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The Nation’s Report Card for Reading and Math: Will Dismal Results Bring More of the Same (higher stakes testing)?

As Igor Stravinsky once said, good composers borrow; great composers steal. So, instead of writing my own setting of the stage, let me steal from my fine colleague and friend at Common Core, Lynne Munson: I challenge anyone to think of a nation that works as hard as we do to find silver linings in its educational failures. On Tuesday morning NAEP reported that, in the course of two years, our nation’s 4th and 8th graders improved a single point (on a 500-point scale) in three of four reading and math assessments, and flatlined on the fourth.  … [Read more...]

Arts Education: Too Much and Not Enough

One of the things I have been thinking quite a lot about lately, besides having no power at home for the third time since July (four straight days this time), currently resulting from Saturday's somewhat bizarre snow storm, is the quite odd dichotomy between my work in K-12 and my work today in higher education. In K-12 it was so often an issue of shoehorning arts education into the school day, extended or traditional. So much of the work evoked questions of how to get a seat at the table, strategies to incentivize the embrace of arts … [Read more...]

People You Should Know: Laurie Lock–Music and Arts Education Advocate

A tribute is in order, I strongly believe, because I know few people who have been such fierce, honest, and strategic advocates for music and arts education as is Laurie Lock. You see, Laurie, after 11 years of directing programs and policy at VH1 Save The Music Foundation, is stepping down to care for her daughter full-time. Of course, Laurie has had great colleagues at VH1 Save The Music who have partnered with her on all of her great work. But if you haven't had the chance to work with her directly, you will have missed the opportunity … [Read more...]

Looking For A Few Good Standards Authors: The New Arts Education National Standards

Help Wanted: Coalition Seeks Writers for New Arts Standards By Erik Robelen<> Ever looked at a set of standards and thought to yourself: Why on Earth did they include that? Or, I can't believe they left out XYZ! Well, enough of the Monday morning quarterbacking. A national coalition is looking for a few good men and women to help write a set of "next generation" standards for arts education. Actually, to be more precise, it's trying to recruit 40 content experts, 10 each in dance, music, … [Read more...]

Guest Blog, Jane Remer: A Paradox, A Paradox, A Most Ingenious Paradox –The Common Core of State Standards and The Untamable Core of the American Class System

Jane Remer’s CliffNotes: September 29, 2011 “A Paradox, A Paradox, a Most Ingenious Paradox” (Pirates of Penzance/Gilbert and Sullivan), The Common Core of (Voluntary) State Standards and the Untamable Core of the American Class System. The 21st Century is young, but it’s clearly becoming a paradox. The now developing Common Core meticulously charts the paths and spirals (but not the contents) for English Language Arts and Math, K-12. Many states are engaged in developing assessments (process and implementation, not content) aligned to … [Read more...]

Batuta — Columbia’s El Sistema. An Essay by Eric Booth and Tricia Tunstall

As I write, I am staring out the window on the 7:00 Acela heading to DC from New York Penn Station. I have a board meeting of Common Core, for which I am board treasurer. What was a sunny day in New York, has turned into a deep fog. The train moves through the fog like a bullet through space. Oh, and let me make a plug for the upcoming report by Common Core on the narrowing of the curriculum. recently published a nice little feature. Fortunately, there is no fog to be pierced in Eric Booth and Tricia Tunstall's essay Batuta, the … [Read more...]

Breaking Through the Roadblock: An Example from Science Education Advocacy

As a follow-up to yesterday's entry, The First Roadblock to Arts Education Policy Improvement, I offer a very interesting item, an example if you will, as to what it looks like when such roadblocks are broken through. Perhaps bypassed would be a better way to treat the metaphor, as you never know what's on the other side of that roadblock! Is this a perfect example, nope. Are there any?  Hummm...I will get back to you on that.Click on through to Georgia Plans to Require Science as Measure of AYP, from the Curriculum Matters blog on Ed … [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...]

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...]

Parents Are Key: Will We Ever Make Good on the Notion?

For this past year's Grantmakers in the Arts Conference, a few people were asked to write short think pieces to accompany GIA's arts education pre-conference. The following is the piece that I wrote about parent engagement:I've been hearing about the power of parents in education since I started as a teaching artist in 1985, and in 2009 you still hear it all the time, at meetings, conferences, in reports, etc. It's one of the proverbial "legs of the table." Certainly, we have from time-to-time witnessed engaged parents advocating with school … [Read more...]

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