Chorus Asserts Itself

Chorus America, the nation's chorus association, has released research that details how chorus participation is good for kids, adults and communities. I'll let you click through to see the details, but here a brief list of the benefits that their research asserts.

The Ethics of Cutting Arts Education

Blogger, evaluation expert, professor, and consultant Dr. Patricia Saraniero writes about the arts education and ethics. Her latest entry discusses the "ethical ramifications of cutting arts from schools."

It's well-reasoned, well-researched and well-written. I'd suggest a good once-over for any arts education supporter who appreciates a good intellectual argument.  Here's a lovely excerpt:

Local Advocacy in San Diego Saves the Arts

A group of dedicated and inventive parents, teachers, and arts professionals saved the arts education work of the Office of Visual and Performing Arts at the San Diego Unified School District yesterday in a 4-1 vote.

A Teacher's Appeal for Arts Education

A colleague sent me this brilliant letter advocating for arts education. It uses financial, ethical, and socioeconomic arguments for retaining the Visual and Performing Arts office of the San Diego County Office of Education. And each point is research-based. As the sender noted, "I think it takes the cake for most inventive and well researched. " Thanks to our tipster, Victoria, for keeping Americans for the Arts and our readers up-to-date.

May 31, 2009

Members of the Board:

What Connects Us All

Teaching artist, arts leader, and good guy Eric Booth has penned an article on that bitty thing that connects all humans; that thing that keeps the arts alive whether the Endowment flourishes or falls; that nut of humanity that created Lasceaux, Cosi fan Tutti, and The Gates. And to illuminate this sprig of magic, he starts with particle theory. I read it and thought, "That's so cool."

An excerpt:

The Future of Arts Education

One of the session proposals that Americans for the Arts sent to Grantmakers in the Arts for their annual conference this October in Brooklyn, NY was about the future of Arts Education. Here's a brief bit:

Future Forms of Arts Education

Response to the “Inmate’s Show Won’t Go On” (from Arts Watch)

The following is an email letter sent to an indivdual quoted in a regional NY paper on the arts' being of no value to prisoners in future employment efforts.

Dear Mr. Walker-

I would like to offer a perspective in response to the article “Inmate’s Show Won’t Go On” in the Times Herald-Record online, dated May 17, 2009. My hope is to illuminate the simple fact that the arts and arts education mean jobs.

Coordinating Efforts in Arts Education

There are a number of fantastic, city-wide projects for arts education taking place. The latest? San Antonio:

The San Antonio Arts Education Task Force seeks an individual to manage, coordinate and administer the development of a comprehensive arts education blueprint for San Antonio.

Others include Seattle, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Baltimore.

Art Education: It may take years to realize its value

I found this article this week while compiling my Arts Education Weekly News email. Each Monday I slog through hundreds of Google News alerts, electronic newsletters, new research and other data. I’m lucky to have a job where knowing who is doing what when and how is part of the responsibility.

Sample Arts Education Advocacy Letter

The following letter was written for parents to send in to their School Board Representatives of the San Diego Unified School District which is currently faced with the possibility of having their Visual and Performing Arts Department completely eliminated due to budget cuts.  At local street art fairs, Young Audiences of San Diego's staff members walked around with a clipboard of letters, speaking to concerned parents about the potential cuts, and asking parents to sign the letter (listing their home address and the school their child attends).

Arts Education Partnership Improves Participation

The Arts Education Partnership, a major player in arts education research for the past 15 years--since its creation by the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Dept of Education--has opened a public call for session proposals for the 2009 Forum. The Forums are two day conferences held around the country and they attract the best and the brightest in arts education leadership. They have a strong regional pull but always a good national audience as well.

Open Letter to San Diego School District

The following is an open letter to the School Board and the Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District which is currently faced with the challenge of budget cuts.  The letter calls for bold leadership in decision making processes with an eye toward creating opportunity for students to become engaged members of society and future problem solvers.  The letter argues the arts and physical education are essential to an education for an engaged citizenry.

March 24, 2009

Dear School Board members and Superintendent Grier,

Changing Education Infrastructure for Arts Education

Initiatives to offer arts instruction to all students within large urban systems have succeeded in recent years. These efforts work to align private resources in support of sustained arts education provision by the public education system. The leaders of these efforts do not rely solely on central offices, state departments of education, or other individual education leaders or institutions. They understand the entire system and engage its leaders in decision-making and execution.

Should philanthrpy be more like Business?

Is it true that business could fix the problems that social profit professionals haven't? This guy thinks so. But is there any good argument for us?

Arts Ed and the New Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools Superintendent, will be put forward by Obama as Secretary of Education - the head of the US Department of Education. The Washington Post summed him up like this: "In seven years as chief executive of the Chicago school system, Arne Duncan earned a reputation as a leader who pushed for strong measures to improve schools but also reached out to the teachers union and the community." Meh.

What Arts Education Leadership Sounds Like

The following is a passionate and eloquent call-to-action that summarizes much of the working conditions of arts education advocates. It comes from the conference brochure (pdf, 1.5 MB) of the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education (VAAE). VAAE and its director, Thomas Stevens, is hosting a one-day conference and a town hall meeting on arts education, workforce development, and making change. They call it Leap of Faith: The Future of Arts Education.

Creating Change in Education

Creating change in education is not only a function of affecting classroom practice. To impact education, one must know and then act upon the network of decision-makers that determine what a child experiences each day in the classroom. The first step is to understand the way these decisions are made and revised within the entire network of decision-makers.

A 2-dimensional sketch of the many levels of education (in plain text graphics) may look like this:

Task & You Shall Receive: Wisconsin's Forces for 21st Century Arts Education

New, critical support for arts education is mounting from business, government, and education. Wisconsin leaders are capitalizing on these opportunities in unparalleled ways.

By Karin Wolf, Arts Program Administrator, Madison Arts Commission, City of Madison, Wisconsin

Arts Education Trends: Universal Design for Learning and the Arts

By guest blogger Don Glass, Ph.D., Director of Outcomes and Evaluation, VSA arts, Washington, D.C.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is getting a lot of airplay in Washington this Fall. In addition to several conferences and a virtual forum, the United States Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) just released a Tool Kit on Universal Design for Learning on the web.

Arts, Education, and Leadership: Powerful Network or Tangled Web?

by Laura Reeder, Founding Executive Director, Partners for Arts Education, Syracuse, NY

The 21st century movement toward less didactic and more collaborative education for our next generation has been especially focused on the place of the arts in learning. As our schools and community partners work to redesign the classroom with more experiential opportunities, we are also redesigning the shape of leadership and resource delivery to serve these new environments.

Solitary Confinement in Education and the Perils of What We're Not Teaching

Modeling of democratic values and principles in the schools has gone off course, but it is not too late to change direction.

By Merryl Goldberg, Ed.D., Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, California State University San Marcos

NB: some arts education goings on at Convention

Hello Field!

Americans for the Arts is working on a few big additions to its portfolio of arts education work. We're beefing up our policy support for the field and sharpening our professional development. Gone are the days of seemingly disparate convention sessions. Check out these bits:

Our History: Education and the Arts

Artists made a stunning and under-appreciated difference in the history of education. Research, such as that from Illinois and New Jersey, is now telling us the "will of the leadership" determines whether or not arts education happens.

I take this moment to appreciate leadership by the arts for education:


Top of Their Game:

Bob Morrison and host of other movers and shakers in New Jersey arts, arts education, education, and politics unveiled the results of the New Jersey Arts Education Census Project today in a graceful and eloquent press conference televised from the New Jersey Network studios in Trenton, NJ.

Arts Education in the New York Times

A letter-to-the-editor from Bob Lynch was recently published on the New York Times website.

The letter calls for a reunification in the debate among arts education professionals about which benefits of arts education should be researched by scientists, designed for by providers, and touted by advocates.

The letter is online.

Arts Education: Intrinsic? Or Instrumental?

By Nick Rabkin
Center for Arts Policy
Columbia College Chicago
August 8, 2007

It is so rare that arts ed or arts ed research gets coverage in the daily press. The recent article in the New York Times about the "Studio Thinking" research project (1) is significant first because of its rarity. It is already generating a buzz about arts education that we rarely feel.


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