<<<What should we ask the new president consider about visual art
It was in the last so-called "liberal" administration of Clinton
that The Culture Wars were at their height, with a call to
eliminate the National Endowment of the Arts, lots of censorship of
individual artists and exhibits and continuing challenges to the
First Amendment as it applied to freedom of speech, with art as
Things have not improved during the last 8 years, with cuts to art
education attributed to the unfunded mandates of NCLB. We are
seeing budgets squeezed and, as usual, art is considered "the
frill" to be first to go in favor of constant testing and test
This may be an indirect response...
I have small patience with think tank type policy papers...I think that
they often lack connection to the real world of classrooms and are
often ignored. But I was asked to speak at the Art Educators of New
Jersey fall conference on the 21st Century Skills initiative.
(http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/) I discovered that Iowa, Kansas,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, West
Virginia and Wisconsin have formed partnerships to improve teaching
with these skills.
This is not an art education initiative but the more I read about it,
the more I think it offers advocacy gold to art teachers. In addition
to information in the core subjects (which include the arts) this is
what they say should be the outcomes of education:
1. LEARNING AND INNOVATION SKILLS
Critical thinking and problem solving skills
Creativity and innovation skills
Communication and collaboration skills
2. INFORMATION, MEDIA and TECHNOLOGY
3. LIFE & CAREER SKILLS
Flexibility and Adaptability
Initiative and self-direction
Social and cross-cultural skills
Productivity and accountability
Leadership and responsibility
Sounds like what we see in quality art classes, doesn't it!
Now I would love to see the standardized high stakes paper/pencil test
that would cover those items. So it might be interesting to see if
your administration is informed or involved in this initiative.
Teaching for Artistic Behavior, Inc., of which I am a part, has an
outline of how student-centered art classes address these categories
for good outcomes. You can see this at