What and where is our problem?

By Bennett Reimer

WHAT:  Arts programs in the schools are neglected, especially when societal concerns are focused on the "basics," as occurs regularly and expextedly (and ferociously as in No Child Left Behind). We professional arts educators want more time, money, importance, respect, as part of basic education.

WHERE: Is our problem inside arts education or outside? Outside, the arts are flourishing, at least reasonably if not remarkably. Certainly we don't lack art-making talent. We have so much of it, at such high levels, that it is societally unlikely, perhaps impossible, to support all who aspire to be professional artists.

Inside, music education, and, I am sure, the other arts ed. fields, exist largely on art-making (performance in the case of music ed.). Some 9 to 15 % of kids in schools elect participation. Is that likely to be considered "basic" education? Hardly. Until our offerings engage all students in more broadly-based arts instruction in the general ed. aspect of schooling, K-12, and offer electives attractive to more than a small minority, we will continue to exert minimal influence on our culture's art life. The major problem we face is found by looking inward to our own deficencies.


December 1, 2008 8:21 AM | | Comments (0) |

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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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