Thursday, February 08, 2007

$0 - $10,000: Art Education Budgets in Chicago Public Schools

No joking. That’s the range that I’ve heard about from my student and cooperating teachers in Chicago’s public schools.

Zero to ten thousand

At one extreme are teachers who are given no funds to run their programs; they have to scrounge for the money and supplies to teach their classes. These teachers write grants, ask parents to donate what they can (like the bars of soap in this picture, for a carving project), dumpster dive, and solicit donations from local shops, in addition to teaching, curriculum planning, professionally developing and living.
From crayons and paper, to tempera and brushes—they get the money or the materials donated or they end up buying the stuff their students need themselves.

At the other extreme are teachers who have $10,000 to spend for class supplies. Supplies for their own classes, not a whole school's or department’s.
In between are teachers at schools that ask parents to pay fees for art and teachers who have fluctuating budgets (one year $400 split with another teacher at a school with 500 students; the next year $800 per teacher at the same school).

This is all in Chicago, all in public schools. This is what shapes the art educational experiences of our children. There’s no parity. No equity.

No kidding.

What’s the range that will inspire change? I think 0 to 10,000 should do it.


Anonymous said...

In Tennessee, I'm working with a budget of about $1000 dollar for 1000 students. 1 dollar per student?

Anonymous said...

At the public elementary school in Chicago where i did student teaching, my cooperating teacher's yearly budget was $250 for 750 students. 30 cents per student per year?