Arts Education: Nothing Standard Here

After a recent successful community event, I was able to meet with different community business leaders, one of whom asked the ubiquitous question: How can we, as community leaders, help education? My answer likely surprised him when I said, “You can stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.” He looked at me somewhat stunned as I continued. “You can quit saying that you want us to produce problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and collaborative workers while also complaining about ‘school grades’ that are based on standardized tests that assess none of those things.” My point was simple: You need to demand better data. You need to critique the misuse of standardized test data.

The Art of Healing

There's no doubt that these last several months have left many of us with a sense of deep divide—both across the nation and within our local communities. There are many remedies for that and most of them have nothing to do with politics (or presidents). I need to be clear that my writing here is not meant to minimize these deep and abiding concerns, nor should these words be received as an overtly political text. Instead, I simply want to drill down into what I believe art—and specifically in this context, arts education—can teach us in these anxious (for some, though not all) times.

Back To School: Getting StARTed

Teachers the world over have an opportunity to embrace the freshness—the newness—of yet another school term. It’s a time of invigoration and inspiration as students prepare to enter classrooms ready to see old friends and meet new ones. It’s in this spirit that I remind each of us of the importance of arts education, as I believe it has the opportunity to be a salve for many of our society’s wounds. 

STE[A]Mrolled

"I used language because I wanted to offer content that people - not necessarily art people - could understand." - Jenny Holzer

Some years ago I took a trip to Lisbon, Portugal. And ignorantly (and perhaps, arrogantly), I assumed my knowledge of the Spanish language would suffice for me to be able to communicate with the Lisbonites. I soon grew frustrated at my inability to communicate with the locals and when asked to describe my experience with Portuguese, I later said it was like trying to speak Spanish using French. 

Language is important.

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