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Our society as a whole just doesn't appreciate the importance, significance,
or role of the arts -- in life, much less in school -- and I would guess in
large part because most people haven't had much of an art education or
ongoing powerful art experiences as a regular part of their education or
lives. Hence, what can we do now with that as the reality out there to deal
with, to increase the understanding and valuing of art and its place in
education, which will in turn increase the understanding and valuing of the
role of art teachers?
As I think someone said earlier in this discussion, the elimination of art
teachers' positions is not a result of general classroom teachers "taking
over" art, but a reflection of society's lack of valuing of art. I would
guess that most general classroom teachers would be relieved not to be
required to teach art (which they are in CA if there's no art teacher, which
there usually isn't) or at least not to be the sole art educ provider.
So my comments over the last few days are based on what I see as that very
basic and unfortunate reality about art's value in our society and finding
ways to try to change it, albeit by baby steps, but change it nonetheless.
To do it, I believe you first have to get people exposed to art in positive,
engaging ways -- wherever you can: art rooms, classrooms, street murals,
museums, architecture, billboards, artists' studios, etc. If the art
teachers aren't there (e.g., California -- which is pretty ironic when you
think about what a big industry the arts are here), ya gotta build on what
you have -- i.e., general classroom teachers. And I believe those teachers
can play an important role anywhere, with or without art specialists.
Ideally with, certainly.
There's my latest two-cents worth. This discussion is really fun and
engaging I find! And ultimately an important one, I think.
P.S. I don't know how many out there get ArtsEdNet by digest rather than
individual message, but I get the digest which means I get the messages in
clumps every so often. So if I sometimes seem behind a step or two, that's why.