State of the Arts Report Offers Unprecedented Look at CPS Students’ Access to the Arts

Ingenuity, a Chicago-based arts advocacy organization, has released a new report, State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools, detailing the level of arts-related instruction, staffing, partnerships, and funding in Chicago Public Schools during the 2012-13 school year. The data collected describes how schools match up to the goals and recommendations set forth in the City’s first-ever CPS Arts Education Plan which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012. Data was reported through multiple sources, including directly from individual CPS schools’ via Arts Liaisons using Ingenuity’s artlook Schools site. Additionally, data was collected from CPS District files through a data sharing agreement, as well as from the Illinois State Board of Education, from hundreds of community arts partners through Ingenuity’s artlook Partners site, as well as qualitative data from Ingenuity’s advisory panels, CPS parents, and students.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 94 percent of the 577 District-run schools have at least one full- or part-time credentialed arts instructor, though student access to teachers varies;
  • Less than 25 percent of CPS elementary schools provide the CPS Arts Education Plan’s recommended 120 minutes of weekly instruction;
  • The District employs close to the number of credentialed instructors needed to fulfill the new elementary and high school arts requirements, but the distribution of these instructors across the District is significantly uneven;
  • 56 percent, or 323 schools, meet the recommended arts instructor to student ratio of 1-to-350 or less;
  • 95 schools are “Excelling” in arts education provision and investment within the first year of Plan implementation;
  • Total arts education funding is over $120 million annually, but there is need for additional investments from the District if it is to meet the goals of the Plan;
  • 82 percent of District-run schools have both an instructor and at least one community arts partner;
  • The majority of in-school-time partner programs are one-time field trips or performances that may signal little consistent or ongoing student access to longer-term, higher-cost programs such as arts residencies; and
  • 28 percent of schools had an arts residency in 2012–13.

Get the full report.