In the 1840s, Horace Mann, the great champion of public education, insisted that each and every Boston child – not just the wealthy or the talented – should learn how to draw. Today, Boston is renewing this promise by reestablishing high quality arts education for all students as a core part of excellent schools. At a time of great stress on Boston’s school budget, private philanthropists and charitable foundations launched an initiative to raise $10 million to increase access, equity and quality of arts learning for all students. The city and its schools stepped up with increased public funding for arts teachers.
It’s a model that can be replicated in cities and towns across the Commonwealth and the nation.
This year, 14,000 more Boston students are experiencing the arts in schools than three years ago. Nine of 10 students in the elementary and middle grades now receive weekly, year-long arts instruction in school, up from two-thirds in 2009. In the same period, twice as many high school students are accessing arts learning during the school day.