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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...]

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...]

The Federal Govermment Should Mandate that Every Child Should Study A Musical Instrument

That quote comes from Diane Ravitch, who was presented at an American Enterprise Institute forum last Wednesday night in DC. In addition, the program featured AEI's Rick Hess as moderator, and AEI's Mark Schneider,  NEA President Dennis van Roekel, and the Boorkings Institution's William A. Galston, as panelists.This was part of Diane's book tour, and of course, to have Diane present her ideas on school reform today, highly critical of the things that AEI has been supportive of, made for a great presentation, not to mention theater.I was … [Read more...]

The Official USDOE Summary from the ESEA Arts Stakeholders Meeting

This was sent along by the USDOE just yesterday: ESEA Meeting on Arts Education Summary … [Read more...]

The American Teacher Magazine Cover Story on Arts Education

The American Teacher is the bi-monthly magazine published by the American Federation of Teachers. The February edition has a cover story on arts education in the United States. And it's quite a swell cover!Click here to read it. For some reason, there is this underlying element in the arts that makes you feel you have to justify what you're doing, says Karla Back, who teaches choral music and music history at St. James High School in St. James, Minn.It's high time that arts classes are considered to be core subjects. No more designation as … [Read more...]

The True Nature of Mayoral Control Strikes Hard for 19 School Communities

Sometimes people lose track of what mayoral control means, particularly the pure form that we have in New York City. In New York City, it means that the mayor controls the schools and can do whatever he wants, for he appoints the majority of the the local school board (the Panel for Educational Policy) and can remove his appointees at anytime for any reason whatsoever.The vote by the PEP, the "fake school board," as some call it, was the best animation of mayoral control that we've seen in a long time. For those of you who live in another city, … [Read more...]

Oh NCLB, Where Art Thou?

On January 20th, the USDOE is hosting an information session for arts education constituents concerning the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), otherwise known during the Bush administration as No Child Left Behind.In regards to the arts, I know no one who holds the view that NCLB was anything but bad legislation. In a GAO report last year, it was reported that NCLB led to considerable problems related to equity and access. In other words, the kids who depend on schools the most for a quality education that … [Read more...]

Art, A Music Video by Andrea Dorfman

I love this video. My daughter Sophie and I were watching this morning and she agrees, giving it a four and a half year old's seal of approval.The director is the artist Andrea Dorfman. The music is by Tanya Davis. Click away, it's a sweet and appealing video, and even if you don't like the style of music, I dare you, double dare you, to say you don't like the message. … [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...]

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