Art class supply budgets are all over the place in American elementary schools. While some school districts show favor toward their art programs, allowing teachers to order thousands of dollars of supplies a year, other schools ask their art teachers to scrape by and teach a quality curriculum on barely a few cents per student (and in some cases, nothing at all).
So what is the typical amount budgeted to art classes for a supply order? The following is a random sampling of U.S. schools, across various states, socio-economic regions and more. Elementary art educators were surveyed on the Art Teacher’s chatboard on www.teachers.net:
1.) Texas prek-5 art magnet school – $4500 order budget for 580 students – ($7.76 per child)
2.) New Jersey K-6 school – $6500 order budget for 650 students – ($10 per child)
3.) Elementary school – $1600 supply budget for 675 students – ($2.37 per child)
4.) New Hampshire school – $1500 supply budget for 500 students – ($3.00 per child)
5.) Elementary school – $2400 order budget for 750 students – ($3.20 per child)
6.) Texas school- $200 supply budget for 630 students ($0.32 per child)
7.) Elementary school – $500 order budget for 750 students ($0.67 per child)
8.) Elementary school – $0 budget for 500 students ($0 per child)
9.) Low-income urban school district – $600 supply budget for 500 students ($1.20per child)
10.) K-6 school – $1500 order budget for 450 students ($3.33 per child)
11.) Ohio private school – $0 art supply budget for 200 students ($0 per child)
12.) Elementary school – $2000 order budget for 990 students ($2.02 per child)
13.) Elementary school – $600 supply budget for 800 students ($.75 per child)
As is shown, distribution of funds varies tremendously throughout the country’s education system.
And the future is not looking brighter for many art programs throughout the U.S. With budget woes and the continual effects of the recession, multitudes of art classes are being cut from public schools (as well as charter and private), even in supposedly ‘wealthier’ economic areas, such as New York City. For those art teachers who are still employed, however, many see their art class supply budgets slowly shrinking each year.
The question remains: does having a large, average, mediocre or slim-to-none supply ordering budget affect the quality of the art class?
Any art teacher will tell you – “Most certainly.”
Does this mean that some U.S. students receive a better art education than others? And, likewise, that other American students receive a ‘worse’ education? You decide.