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The Teaching Artist: A Leg of the Arts Education Table

In 2011, there are those who are suspect of the teaching artist field. Some who still see teaching artists as an easy way for schools to outsource arts education, bypassing professional arts educators and the costs associated with certified arts teachers. And, as in any field of endeavor, there are those who complain about the training, professionalism, quality, etc. Like all things, there is good and there is bad, and the spectrum of everything in between.If one were to think of arts education as a table, then the teaching artist has surely … [Read more...]

Rememberg Max Matthews, The Father of Computer Music

"What we have to learn is what the human brain and ear thinks is beautiful," Mr. Mathews told Wired magazine in January. "What do we love about music? What about the acoustic sounds, rhythms and harmony do we love? When we find that out it will be easy to make music with a computer." He's not a name that many in the music and/or art world know, but really, everyone should. Today, it's hard to imagine a time before digital music, but there was once a time when scientist-composers paved a new world. In this case it was Matthews writing the … [Read more...]

Waiting For Godot: If You Test it They Will Come

Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot): "But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come."Margaret Spellings: "We measure what we treasure."Diane Ravitch: "How do you measure friendship, character, integrity?" " do some things not for economic reward, and not because they are utilitarian, but because they are right."More and more, I am hearing that since we teach what we … [Read more...]

What Does President Obama Want For His Kids?

A few weeks ago, President Obama offered some inspiring remarks about what he wants for his kids, the sort of remarks we heard on during the '08 primaries, but sadly, not much since. Nevertheless, I am glad to see this voice return on this, and other important issues such as the social safety net.Maybe his voice will begin to include arts education again, and even better, maybe some arts education friendly policies might appear thereafter.One can always hope!Click here to read the transcript.What is true, though, is, is that we have piled on a … [Read more...]

The Swirling Questions of Relevance

Relevance. It's quite the loaded term in the arts and arts education fields, don't you think? I was once talking with two colleagues and the topic of jazz came up. One friend said that she didn't think that jazz was relevant. The other friend had a cow, as the saying goes, wondering exactly how such a statement could be offered. To many in the arts, relevance is established through a transcendence of the art, that is too often in the mind (and heart) of the beholder or a shared by relatively small group of cognoscenti. Matters of popularity are … [Read more...]

Outgoing NY State Education Commissioner: What’s Really Wrong with Education

Directly from the New York State United Teachers Conference, is a somewhat startling video, for its honesty, caring, and content devoid of caustic political rhetoric."...committed to deepening and broadening the educational options for children, and stopping this class system of subjects, which is only ours, and no where else I know of."And of course, there's this quote: "somewhere a parent is explaining to a child why her music program has disappeared."And, well, why I appreciate the sentiment very much, and feel deeply for those who will … [Read more...]

Federal USDOE Arts Education Funding Cut, but Not Eliminated

There are many people across the country who have been waiting on tenterhooks to find out whether or not arts education funding at the United States Department of Education would be zeroed out. It includes funding for the Kennedy Center, VSA Arts, and the competitive grant programs: Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination and Professional Development for Arts Education.I am very happy to report that the $25 million that the Senate had proposed, which is a cut from $40 million, is in the budget agreement. A lot of people dug in to … [Read more...]

Worth The Time: A 1999 Conversation with Maxine Greene

From the December edition of, comes "An Arts Education Symposium," with the great Maxine Greene, Hollis Headrick, Polly Kahn, Frank Oteri, and me.For those who don't know Polly, she's the former education director at The New York Philharmonic, the 92nd Street Y, and other organizations. Today, she is the vice president for learning and leadership development, at the League of American Orchestras. Oteri, a well known figure in the new music world, was once a teacher at one of the toughest high schools in New York: Thomas … [Read more...]

Forget Race to the Top: Watch This Video to See Performance-Based Assessment

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A Interesting Conference Session on Arts Education and Equity

For anyone attending WNET's The Celebration of Teaching and Learning, tomorrow through Saturday, at The New York Hilton, I hope you will consider stopping by.I mean, how often do you get a rising star principal, a teachers union leader, and a member of the governing board for state education policy in one room together talking about arts education? A WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION IN THE AGE OF HIGH STAKES ACCOUNTABILITY - IS THERE REALLY TIME AND SPACE FOR THE ARTS? March 19th, 8:30-9:45 am, New York Hilton   School leaders face greater pressure … [Read more...]

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