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RE: [teacherartexchange] Meet the Masters

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From: Cheryl Lloyd (clloyd_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 11:14:24 PDT


I just wanted to piggy-back on Heather's statement.

California does have standards for visual arts. And Heather is right,
there is not the budget for it. I am one of the only elementary art
teachers that I know, and only because I work at a charter school that
is for the arts. Some have art specialists that come in for a week and
teach a lesson, or might have one that is shared by many schools, but
those are the lucky schools. When California started having yearly
state tests and the state started making schools very accountable for
their scores, all the "specials" got put aside. If it's not on the
test, don't teach it. Schools did this for good reason. Those aren't
"performing" to the states' goal for the school (a moving target I must
add), are considered "Program Improvement". These schools have outside
people come in and train teachers to use their approaches, which consist
of mostly direct instruction where all teachers are on the same page,
saying the same thing. If this doesn't help, the state can restructure
the school, and eventually completely take it over. Saying that, I must
add that this is the worse case scenario, but still!

I worked at a district for six years in California as a third grade
teacher. There were no specialists for any classes, not even P.E. Art
was a four letter word. My student's test scores were printed at the
bottom of my evaluation. I was told that my students would get these
special classes when they reached Middle School and High School. Coming
from Wisconsin where I taught in a school that had all the specialists,
I was shocked to find out that I had moved to a place that basically
only taught Reading and Math. I tried to teach art when I could, or
when I knew the principal was gone for the day, but even myself, knowing
how important it was, found myself doing what I was told. My job
depended on it. I was actually going to quit teaching altogether, and I
just happened to find my current school, where just two years ago
decided to add the arts component. The first year, teachers were asked
to infuse art into their curriculum. This just didn't work. How can a
teacher fully infuse art and all its' mediums and history into an
already packed day? So I approached my principal at the end of the year
and told her that we just couldn't be an art school without a dedicated
art teacher...and here I am. I have a degree in art education, but
haven't been able to fully use my background until this year. It has
been amazing!

So enough about me, right? The point is, if a school is going to try to
implement a cookie cutter program like Meet the Masters, and it is the
only thing they have, I saw yes...it's better than nothing. And it's
certainly better than just doing construction paper pumpkins at
Halloween and hand turkeys at Thanksgiving. Do I think it could in
anyway be the same as a dedicated art teacher? Absolutely not! I know
this first hand. I guess the question is, what is the school trying to
accomplish? Where is it headed? Maybe buying a program like this at
first will get someone to stand up and say, we need more.

Cheri Lloyd
Art Teacher/ Beginning Teacher Mentor
Whitmore Charter School of the Arts and Technology
3435 Don Pedro Road
Ceres, CA 95307
209.556.1610
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Ray Leal [mailto:rayleal@earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:55 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Meet the Masters

California does have standards for elementary art- but California's
doesn't have a budget that includes it. Many districts don't have
elementary art teachers. In my kid's school it was up to the classroom
teachers and a private foundation that parents established to hire art
professionals to come in to classrooms a few times a year.
Heather

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