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OMA and a few comments

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From: Pam (pgstephens_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Feb 29 2004 - 09:07:36 PST


>>This was the post I was attempting to answer. Great phrase, Judith! and
thanks for citing the Arizona speech. But did I misread it? -- the OMA
excludes the visual arts? They must be in such good shape that they don't
need promoting out there? If only. <<

Like most other states, art education in Arizona is suffering. OMA does
offer a ray of hope, however. I sincerely hope that AZ art teachers on this
list will look into OMA and apply for some of the funds. Replicating through
the visual arts the success of an arts-general classroom collaboration can
only strengthen art education in AZ schools. (An aside --- some of my
advanced art ed students are seeking a grant to replicate a museum-school
collaboration that resulted in improved academic achievement. It's not
through OMA, but a local grant that we hope to win.)

When the AZ Superintendent of Schools visited the Flagstaff School District,
parents overwhelmed him with questions and concerns about cutting art
programs (that's VISUAL ARTS programs) to fund other initiatives. He was
adamant in supporting the need for art in all schools for all kids.

Here is my commentary on what we as art educators need to address when
seeking support from stakeholders:

We have the National Content Standards and individual state academic
standards as well as district-level standards. We are told what students
need to know and be able to do in art, but these directives do not say WHO
has to teach these courses. Until we address the issue of WHO teaches art,
then we are at the mercy of governing boards as to the quality and quantity
of art teaching in America's schools. We need qualified, well-trained art
education professionals teaching art; not generalists who have had 3-6 hours
of lower-level art ed courses. Schools wouldn't hire an illiterate to teach
language arts, why should they expect a visual illiterate to teach art?

Well-trained art education professionals will produce better art learners
whose learning ultimately will be reflected in better academic achievement
simply because the arts require inquiry and a variety of communication.
Kids are taught to think harder and better through art and this impacts
academic achievement across the board.

I suspect that I am preaching to the choir here, but this is my sermon to
every administrator I meet.

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