Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's All About the Art!

Obama Administration Working To Revamp Image Of "No Child Left Behind."
The Washington Post (6/23, Glod) reports, "Seven years ago, a rally at the Department of Education promoted one of then-President George W. Bush's most significant domestic achievements -- the No Child Left Behind law. The backdrop: a red schoolhouse." Now, as the Obama administration seeks to put "its own stamp on education reform," officials are considering "a new name and image for" the law, which "has grown unpopular with many teachers and suburban parents, even though it was enacted with bipartisan support in Congress." Currently, "No Child logos on the Education Department elevators are being stripped." In addition, "official correspondence to states now refers to the law's original name, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965." And "on Saturday...construction workers pulled down the schoolhouse and its No Child Left Behind sign. Instead, photos of students, from preschool to college age, are going up on 44 ground-floor windows, forming an exhibit that can be seen from outside."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From the NEA Morning Update: June 16

NAEP: Little Progress Seen In Middle-Schoolers' Music, Visual Arts Knowledge.
USA Today (6/16, Toppo) reports, "New data out today from [ED]'s National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, may make America's arts instructors kind of blue: In the past decade or so, middle-schoolers have made little progress in how much they know about music and visual arts." Yet, the data "also suggest that educators' fears about the arts being squeezed out of public schools may be unfounded - at least for older students. Middle-school administrators polled as part of the tests say students are just as likely to have received regular instruction in music and arts in 2008 as in 1997." This suggests that NCLB "may not have adversely affected middle schoolers' instruction time in the arts, as many critics worried."
The New York Times (6/16, A12, Dillon) adds that the NAEP survey released on Monday "was conducted as part of a nationwide test of music and arts achievement administered last year. ... Previous studies have contradicted one another. Some found that art, music, history and other classes were being taught less frequently as schools focused on reading and math, since the [NCLB] holds schools accountable for test results in only those subjects." However, a "study by the Government Accountability Office reported in February that the time devoted to arts instruction had remained constant in recent years."
In a similar vein Education Week (6/16, Zehr) reports, "About the same share of 8th graders attend schools where music and visual-arts instruction are offered as a decade ago...about half" as NEAP reports "57 percent of 8th graders in 2008 attended schools where music instruction was provided at least three or four times a week, while 47 percent went to schools where visual-arts instruction was offered at least as often." NCES commissioner Stuart Kerachsky said the report does not "provide evidence to fuel 'a concern expressed that schools are cutting out music or other arts,'" though he also said the study "gives information only about school offerings...not about how many students in those schools actually take part in arts education." Kerachsky also said that "the NCES soon plans to conduct fast-response surveys of arts administrators or providers, including music specialists, principals, and classroom teachers, to understand better what such programs offer."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Empty Canvases and Silent Orchestras?

John Showalter is a student at UNI who interviewed Diane Franken and others on the state of arts education in Iowa.

"The assignment was for a class called "News Writing for Print Media" with Dr. Christopher Martin. We were to write enterprise stories; large news stories that combined research and interview to tackle a social/cultural issue. Among themes in the class were premarital cohabitation, the state of life in Cedar Falls, Iowa, etc. Some of my favorite classes growing up were music and art classes, and I knew this was something that impacted the entire country. I also knew it was a subject on which I could gather localized information relating to Iowa to grab an Iowan reader's expections while discussing the state in the country as a whole. It is a timeless subject yet a very important one. One may even be reminded of a world without art, such as Fahrenheit 451 or Brave New World and the horrific dystopian futures these portrayed."

John's article...Empty Canvases and Silent Orchestras?