attended 166 public high schools from 2007 to 2011.

In New York, high school students must earn at least one unit of arts education during their high school stay to qualify for a diploma. New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) is responsible for ensuring that its public high schools comply with the State Education Department’s (SED) regulations. The regulations require that teachers be certified for arts instruction, that high schools provide 180 minutes of arts instruction each week for two semesters or 108 hours during a school year, and that schools have an SED approved arts syllabus.

Auditors found:

  • As many as two-thirds of sampled students did not receive an arts education that met one or more state guidelines. For instance, 99 of 205 art teachers were not certified in arts education as required. These teachers instructed 87 (28%) of the sampled students;
  • Art classes provided to 90 students at 57 schools had no syllabus as required; and
  • 111 schools provided documentation showing that 184 (59%) of sampled students received the required hours of arts education. The remaining 55 schools could not provide documentation that 119 (38%) of the students received the arts instruction SED requires for graduation. Their records did show that 7 students did not get the proper amount of instruction for a diploma.

DiNapoli recommended that DOE ensure that NYC high school students receive an arts education that complies with SED regulations and that DOE work with high school officials to increase compliance with and awareness of SED regulations.

In a response to the audit, DOE presented differing ways to calculate the number of students who received arts education, but generally agreed with the finding that whatever is offered must comply with SED regulations.

For a copy of the report, visit:


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