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RE: getting pinked


Date: Sat Mar 15 2003 - 16:39:50 PST

Dear Patty,
 I do not know how to fix it. Thank you for your note. Due to No Child Left Behind our Superintendent is proposing cuts in the arts, included is PE, Computers, Home Ec ( called FACS) German, Agric. Science, Visual arts, not Spanish, which intrigues me.They want to add another period of reading and math and there is no money for that so they want to cut us to pay for them. Rob Peter to pay Paul. For the first time I can think of we are not sitting down and taking it. All of us whose areas are targeted have met 3 times so far and have drafted letters to our board members with proposals on how they can raise test scores without cutting the arts. We have researched what other schools are doing. There are schools out there, that are not cutting the arts and finding other methods to raise test scores. I called the North Central Evaluation Association and they directed me to a school in our Region, Some of you e-mailed me what your schools are doing. Thank you, Thank you to those of you who did. We are going to the Public this week to inform them and have got the school board to give us a public forum next week.The board votes on whether to accept the Superintendent proposals on April 11th. We do not know if we can sway the board to save our programs or not, but we are trying. Please pray for us and if you have any articles or as Patty said, we need stats that prove the arts are essential in development of a whole child.
Not sitting down and taking it,

Renee Berg
6th,7th Art and 8th grade Art Tech
Mitchell Public Schools
Mitchell, SD

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia Knott []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 2:07 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: getting pinked

I started writing a long note last night about Kathy's pink slip notice.... and then fell asleep before sending it off.

I'm extremely concerned about the cuts. It shows a definite lack of foresightedness and need. The current quest for test scores to meet the demands of federal initiatives is forgetting that the No Child is also a whole child.
If the teachers of the arts are constantly being eliminated, we will never get beyond advocacy for our programs. I am currently doing a research project on assessment in the arts. I am finding tons of stuff on what we profess to do and why art is important, but little evidence to show that what we say we do actually happens.

The article that Bunki outlined about medical students increasing observational skills through looking at art is what I'm talking about. This article says to me what I think we are not addressing in art ed.
I think after all the years of DBAE and Standards we still concentrate too much on skills and technique and not the content, contexts, and relevancy of an informed observation.

I don't know.
I'm not sure we can ever make art so "legitimate" that is survives budget cuts. I'm not sure we can ever make it so valued. The history of advocacy is getting old. I read the same things over and over again. Just how do we show the evidence ?
I would like to advocate that we stop trying to prove ourselves and actually prove ourselves. We need some serious study and data that shows we are achieving the Standards.

I think we have to look at the many ways that observational skills can be achieved and what those skills lead to as far as a connection to other ares. I think we have to look at the many ways to "experience " art and not just the skills/technique ways that dominate our plans. Are we willing to give up visual literacy to other disciplines?

I can't say how much I feel for long term teachers that are facing cuts. It is heartbreaking ..... and .... none of us should feel "safe' in our positions. The money is going to the test results that produce more money and there ain't none of that in art.

I'm so sorry Kathy, that you have to face this. I've experienced the feeling and it's more than depressing. No matter the reasons, you always feel personally inadequate. But Bunki's comments confirm that you are a great one and hopefully your opportunities will come.

One last word.
We are a community, we art teachers. We know what we do is good and worthwhile. It's very difficult to maintain a positive attitude when we always live under the shadow that we will be the first to go.... We work so hard with displays and shows and competitions and portfolios.... we make them "feel good" and we make their parents and community feel good... we knock ourselves out always trying to come up with new approaches to the "lesson" ... we accommodate more than any other discipline I know..... and yet we are the frill that is easily cut

something is not working So how do we fix it?

perplexed and avoiding the "have-tos" ---