Comments on Other Posts

By Samuel Hope

I thank Eric Booth for his comment about my first post, his additional thought experiment, and his pioneering work in creativity across the curriculum. My post below provides an explanation and an example, not a critique of an approach he is developing. I applaud Jane Remer for her forthright comments about quality, another word that becomes empty if it is not connected to something specific, something more than a process--a testing system, a portfolio, an institutionalized yearning. Having conducted Eric's thought experiment and considered Jane's research proposal, I find comfort in being flexible about methodology or time patterns, because as long as the time, method, and expertise are sufficient to the task, many approaches work. If first decisions center on content and knowledge and skill development, the "what, " then the "how" questions seem to start answering themselves, even with the particular opportunities and constraints that are givens in virtually every local educational setting. Gratitude also goes to Bennett Reimer for giving a practical example in advance of this post of what I just wrote about the what/how relationship, to Richard Kessler for the Shankar quotes about the strategic importance of the public schools, and to Bau Graves and John Rockwell for urging bloggers to broaden their scope. Yes, P-12 schooling is just a part of a much larger whole. More on that later. 

My response to Bob Morrison's thoughtful question is that many different means can work if, and only if, all the conditions and resources necessary to that means are present. Systems based on summative competency testing have been successful at Oxford and Cambridge for centuries. However, the higher the achievement expectations, the more help most students need. This help may come in many forms, including electronic ones. Oxbridge uses an extensive tutoring system. The specific organization of time and place don't matter nearly as much as creating and maintaining successful correlations among the nature of the subject matter, specific content, and the learning and testing approaches.

If I were advising our colleagues in NJ, I would indicate that inexpensive, multiple choice examinations will not suffice as revealers of arts competencies of a creative or scholarly nature and that there is a need to avoid the unintended consequence of further privileging disciplines easily and cheaply tested. Given present cultural and values conditions, I would ask them to factor in concerns about relying heavily on every student's motivation to learn privately, and about the ability to maintain high levels of aspiration, especially if many students fail and parents start exerting political pressure. I would try to help policy makers remember that process alone is never enough and that pretending that it is usually leads to failure.

December 3, 2008 11:26 AM | | Comments (2) |


Thanks for the gorgeous writing and clear thinking

Sam, this is simple beautifully put from start to finish...I've also referred to it in my latest post...

Thanks for the gorgeous writing and clear thinking

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This Conversation For decades, as teaching of the arts has been cut back in our public schools, alarms have been raised about the dire consequences for American culture. Artists and arts organizations stepped in to try to... more

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Sam Hope, executive director, The National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA);
Jack Lew, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent at EA;
Laura Zakaras, RAND;
James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago;
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education;
Eric Booth, Actor;
Midori, Violinist;
Bau Graves, Executive director, Old Town School of Folk Music;
Kiff Gallagher, Founder & CEO of the Music National Service Initiative and MusicianCorps
Bennett Reimer, Founder of the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, author of A Philosophy of Music Education;
Edward Pauly, the director of research and evaluation at The Wallace Foundation;
Moy Eng, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
John Rockwell, critic;
Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group;
Jane Remer, Author, Educator, Researcher
Michael Hinojosa, General Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District 
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