Apologies first, to all those who love Joe McCarthy. He still has a big following in certain political circles.
First it was an attack earlier this year on Maxine Greene and now it’s an editorial that appeared in the Wall Street Journal: The Political Assault on Art Education, both by Michelle Marder Kamhi.
A brief excerpt:
Ms. Desai is part of a growing movement of art education professors and
others who think that the primary aim of art education should be to
achieve what they view as “social justice.” Their influence is evident
in the NAEA, which adopted “Art Education and Social Justice” as this
year’s convention theme. To drive the message home, the logo employed
for the meeting was the raised-fist symbol commonly associated with
radical political activism–in this instance, clenching a pair of paint
It reminds me of this quote by Joe McCarthy (February 9, 1950):
This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright
young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones
who have been most traitorous. . . .
I have here in my hand a
list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary
of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless
are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .
you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty
to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most
abominable of all crimes–being a traitor to the people who gave him a
position of great trust–high treason. . . .
When I read this stuff coming out of Ms. Kamhi, it makes me wonder whether this has the potential to become a larger issue, perhaps placing arts education into the hands of those who would like to reawaken the culture wars. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the issue of arts education became framed as one of anit-American propaganda? Wouldn’t it be a shame if the issue of arts education became one of militant teachers inculcating their young naive students to overthrow the government?
With arts teachers being laid off all across the country, is the handful of art professors teaching art and social justice in their universities something to worry about?
It’s a red herring, of course.
You don’t often see an editorial on arts education in the Wall Street Journal. What a shame it had to be this article, instead of something that pointed out the very real issue, the very real shame of how a curriculum narrowed to exclude arts learning only hurts our children.