Apr 03, 2018
By Michael Kramer
Students have unequal access to arts programming across Ontario – because of uneven funding, a lack of space in schools and fewer qualified arts teachers.
That’s the claim in a report from independent charitable organization People for Education – which says students in small and rural schools, in schools with higher levels of poverty, and in schools with lower levels of parental education – are less likely to have access to the arts in the classroom.
The report adds that arts budgets can vary widely in Ontario schools – and depend in part on the ability of parents to fundraise – which contributes to the inequity.
Access to qualified arts teachers in Ontario is also a problem – with only 46 per cent of elementary schools saying they have a full or part-time music teacher – a figure below the 58 per cent – registered 20 years ago.
The report also says 43 per cent of elementary schools – have no specialized rooms for arts programming – and adds that arts education plays a significant role in students’ learning and development – and students should have equitable access to arts resources and programs – at both the elementary and secondary levels.