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Arts Eduation and ESEA: Where do the Arts fit in National Education Policy?

National Education Policy you may ask, you didn't know there was one!  Well, after reading the USDOE's A Blueprint for Reform--The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it struck me that this was the closest thing we will get to a national education policy. For those hell bent on seeing something like this in the arts realm (national cultural policy), it might not be a bad idea to read this Blueprint.If you haven't yet heard, last week the administration released its plan for the reauthorization of the Elementary … [Read more...]

STEM To STEAM: Is it Just a Lot of Hot Air?

And I am not talking about how to get the old school radiators in my office to stop all that loud banging when they heat up. (That is technically known as Steam Hammer.)There's a funny look people get on their face when they use the line: let's turn STEM to STEAM! It's a cute little smile, like they just said something really clever. It's a fine line however, between clever and cute, at least as in "being a bit too cute."It's the latest attempt to wedge the arts into something else. One day it's STEM the next day it's 21st Century Skills. Okay, … [Read more...]

Proposal to Scorch the Earth in Toledo Public Schools

There are times when the little policy matters seems irrelevant. Who cares if a subject is declared "core" by your state department of education or USDOE?Take a good look at this story coming out of Toledo. It is a rather stunning example of how a school district is proposing the elimination of all certified arts and physical education teachers and justifying it by declaring that the state doesn't deem the arts and physical education to be a core subject.Why fight for arts education positive policies?Your answer is in this new piece: click here … [Read more...]

The Outsourcing of Arts Education

A good many of you must have read the article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times that looked at a Burbank parochial school that had chosen to let go of licensed theater faculty in favor of bringing in actors to teach theater.Facing enrollment drop, Burbank Catholic school gets creative in staffing theater programBy outsourcing teaching positions to professional actors, Providence High has revitalized its drama program, and officials say it could become a model for other financially strapped schools. Not only is this a touch subject, it's also a … [Read more...]

If There’s Only One Book to Read on K-12 Education, Read This One!

All the time, I run into people in the arts field who ask me to explain exactly what the hell is going on with K-12 education. Between vouchers, choice, turnaround, merit pay, alternative certification, race to the top, race to the bottom, AYP, value-added assessment, process-driven goals, backwards-mapped curriculum, and more, trying to get a handle on what all this means can conjure up one gigantic state of cognitive dissonance.So, let's say you can only deal with one book that will explain it all.This is the book for you.Run, don't walk to … [Read more...]

College and Career Ready: A Possible Major Goal for the new NCLB

Oops, I did it again. NCLB is out! We're talking about the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. A front page piece appeared in today's Times about where ESEA is headed. Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), the engine of NCLB, appears to be heading for the hills, to be replaced by a broader measurement of progress, and a focus on "college and career readiness."The college and readiness piece is an interesting one, and would certainly be a major advance for ESEA. We've been hearing for quite some time now the concerns in higher education over those … [Read more...]

The Times They Are A-Changin’: National Funding for Arts Education

Those who have been around the block a few times will probably see this as just another instance of the vicissitudes of funding. We've seen any number of large scale funding initiatives come and go; any number of major funders for arts education come and go. Once upon a time there was the JDR 3rd Fund, The GE Fund, The Annenberg Foundation, and others.Nevertheless, the general opinion appears to be that 2009 was a pretty bad year, and it's hard to argue against that position when it comes to arts education funding.In 2009, the Ford Foundation, … [Read more...]

The Third Annual NYCDOE Arts in the Schools Report: Cognitive Dissonance

This week the NYCDOE released its third Annual Arts in the School Report. Along with about thirty colleagues primarily from the arts field, I attended the report presentation at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.The document itself must be applauded for all the work that went into it. In this difficult economy, the mere existence of this report must be given its due. The point of this blog entry is to push the NYCDOE to dig deeper, for the sake of our students and their families.If you want to read the really good news, here's … [Read more...]

US Secretary of Education Is Convinced that Arts Education Raises HS Graduation Rates

''I'm convinced when students are engaged in the arts, graduation rates go up, dropout rates go down,'' Duncan said.One thing we do know about graduation rates and arts education in New York City public schools, is that the schools that offer more arts have higher rates of graduation. It's in this report.And, according to The New York Times, Duncan indicated that the re-authorization of NCLB would recognize what parents, teachers and students have all noticed: "a narrowing of the curriculum."It's all here in CAPITAL CULTURE: Obama Drops … [Read more...]

You Cannot Make this Stuff Up: Elementary Student Barred from Dance Class in Order to Take Test Prep

In New York City, principals have been empowered to be the CEO's of the school building. A big difference between these principals and CEO's however, is that in the corporate model there is a a board of directors. More than ever, these principals operate as free agents.So, for the time being, if a principal doesn't want to support arts education, there's not much that's going to happen to change that. They really have no supervisors in a traditional sense. Most people view this as double-edged sword. Some people think the narrowing of the … [Read more...]

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