The Arts in Education
NPR’s recent story about why arts in education matter (from 12/16/2015):
“Why arts education matters”- The Orange County Register
This article discusses how arts education can and does teach students a valuable and diverse skill set that will help them succeed!
“I was just accepted into MIT, and it’s due to being in Mr. Switzer’s film production classes,” she said.
She explained that even though she had excellent grades and that her experience in the arts demonstrated the diversity of her interests on her application, more importantly and unexpectedly, her four years of film production classes prepared her for her responses during the interview at MIT. Her answers to all the questions were based upon her experiences in her media arts/film classes.”- from the Orange County Register (09/09/2015)
“We can do better than one-size-fits-all education” -The Boston Globe
This article discusses how an individualized approach to learning can better prepare students for the real world and real careers!
“For centuries, we accepted the idea that there is only one way for students to learn — go to school, sit at a desk, be taught by a teacher, then be tested . . . and tested . . . and tested. We’ve operated schools in ways similar to factories since before the Industrial Revolution.” – from The Boston Globe (10/1/2015)
Small Class Size
“The 7 Myths of Class Size Reduction — And the Truth”- Huffington Post
“Many of the most celebrated charter schools that the corporate reformers celebrate cap class sizes at 18 or less, such as the high-performing Icahn charter schools in the Bronx and the Harlem Children’s Zone. Meanwhile, class sizes in our inner-city public schools continue to grow larger each year.” – from Huffington Post (11/01/2010)
Every Student Succeeds Act – Boston Herald
President Obama just signed it; Capital Innovations has been doing it for years!
Earlier this month, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to the 2001 No Child Left Behind law.
The new law gives the states much more latitude on setting goals, administering tests, and how to remedy failing schools. The question is where do we go from here? How do we judge success?…
First, let’s RETHINK ACCOUNTABILITY. When a school is working well, you can sense it within seconds of walking in the door. Rather than relying so heavily on standardized tests, schools should use QUALITATIVE ASSESSMENTS such as student surveys, classroom observations and the degree of parental and community involvement. To the extent that testing is used, TEACHERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN OF TESTS so that they measure the right things.
Second, let’s work to MAKE TEACHING THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS PROFESSION. We ask so much of teachers, and give them so little. A teacher’s median salary is only half that of a lawyer.
Third, let’s move toward decentralized and participatory models of school governance. The principal of Fraser Academy included the TEACHING STAFF in MAKING THE DECISIONS ABOUT THE SCHOOL. This promoted innovation and a culture of meritocracy among the teachers. Governments can set broad goals and should ensure equitable funding, but should not micromanage.
Finally, let’s revive civics. The original purpose of public schools was to TEACH YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE GOOD CITIZENS. Civics curricula should include projects that get students involved in problem solving in their communities. This sets in motion a virtuous cycle. Schools prepare each generation to do the hard work of educating the next.