This is a terrific article written last May for the Washington Post online magazine. My friend and fellow arts instructor, Jan, sent it to me today. It reiterates what I have been saying to anyone who will listen: Improved test scores are not an adequate reason to include or exclude a subject area. Arts have intrinsic value not specifically related and yet foundational to learning in core subject areas.
This post from TheArtsRoom (in Rhode Island) preaches to the choir but I think you will enjoy many of the quotes. The book mentioned in the post, Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith, is one of my favorite teacher resources. I have a copy in my bookshelf and I ordered one for our school’s library. Enjoy the rest of the reblog!
via The Arts Room
I am sharing some insights by a few profound thinkers on the subject of arts education. I hope you will find these ideas though-provoking. Please let me know what you think. If you have a quote that should be included, share it in your comment.
“In America, we do not reserve arts education for privileged students or the elite. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, students who are English language learners, and students with disabilities often do not get the enrichment experiences of affluent students anywhere except at school. President Obama recalls that when he was a child ‘you always had an art teacher and a music teacher. Even in the poorest school districts everyone had access to music and other arts.’
Today, sadly, that is no longer the case.”
– U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, April 9, 2010
“The arts in the schools do not, cannot, and should not exist in isolation. They necessarily must operate in the framework of general education. When they are part of the curriculum of American schools – and this cannot be taken for granted – inevitably they are there because they give students an indispensable educational dimension… The arts are affiliated with the schools’ important responsibility to pass on civilization.”
-from Strong Arts, Strong Schools by Charles Fowler
1996 Oxford University Press
“Education minus art? Such an equation equals schooling that fails to value ingenuity and innovation. The word art, derived from an ancient Indo-European root that means “to fit together,” suggests as much. Art is about fitting things together: words, images, objects, processes, thoughts, historical epochs.
It is both a form of serious play governed by rules and techniques that can be acquired through rigorous study, and a realm of freedom where the mind and body are mobilized to address complex questions — questions that, sometimes, only art itself can answer: What is meaningful or beautiful? Why does something move us? How can I get you to see what I see? Why does symmetry provide a sense of pleasure?”
-Jeffrey T. Schnapp is director of the Stanford Humanities Lab at Stanford University, a prominent cultural historian of the 20th century, and a frequent curator of art exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
“All kids have tremendous talents and we squander them pretty ruthlessly… We (educators) stigmatize mistakes… We are educating people out of their creative capacities… We don’t grow into creativity, we are educated out of it.”
-Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources.
“Learning to think within the affordances and constraints of the material is one of the things that the arts teach… we can look at the arts as tasks which develop the mind because of the kinds of thinking that they evoke, practice and develop… What we need in American education is not for the arts to look more like the academics… but for the academics to look more like the arts.”
-Elliot W. Eisner, Lee Jacks Professor of Education and professor of art at Stanford University, speaking in September 2006 on “What Do the Arts Teach?”
Ken Busby is the author of this post on the Americans for the Arts website. He is also the director of my local Arts and Humanities Council. I think Ken has some insight into the missing piece for promoting arts education: the business community. I hope you enjoy his blog. We are very proud of the work Ken and the staff at the Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council does. It would be so cool if every community had a similar staff of arts advocates.