The news that's got me steamed today is presented as good news, and (alas) in a way it is. Our schools have been cutting The Arts to free up resources for "other, more important things" (ugh!) and here we have volunteers who come in to the schools to keep Art going there, even though they don't have access to licensed teachers in that area. On the surface it sounds good. But let me tell you, I was a licensed (both B.A. and M.S. in Art Ed) Visual Art teacher in NYC Public Schools for 18 years and there is NOTHING like a fully qualified teacher to make this crucial subject come alive! Before I go on and on... here's the article that just appeared in my in-box and that's set me off, today (grrrrrrr!)
Volunteer Group Restores Art Lessons in Schools
Calif.-based group works in 19 states
Redwood City, Calif.Until recently, 11-year-old Sinai Medina dreamed of playing pro basketball. Now, he also imagines becoming an artist.
What makes his shift so surprising is that until last year, the dark-haired, serious 5th grader never did art. He never finger-painted, colored in a coloring book, or drew chalk pictures on the sidewalk. He had no arts and crafts at school—no Play-Doh, painting at an easel, or making collages with dried macaroni and glitter.
"Before, we didn't have art and we weren't creative. Now I want to come to school," said Sinai, a 5th grader at Taft Community School here in this community, located about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose.
When Robyn Miller became principal three years ago, Taft didn't have an art program. Her school had been among the thousands of schools serving predominantly low-income African-American and Hispanic populations that were compelled to eliminate the arts as far back as 1982 and saw steady declines ever since because of budget woes, according to a 2011 report from the National Endowment for the Arts... but, even with the end of the Great Recession, the school didn't have the money to hire a credentialed art teacher."
later in the article the following is pointed out...
Not a ReplacementBut some art education advocates are ambivalent about organizations like Art in Action.
"We would never want to see an outside arts or culture organization replace an arts teacher," said Doug Israel, the director of research and policy at the Center for Arts Education, which pushes for professional art teachers in every New York City public school. He applauded principals like Miller for seeking affordable and creative arts education for their students, but said outside programs are inadequate substitutes for having a licensed art teacher on staff. Art teachers provide daily instruction and other important enrichment programming, explained Israel. They help with school plays, do fundraising, and coordinate outreach to community arts groups for such activities as museum field trips and special lessons with professional artists.
Ultimately, however, Israel said Art in Action and similar programs are "a benefit for students and better than no arts."
The only excuse I can think of to justify the actions of those Cultural Philistines who cut the Arts in our schools is that they are the products of public schools themselves and so it is small wonder they have this gap in their own education... a blind spot that that are now magnifying and passing on to the next generation. Want ample evidence that Arts Education is the gateway to Literacy and Math competence? That it makes school a positive experience for so many kids? That it truly is an essential, necessary component of an acceptable education? Look for it! Google for it and you'll be overwhelmed with what you turn up, Philistines!