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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...]

And Then There Was NCLB

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been mainly occupied with education stimulus dollars, more than anything reflected in the frenzy around his Race to the Top Fund. It is, after all, a $4.3 billion fund available to state education departments through a competitive application process. Final guidelines are to appear sometime within the next three weeks. Stay tuned!A lot of people have been wondering about NCLB. Here comes Duncan today with a big speech about NCLB, essentially moving it from the back to one of the front burners. Secretary … [Read more...]

Is It Time to Throw in the Towel on Education Reform? A Speech by Checker Finn

This is a terrific bird's eye view of the kaleidoscope of education reform. Whether you agree  with his conclusion or not, it's more than worth the read.Click here to read Checker Finn's September 9th speech to Rice University's Educational Entrepreneurship Program.Hirsch wants a new K-8 curriculum, for instance. The NEA (National Education Association) wants more of what it's always wanted. Charter critics want tighter regulation. Some Republicans want greater freedom for states and parents. Some Democrats want less freedom. Arne Duncan … [Read more...]

Of Ted Kennedy, Rocco Landesman, and NCLB

When I think of Ted Kennedy, I think of a line of Democrats that reach way back to FDR. The wealthy elites who are brought up to serve the public and for my money, demonstrate a commitment to a progressive agenda that is centered in social justice. Were they perfect, of course not. From FDR to Teddy Kennedy. Was Teddy the end of the line? I was watching some of Ted Kennedy's speeches this morning. The one I didn't see was the one I remember most of all: his eulogy of his brother Robert. It was a powerful, iconic moment in American history.If … [Read more...]

Reflections on Arts Education and the USDOE

It's interesting to see the fairly predictable responses to Arne Duncan's letter and web conference, where he articulated support for arts education on behalf of the USDOE and the White House. There is and should be a fair amount of gratitude across the field when a US Secretary of Education affirms the importance of the arts, even if the affirmation may at first blush appear to be more talk than walk. And in light of his comments about the central importance of parents to ensuring arts education, well, it was indeed newsworthy.I think the … [Read more...]

Six Key Quotes from Arne Duncan’s Web Conference on Arts Education

I know, I know, the full transcript and audio is coming. In the meantime, here are a few quotes. But before that, here's my headline:US Education Secretary Affirms the Importance of Parents in Ensuring Arts EducationHere are the highlights: 1."The elementary and secondary education act defines arts education as a core subject." 2. "The 2008 NAEP assessment of music and visual arts...reminded all of us that the arts are a part of a complete education and require kids to use creative and problem solving skills." 3."Arts education plays an … [Read more...]

Can the Arts be a Central Part of Urban School Improvement?

Well, of course. Unfortunately, that answer is not widely known or embraced among the policy elites. That's part of our job as advocates.Middle School 223, once shuttered as one of the most violent middle schools in New York City, was reopened in 2003 as M.S. 223/The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology. Today, Principal Ramon Gonzalez says attendance is about 4 percent higher than at any middle school in the area. Meanwhile, test scores have risen from an 8 or 9 percent competency in reading and math to a whopping 65 percent of students … [Read more...]

Education Secretary Lands Near Knockout Blow in First Round

Okay, maybe it's really the second round, as the first could be viewed as the education portion of the stimulus package.I've read a lot about Arne Duncan being a basketball player, but hadn't heard much about him liking to mix it up.Yesterday Duncan spoke at a press conference in Maryland where he outlined what will be required of states in order to receive the second round of stimulus money. The Secretary is going to require significant reporting from each state on a number of key indicators. There's a lot more here to the story that meets the … [Read more...]

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