I've been with the development of KERA for its history and I can tell you
that kids are expected to test in humanities but do not get the services of
an art specialist in the elementary level on a full time basis.
In most cases an itinerant teacher hops from 3 or 4 schools each week in a
blitz which is still only getting most kids served 9 weeks of the year.
Teachers are burned out,
kids are disenchanted with ART by the time they get to Middle School because
what little services they did get were from a
fried art teacher a la cart. ( Of course, not all are this way, but I have
seen my share and while I can't blame them, the arts aren't getting a fair
chance with these children.
My heart aches for the kids-those kids still in the developmental stages of
perception, creativity and problem solving. My studies in education recently
have certainly affirmed that almost 85% of creative development is gelled by
age 8. Fact. And these kids are lucky to get "art cookies" thrown to them
once a week by their classroom teacher.
In the system where I teach, I see classroom teachers that are unprepared or
at least uncomfortable with having to integrate the arts into their
classrooms. (Of course there are some that do a great job too...) I see
faculty that presume a specialist will teach the7% of their total test
material in 30 minutes every other week.
Until we get full time elementary art specialists, funding for art supplies ,
training for our classroom teachers and a systemwide support for the
Humanities, we are not adequately funding the education we expect our
children to assimilate. (And provide at test time.)
I am so proud of what Kentucky has done for humanities in education. I just
want to see some financial support provided to make an impact where it can be
most advantageous for learning.
I have taught for 5 years in an elementary program through grant funding and
PTA support. My school has had top scores in our system and much higher than
state norms- and it's not because of me. It's just that the kids had a chance
to HEAR art and SEE art performed and Created and then Create it themselves.
The kids can DO this. We just have to give them a chance. Why can't every
elementary child learn about their world through the Humanities?