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Judging Teachers by Test Scores? Not quite.

This issue, one among many in "school reform," has me worried. You have to wonder whether  teacher evaluation based upon test scores will only further marginalize arts education, as arts education assessment lies outside of the types of teacher evaluation being heavily promoted by so very many. For the record, this type of assessment is called value added assessment.Okay, here's a very good take on the issue, by one of my all-time favorite voices on public education: Larry Cuban. Cuban takes a good look at the recent move by the … [Read more...]

What do Children Need the Most?

A number of years back I was fortunate to attend a two-day conference on Arts, Technology, and Intellectual Property at Columbia University's American Assembly.  At the time I was working for the American Music Center, so the topic was something I had a vested interest in. As with most conferences, there was the introductory moment early on, where everyone in turn says a little something about who they are and why they are interested in the matter at hand. It's the let's go around the room and say a few words about ourselves moment.I have … [Read more...]

A Moment of Clarity: Test Scores in New York State Are Recalibrated

Many of you have no doubt heard the great news over the past few years about rising ELA and math test scores in the New York City Public Schools. But wait, there was more: test scores were rising all across the state, no matter what the intervention.The New York State Department of Education has recalibrated the state test scores for ELA and math, and this moment of clarity tells us that "just more than half of city students in the third through eighth grades are proficient in math, not four out of every five, as they were led to believe last … [Read more...]

The Joe McCarthy of Art Education

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 … [Read more...]

A Win for Arts Education Advocates in Los Angeles

Or better yet, a big win for the children in LAUSD. Thanks to a campaign spearheaded by Arts for LA, and perhaps best personified by this full page ad in the Los Angeles Times, the LAUSD school board decided to reduce the level of proposed cuts to elementary arts education teachers by one-third, rather than by half.Did they ruffles some feathers: of course, this from the LA Times: Blume reports that the advertisement angered school board member Steve Zimmer, among others, because many civic leaders, including some who signed last week's arts … [Read more...]

Church Leaders Raise Concerns Over Obama Education Agenda

An Alternative Vision for Public Education--A Patoral Letter on Federal Policy in Public Education: An Ecumenical Call for Justice, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. This is one pretty great letter and I would urge you to read it. Here are a few "choice" excerpts: Not only has the language of the marketplace entered discussions of school governance and management, but we also notice that the language of business accountability is used to talk about education, a human endeavor of caring. The primary mechanism of the … [Read more...]

Connecticut Bolsters Graduation Requirements for the Arts

Dewey21C was pretty quiet last week. It happens, what can I say?With all the end of the fiscal year work to be put to bed, this will be my first post in over a week. But hey, it's a good one! As part of a comprehensive education "reform" bill signed into law by Connecticut Governor Jody Rell, additional credits are now required for graduation, including one credit of arts. In addition, the one credit humanities elective can be satisfied by an arts program, and even the STEM credit can be satisfied through things like music technology. A lot of … [Read more...]

What is Happenning to Music Education in the Detroit Public Schools??

I had a blog entry last December about cuts to music in the Detroit Public SchoolsAlong comes this very thoughtful and thorough piece about DPS and its new approach to music education via a piece by George Shirley that was published this week in NewMusicBox.org.Music Education in Detroit's Public Schools: The Struggle to Survive, give you the not pretty picture. Shirley, the first African American ever appointed to a music teaching position in DPS,  has been leading a campaign to fight the terrible cuts to music and arts education in the … [Read more...]

NYC Teacher Layoffs Averted?

Even with the state budget in flux, this morning the news broke that the City will cancel proposed teacher layoffs, choosing instead to cancel proposed salary increases for the next two years. Emails started to fly, with people cheering the good news. But not so fast, The city was in the middle of contract negotiations with the UFT, and while the city can certainly choose to not layoff any teachers, changing the terms of the contract negotiations in public seems like an interesting move to say the least. My dad would have called it "trying to … [Read more...]

“I Felt Like A Professional”–What a Teacher Told Me at a Recent Conference

I have to admit, that comment both was a potent pill, as it both pleased me and broke my heart. How could it be possible that the teachers feel so beleaguered? Well, one look at the major media around teaching and teachers, and well, you figure it all out in an instant. It was pleasing, of course, as an assessment of the all-day professional development conference. We got something right,  that fed the spirit of this teacher and her colleagues on Saturday, May 15th.Today, most of what you read in the media will lead you to believe that … [Read more...]

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