Advocacy is empty without programs to back it up

By Bennett Reimer

Good point, Jane. We can go on and on claiming in loud and eloquent voices how wonderful the arts are, and how arts ed. is the answer to our culture's arts problems. But when our programs are narrowly conceived, serving few students, ignoring many if not most of their interests and ways of accessing the arts, disparaging their arts enthusiasms, and taught by teachers who, while devoted and well meaning, have been inadequately prepared to deal with the real world of the arts as our kids are confronting it, including technologically, our claims come across as self serving. Good teachers of comprehensive, genuine programs remain the core of our strength and contribution, as you suggest.


December 1, 2008 2:40 PM | | Comments (1) |


Hi Bennett...

I agree... It all starts with great programs and great teachers.

That said... I have seen many a program fail because of a lack of supportive policies and accountability and/or a lack of advocacy.

Some of the best music programs in the country (Fairfax County VA, Clark County NV) are currently at risk of reduction and program elimination. Even they know they need to advocate for their programs.

I have seen great policies at the state level with NO accountability. As a result... these policies have no impact at the district level. However, strong policies with accountability to ensure the policies are implemented paves the way for great teaching and learning (with proper teachers). Without this... we end up with catch as catch can... programs where schools value the arts and no programs or weak programs where the arts are not valued.

As a wise friend of mine once said... mentions are nice... mandates mater. Mandates with accountability matter most.

This is all an means toward an end... making the environment right so great teachers can teach great programs for our children. It does not demean them in anyway.

How long does it take to build a quality arts program in a school? 3 years? 5 years?

How long does it take for an uninformed administrator to take one away? A few seconds?

Under this reality... no program... even a quality program... is safe.

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