… you could actually get an education from public schools.
During Thanksgiving dinner I got into a discussion about education. I mentioned the righteous return of auto shop and cosmetology to high school curriculum in Austin and received a history lesson on New Math and how useless it was to a whole generation of students/emerging workforce in the 70s. Of course this lead to talk of No Child Left Behind and the unfortunate practice of “teaching to the (TAKS) test.”
I took the opportunity to point to our understanding of how babies learn and grow through experience and trial & error. Why is it that our understanding of how we, as human beings, learn is ignored and we use a compulsory 19th century system rooted in creating a workforce for the ever disappearing manufacturing industry? The arts (& PE) are essential opportunities in allowing for the application of basic reading, writing and math. Our experiences color our perception of the world. Maybe it’ll take playing music and keeping the beat to understand arithmetic? Maybe it’ll take playing Rosencrantz to understand tone in writing? Maybe it’ll take building a paper sculpture to understand physics?
(Why yes, I do agree with Sir Ken Robinson)
Coincidentally, this shows up in my inbox this weekend…
Fellow arts supporters,
The AISD Strategic Plan that will guide Austin students’ education for the next five years is up for discussion by the school board this Monday, with a vote likely December on 14th.
The current draft still lacks language strongly supporting Fine Arts instruction as part of a strong core curriculum for every student. For AISD purposes, Fine Arts includes music, choir, theater, dance, visual and digital arts.
To ensure the arts are strongly represented in the Strategic Plan, district staff and the AISD Board need to hear from every one of us.
Please take a moment and go to this link:
Click on the Online Survey and in the top box, copy in this message:
Please the revise the draft language of Action Step 1.10 to read as follows:
“1.10. Increase access and support for high quality Fine Arts instruction as part of a strong core academic curriculum for all students.”
Then please email the Superintendent and AISD Board with the same message at the below addresses:
Time is of the essence. Thanks for taking a moment to speak up for the arts in education today!
For more information, please contact Susan Moffat, Co-Chair, Friends of the McCallum Fine Arts Academy, at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. A 10-year University of California study involving over 25,000 secondary students found that students with consistent involvement in the arts performed at significantly higher levels on all academic measures than those who did not take fine arts courses.
2. Arts education has a measurable impact on at-risk youth in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while increasing overall academic achievement. (YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts).
3. Students of the arts regularly outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT by 39 to 56 points, according to the College Board. SAT scores continued to increase for each additional year of fine arts study.
4. A recent study by the Texas Cultural Trust, 20 Reasons the Texas Economy Depends on the Arts and the Creative Sector, called the creative sector “the hidden power behind the economy.” In the section titled, “Why Texas Needs to Support the Creative Arts in the Schools,” the report highlighted the comparative advantage of teaching these core academic skills and their demonstrated impact on economic growth and human capital development.
5. Texas Speaker of the House of Representatives recently highlighted a survey of 400 of America’s top employers that called for a more creative workforce. The report concluded, ” …employers rank arts study and experience in performing arts and entertainment as the top factors for instilling creativity in the workforce.”
Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce?
6. The Dana Foundation recently released new studies linking arts instruction, the brain and learning.
7. In an August letter to America’s schools and education leaders, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated: “At this time when you are making critical and far-reaching budget and program decisions for the upcoming school year, I write to bring to your attention the importance of the arts as a core academic subject and part of a complete education for all students.” Secretary Duncan went on to say that the most recent NAEP report card suggests greater focus and funding should be directed to the growing deficits in arts education.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.