I read a couple of replies to my rather calm call to action by art
educators. The reply from Donald C. Arcement read: "...I believe you have a
point, but now how do we go about this noble task? I always get "poo-pooed"
when I try to defend my profession. It seems to be the "way of the world".
Please, I'm interested in any suggestions that you might have... do tell.
I think we can start with this forum, we are constantly in contact with one
another and we read similiar success and challenge stories on the list.
Those stories of challenges seem to outweigh the professional support and
success stories on this list. I propose the following:
- Engage Getty in a dialogue and the art materials manufacturer about our
plight. Ask them to give us some advice and to stand with us as advocates
for our work. Right now everyone is benefiting from our work more than we
- Engage the filmmakers in a dialogue about our plight, maybe we can get
support similiar to the Music campaign started a few years ago. Look at the
credits of any film and you will see your work. We put those artist out
there and we helped produced those that appreciate the arts too.
- Why not start a survey of working conditions. Pair that data with other
education subject teachers and coalition with them.
_ The art standards in mnay states are closely tied to the other
subjects...show your local and state boards of education how integral art
education is to teaching, reinforcing and extending the so-called core
- Present at your local and state boards of education how the visual arts is
one of the most interdisciplinary subjects taught in a curriculum. This
would add credence to the fact that many of ther subjects are farther from
really meeting the standards, yet we do it in a fluid way.
- Become media hounds, publish a newsletter for your program, and send press
releases for every great thing you do in your program.
- Start a letter writing campaign to the NAEA and NEA and other art advocacy
and education organizations about your plight.
- Survey the english, math and science teachers about the administrative
support, budget and classrrom conditions they deal with and compare what you
have to work with. Present this data to your principal , at your local or
state art education meetings and then cc: NAEA. Engage the NAEA in real
dialogue about advocating for us.
- Make a list of all the corporations that support the so-called core
subjects in your are and the state, lobby them to support the art education
teachers in K12 in your area.
- Organize a "day without the art teacher", this event would include our
music, drama, technology and dance colleagues. Enlist the help of all the
local and state, even national arts organizations and funding bodies.
- Take a media literarcy class and maybe a media class for teachers and
learn how to make a small film about what you do in your class and how that
influences all the students.
- Get a copy of the scholarship done on how art helps students perform
better in all classes.
- Enlist the support of all the art education folks that do have the ear of
decision makers and have them advocate for their colleagues.
- Join forces with your local teacher union to have your needs address in a
more formal manner when they go in to do bargaining for all the teachers.
What we do is unique and is no les worthy of attention than our math or
geography teaching collegues.
- Talk to your non-art teaching colleagues about your concerns and ask them
to lobby for you.
- Stop doing all the extra art stuff for your school, that they don't want
to pay you for and/or present them with a bill for the in-kind work you
provide annually to the school/district.
- Om the national "Day without Art", cover all the art work in school with
black clothes, like they do all the public works around the nation.
- Talk to the students about the power and importance of art and grow new
advcates for your profession.
This is just a cursory list of suggestions that when done in unision can
create a great reverberation across the country. We are like snow flakes,
alone we are unique and beautiful, but joined together we can close down a
city. BE A SNOWFLAKE!
Thank you Donald for getting my mind flowin' on this. I also recoomend that
you all read any book by Tom Peters or the book"The 2,000 Percent Solution:
Free Your Organization from 'Stalled' Thinking to Achieve
Exponential Success by Donald Wayne Mitchell, Carol Coles, Robert Metz, Tobi
Kahn. This book is great for folks new to thinking outside the box..."They
begin their book by suggesting that a great number of us are in "a stall,"
which is a polite way of saying 'stuck in the status quo.' No argument
there, from perhaps just about all readers; few people believe their
organizations are driving at100% throttle, let alone 2000%! So, quickly, the
authors assert that you, personally,
can do something about this: 'Shoot for the Moon When It Counts' is their
advice. Then they go, chapter by chapter, enumerating those myriad places
where individuals (just like you) and teams (just like yours) get stuck: in
traditions, in disbelief, in misconception, in communications, in
bureaucracy, in procrastination. Less kind
reviewers might say, "Yawn!" to such a list of basics; yet, taken as a
whole, this book is verbal dynamite. The authors' repeated insistence that
there isn't even one area of gain on the goals'amplifier makes for a great
book. Their last paragraph is worthy of framing; it says,
in part: 'We must each evolve into self-actualized individuals, who can
recognize stalls and the stall mind-set, both personal and corporate, and
then guide companies and organizations to overcome specific stalls to become
self-actualized."--Thomas Brown (Editor) MANAGEMENT GENERAL, August 1, 1999
I have read the book and used some of the strategies to reorganize my life
and a student organization. I think we may need to look outside what we
know and our fears, if we want more for our professional life.
Donald, I hope I got your wheels and our colleagues turning toward a 2000%
solution for art education. I look forward to what they rest of you can
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