Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not On The Test

Like everyone else, our school is facing some severe budget cuts. It's upsetting. The first thing they seem to cut is music and the arts (so, yeah, that means my "job" too). They'll cut anything that isn't on the state (govt) mandated "tests" (i.e. Language arts and math). Here are some facts about the importance of arts education in schools:

Young people who consistently participate in comprehensive, sequential, and rigorous arts programs are:

- 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement

- 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools

- 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair

- 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance

- 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

Source: Americans for the Arts (

The arts provide children with:

- different ways to process information and express their knowledge

- the ability to think creatively in areas like math and science

- the ability to be independent and collaboration skills

(source: Young Audiences, Inc.

The arts also:

- teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.

- celebrate multiple perspectives - showing students that there are many ways to see and interpret the world

- make it clear that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not
define the limits of our cognition.

- help children learn to say what cannot be said. They must learn to reach into their poetic capacities to find the words to describe how
the work of art makes them feel.

(source: National Art Education Association website - From Elliot Eisner's book: The Arts and the Creation of Mind)

I know that there are only a few of you who read this, but, I have to say this somewhere. (Since Board meetings are at times I can't really go).

Check out this great song by Tom Chapin. I'm thinking it'd be a great song to do for our Spring concert (if I only had the nerve):


Maureen said...

Steve has made proposals for very easy and fairly painless ways to SAVE these jobs and programs. If you can't go to the meetings, call a board member (or two) and ask them to consider doing the things it will take to save these programs (like cutting frosh sports....and yes, that idea came from a COACH)

He also suggested that the teachers take a voluntary 1% pay cut (tho I'm sure he didn't make any new friends for that one :)

Jeano said...

I can't imagine how hard Steve's job is! (nor can I imagine the stress he must be under!)
We're thinking of talking to one of the Board members who lives near us. Honestly, I wonder if it will do any good, but we will give it a try.

Nancy W. said...

This is the first time I have visited your blog. I teach in Exeter as well, but in the elementary. Have you considered forwarding this post to your board members. We are finding out that there is SO much the board members are unaware of. We need to enlighten them!

Steve said...


The song hits it on the head, "Don't think about thinking."