NAEP Arts 2008, Part Two: What do the headlines say?

Just the fact that there are headlines, is of course, a good thing.

It is interesting to see how this is being reported, particularly from the headline perspective. It’s an amazing statement on how this is being reported, which in turn raises great questions as to whether these reporters understand the issues, do any analysis, or simply just print the press release.

It’s also interesting to note the lack of comments from authoritative figures. Most of the pieces carry a quote from NAEP officials, and yes, Arne Duncan issued a statement. There are a couple of pieces with a comment from the National Endowment for the Arts.

But where is Diane Ravitch? What about Randi Weingarten? What about some of the big name school superintendents or school board presidents? How about a word on this from Checker Finn?

You’ve got the positive headlines: “Visual arts, music, stand as core component…” “Proportion of Schools Offering the Arts Stays the Same.” “NAEP Finds Schools’ Offerings in Arts Holds Steady.”

You’ve got the negative headlines: “Study Finds Instruction in Art Lags in 8th Grade.” Which was initially released yesterday as “Mediocre Arts Skills for American Eighth Graders.”

You’ve got the fence sitting headline: “National Arts Test Scores offer Clouded Picture.”

You’ve even got the insider headline: “What does ‘P’ in music mean? Twenty percent of J card.jpgstudents know.” I have to say, with some embarrassment, that when I first read that headline, I found it confusing. Of course I know what p stands for as part of musical notation, hey, I have two music degrees from Juilliard (that’s called playing the Juilliard card, which ordinarily doesn’t count for much). That being said, my brain couldn’t decode the “p” as part of text, out of context.

Here are nine headlines from a Google search this morning:

Nation’s Report Card on the Arts for 2008 released

Baltimore Sun – ‎15 hours ago‎
The National Assessment of
Educational Progress released on Monday the Nation’s Report Card on the
Arts for 2008, the first such report since 1997.

Study Finds Instruction in Art Lags in 8th Grade

New York Times – ‎16 hours ago‎
By SAM DILLON Music and art
instruction in American eighth-grade classrooms has remained flat over
the last decade, according to a new survey by the

National arts test scores offer clouded picture

The Associated Press – ‎16 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kids were
taking fewer field trips to art museums even before the recession began
to gouge school budgets, according to a nationwide

What does ‘p’ in music mean? Twenty percent of US students know.

Christian Science Monitor – ‎18 hours ago‎
Half of American eighth-graders
can tell that a clarinet is playing the solo when they listen to the
opening passage of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.

Picture is unclear on arts instruction in schools

USA Today – ‎Jun 15, 2009‎
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY Gather
up a group of eighth-graders, pop in a CD of George Gershwin’s seminal
Rhapsody in Blue and turn up the volume. (press release) – ‎17 hours ago‎
RESTON, VA (June 15, 2009) –
Recognizing that arts education is included in the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as part of the nation’s core

Frequency of Arts Instruction Remains Steady Since 1997 on the

PR Newswire (press release) – ‎19 hours ago‎
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The frequency of arts instruction has
remained steady for over a decade although significant racial/ethnic,

Proportion of Schools Offering the Arts Stays About the Same

Education Week News (subscription) – ‎22 hours ago‎
It’s been more than a decade
since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tested 8th
graders in what they know and can do in the arts.

NAEP Finds Schools’ Offerings in Arts Hold Steady

Education Week News (subscription) – ‎Jun 15, 2009‎
By Mary Ann Zehr About the same
share of 8th graders attend schools where music and visual-arts
instruction are offered as a decade ago–a proportion that