TITLE: Hung up on Words
DATE: 8/31/2004 05:16:00 PM
I subscribe to more listserve’s and discussion forums than I really should.
I receive one for art educators, another for ceramists, two for the democratic party, two for republicans, still one more for readers of the arts section of the New York Times… Should I go on?
While I can’t read them all, I do have a habit of printing them out and placing them in the passenger seat of my car. I read them at extraordinarily long red lights. I read them when I am lucky enough to be a passenger in my own car on the way to dinner.
Yesterday while I waited for the red light at Northern and Falls Road (if you are from Baltimore, you know the light—slowww), I read the arts educator forum posts from last Friday. One particular woman was frustrated by her school administrators who wanted to cut back her program, shave her hours down, and rip away arts education support. Well, if you know me personally, you know I was alarmed.
This morning in my response post to this struggling art teacher, I provided her with two links to organizations that help to promote arts education and supporting research:
The Arts Education Partnership
Americans for the Arts
Then, also this morning, someone coincidentally placed a research study in my Inbox at work. (This is particularly strange because my job doesn’t connect to K-12 arts education and it’s odd that we would have such information lying around.) The study is the result of a partnership between the US Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arts Education Partnership and is entitled "Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development." (Wow, what a mouthful!)
Aside from the obvious, what is the one repeated theme throughout the study? There are no superlative arts education studies that have been released that definitively show that art education improves overall education.
Why is there no solid research to prove this? Because researchers can’t seem to arrive at one, clear definition of ‘art’ or ‘the arts’!
Don’t we all agree that arts education is crucial for children?
Don’t we all agree that theater, music, and visual art bring together lessons in history, math, and language classes?
Then why can’t we all just agree on a definition of ‘art’ and ‘craft’ and move on with it?