Educator: "All the arts for all the children -- hah! "
While we're waiting for the L.A. Unified School District to figure out how to staff and program the new $242-million visual and performing arts high school going up next to the Hollywood Freeway in downtown L.A., here's a homework assignment: Go read guest blogger Jane Remer's blast of cold, refreshing common sense -- deeply informed by years of work in the trenches -- over at the arts education blog Dewey21C.
Here's a sample:
- Face it: The arts still don't fit in most of our schools and none of the advocacy claims made for them have helped a whit in the last five decades.
- [Why] does the arts community persist in shouting its untested belief in the arts and their influence on test scores, the local/national/global economy, or their power to increase skills and abilities in other domains, both personal and scholastic?
- I am coming to the reluctant conclusion that even after all the time, money and people resources we've spent trying to encourage the embrace of the arts as core education, we are as far from our goals now as we were fifty years ago.
Remer, former associate director of the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund's Arts in Education Program, is a longtime advocate. ("My credo is simple: The arts are a moral imperative.... They belong on a par with the 3 R's, science, and social studies in all of our elementary and secondary schools.") She's been posting once a month since February, and so far every word has been worth reading. Find the three guest posts here, here and here.
-- Christopher Knight
Photo: Central Los Angeles High School No. 9. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times