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Access to Arts Education in New Orleans Public Schools

Sarah Woodward

Date & Time
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
12:00–1:00 pm
1555 Poydras Street, Suite 700
Conference Room 760
New Orleans Louisiana 70112

New Orleans is a cul­tur­al­ly rich city where artis­tic expres­sion is an essen­tial com­po­nent of com­mu­ni­ty iden­ti­ty and the local econ­o­my. Arts edu­ca­tion, there­fore, is impor­tant to shap­ing that artis­tic expres­sion and pass­ing down the city’s cul­tur­al tra­di­tions to the next gen­er­a­tion. This study exam­ines trends in arts edu­ca­tion in post-Kat­ri­na New Orleans pub­lic schools, explor­ing how an empha­sis on stu­dents’ aca­d­e­m­ic per­for­mance may have affect­ed arts course offer­ings. With increased test-based account­abil­i­ty, schools may opt to focus on test­ed sub­jects at the expense of the arts. On the oth­er hand, since fam­i­lies can now choose from a wider set of school options around the city, schools may see robust arts pro­grams as an entice­ment for fam­i­lies to enroll. For this study, Sarah Wood­ward ana­lyzed arts course enroll­ment data and inter­viewed arts edu­ca­tors and school admin­is­tra­tors from a dozen schools across the city. She will dis­cuss her pre­lim­i­nary find­ings in this brown bag, includ­ing how art enroll­ment varies by school let­ter grade and dif­fers in New Orleans ver­sus sim­i­lar dis­tricts. Her work also exam­ines what teach­ers and school lead­ers see as the val­ue of art cours­es and what bar­ri­ers stand in the way of qual­i­ty arts pro­gram­ming at every school.

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