State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools

Baseline Report 2012 - 2013


   State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools (4Mb)

This report comes from Ingenuity, a Chicago-based arts advocacy organization. It details the level of arts-related instruction, staffing, partnerships, and funding in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) during the 2012-13 school year. The data collected examines 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.

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.

CPS schools compare favorably to other urban schools in a number of ways including a lower student to instructor ratio and an ambitious minimum weekly instruction requirement of 120 minutes of instruction per elementary grade student. The highest category schools on the new CPS Creative Schools Certification—“Excelling” schools—are among top schools nationally for the provision of dedicated arts staffing and instructional minutes for students.

According to the authors, State of the Arts marks the first time a data set this extensive has been compiled for Chicago’s public schools. This is the first in a series of reports by Ingenuity which will track progress toward student access to the arts. The report intends to set metrics for meeting the CPS Arts Education Plan’s primary goal of providing every CPS student with equitable access to a quality arts education.

July 2014, 46 pages. Ingenuity, 11 E. Hubbard, Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois, 60611. (312) 583-7459.