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Testing Encroaches on Arts Time, New Jersey Educators Report

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More New Jersey students take fine arts, music, or drama in school than in the past, according to a new report.

But time devoted to the subjects in some schools is on the downswing, according to NJ Spotlight, which published the report Tuesday. And a fifth of schools do not offer both visual arts and music, though they are technically require to do so by the state.  

Some 97 percent of New Jersey students took arts classes at school, according to a recent survey by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership. But another NJAEP survey found that four out of five arts teachers said their class time has been cut in recent years, as schools have tried to prepare students for new state tests in reading and math.

Tight budgets and full buildings in the state mean that arts programs are often first to get cut, according to the Spotlight. 

A representative from the state's board of education told the NJ Spotlight that the board is reviewing education mandates and requirements, including the requirement to offer both music and visual arts. A new campaign called ArtsEdNow plans to raise awareness of arts issues.  

Despite the budget crunch, New Jersey appears to be offering more arts programming than Los Angeles: Despite a plan to bring arts to every classroom in the city of angels, more than 100 schools there lack arts. 

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