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Cuts in the arts (Long angst)


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 24 2003 - 14:40:08 PST

It's not only us
Apparently the cuts in the arts are universal

> Schools schedules sideline the arts
> Amelia Hill
> Sunday March 16, 2003
> The Observer
> Britain's creative future is under threat as teachers struggle to fit art
> subjects into a crowded national curriculum, according to a nationwide survey.
> More than 80 per cent of UK headteachers say they battle to find time to
> schedule arts lessons, while almost 90 per cent of teachers worry that the
> sidelining of arts is affecting their students' ability to think
> imaginatively.
> According to the survey of 695 primary, secondary and sixth-form teachers,
> two-thirds believe the reduction in arts teaching will be detrimental to the
> fabric of the country, resulting in a diminished creative industry and fewer
> artists.
> 'Creative industries are worth 67 billion a year to the economy and yet art
> teaching in schools is struggling,' said William Sieghart, co-founder of Big
> Arts Week, a charity which works to get more arts teaching into schools and
> commissioned the research.
> The survey also found that art and design teachers lack training and
> confidence in using modern technology and in selecting the best software to
> help their pupils. Only half of schools have access to technical assistance
> and only half of the art and design departments have direct access to the
> internet.
> Just 13 per cent of secondary schools allow every pupil to take art and design
> if they wish to do so, while class sizes for art and design are higher than
> the average for any other subject. More than a third of primary schools depend
> on being given free materials for their arts lessons, while just one in six
> has a specialist arts teacher. Many secondary schools, in addition, are forced
> to ask pupils to buy their own equipment
> 'Education has become more prescriptive in recent years, which can mean
> children not learning to think for themselves,' said Corinne Abisgold, an
> educational psychologist. 'If we want independent, creative thinkers, we have
> to give our children the opportunity to experiment with their minds.'

I'm doing an ed research paper on assessment in the arts and battling in my
own mind what it is we have to do to prove that what we do is valuable. This
weekend we had our district art show and the work, at all levels, is so
strong and sophisticated. Hundreds came to see the show and the pride was so
evident. Yet, so many of us struggle with cuts and the absence of
understanding that what we do promotes the best kind of thinking. I don't
need any more advocacy statements---- I need to feel that there is evidence
> give our children the opportunity to experiment with their minds.'

I'm wasting time because in 2 hours I will face my school board and try to
defend my budget for next year. This is always the worst day of my year----
'cause no matter what I say or present the attitude is always that art is a
place to cut. The evidence is ignored and I just don't know how to say to a
mindset that I (my department) may be only one that teaches creative
thinking and not measurable test responses.

The tragedy of cuts in the arts is so serious, yet we yelp the same old cry.
I want a new perspective. I can assess to the cognitive, but the affective
domain??????? Can anyone tell me how you truly assess creative thinking?
Can anyone tell me just how you show that the problems you present show more
than a regurgitation of "standard' responses?

with my stomach in knots, knowing that my board will question every penny I
want to spend and knowing they don't care about what I do......