Recently by Moy Eng
The summary statements from my fellow bloggers on this conversation reflect the tenor of the issue - complex, diverse, provocative, passionate, especially, as Jane Remer wrote: " when it comes to constructs like education, values, methods, strategies, not to mention purposes, goals, visions and missions." yet there was much agreement on some facets as well as recognition and respect for the differences.
Perhaps this is one of those moments when convening educators, students, arts educators and artists first and broadening to others so poetically described by Dennie Palmer Wolf would be helpful. I acknowledge the turbulent economic times we are in, challenge of affecting byzsantinely complex systems, and profound educational challenges, That said this may be an opportune time to come together to identify ways in which to more strategically link our individual efforts and to devise an elegant suite of strategies to make sure creativity and art is a part of every child's life in and out of school.
I've read with interest the wide ranging conversation which reminds me the complex nature of learning, arts engagement and affecting change in the public education system. Rather than sum up poorly the eloquent words of others, I'll pick up on the Eric's "throwdown" suggestion. Is there interest in working together to catalyze a broadbased effort encompassing a grasstops to grassroots approach fueled by the intelligence, experience and passionate leadership of educators, students, parents, policymakers, artists, and business leaders? We have the beginnings of this movement in California with the recent efforts of California Alliance for Arts Education, CA County Superintendents Education Association, Stanford Research Institute, CA PTA and LA County's Arts for All, among others.
Who needs and wants to be at this meeting? What shall we aim to accomplish for the nation's schoolchildren? At best, there should be a singular vision to work towards... Of course, we can continue to work as the pragmatic Jane Remer writes bringing one teacher, one school, one district at a time. We at Hewlett are game. And you???
A number of well-articulated reasons to make arts part of every child's education from the competitive edge for America's 21st century global workforce to preservation and advocacy of selected art forms to a deeper value and commitment to make cultural literacy part of a child's education. Although meaningful, none have been powerful enough to catalyze influential leaders to create policy incentives, systemize the key solid education practices and incentives for educators to make arts part of the school week and commit to sustained and adequate funding to do so.
California has a number of foundational elements for this to happen: policy, legislative leadership, acclaimed model programs in Los Angeles, Alameda and Santa Clara, among others, and the recent landmark allocation in 2006 and subsequent funding at approximately $17 per capita. Yet the challenge to get the state's 6 million plus schoolchildren reading and writing in a state is profound with a more than 30% dropout rate, disinvested public school system (once among the top in the US) and one of the shortest school days in the country, much less to reinstitute the arts! And, that is even with some excellent policy and practices already in place.
As Richard Kessler infers, given the achievement gap, it is unlikely for schoolchildren in underresourced schools to experience arts learning in this setting.
To make arts part of a child's school week in the country will require a coordinated broad scale effort with educators, artists and business leaders. This would encompass 1) creating or strengthen policy incentives to include arts (for instance 2 hours per week throughout the school year), 2) making the instructional time in the school day/week; 3) providing sustained funds, optimally from the general fund monies; 4) having excellent professional development (pre and in service), curriculum (web-based) and formative and summative assessment for students and teachers and 5) building a multi-constituency advocacy effort with powerful messaging.
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;
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
Peter Sellars, director
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