Okay, as someone who experienced these cuts first hand, let's rap about art education.
Did you read the article? Good. Because that's important. Last year I worked at a school that had until recently 3 art teachers. Then it was two. Then when they quit, they hired me. I was lucky and am thankful for the principal for getting me into the system. Because many art teachers who had just graduated couldn't find jobs. That was 2009. Come June 2010, I find that even though Bloomberg didn't cut the jobs, I was still excessed... along with the library and technology teachers. Sweet right? Now that school has no art program, but instead "infuse" the arts into other content areas. Unfortunately, this is the upcoming trend.
If you look at the Common Core Standards being developed, you can see the arts heavily incorporated into the ELA program. As it stands, we're shedding art education spending regardless of the looming cuts. I work with a budget of zero. The more we rely on programs outside of school, the less we pay for the "extra expenses" (medical, dental, pension, etc) of a teacher. Until they figure out a series of standards to judge principals on for art education, art education will continue to be a box to check in the principal's inventory. I sound grim, but this is the business reality we are faced with high stakes testing.
Further, creating these "small academies" has been a real issue for specialist teachers. When there were schools of 1000 students, principals were able to hire visual arts, vocal, and theater teachers. Students were given a choice based on what interested them. Now, and especially at the urban low income middle school level, students have no choice in what classes they can take. There is no access for specializing or discovering proclivities in multiple intelligences. I currently teach 200 middle school students. They are required to be in my class, but not required to do any work. At least, that's how they see it, and that's the attitude set from the state to principal.
So, until we start seeing some real shift in how we evaluate principals (and yes, art educators), we are going to see art education slip away... simply because there's nothing stopping principals from doing so. You guys have any suggestions or proposals on what to do?