Hoggard has a plan for saving the arts/music–let’s test it

https://i0.wp.com/radio.weblogs.com/0128341/images/DAVID_CASUAL_1X2.JPG My friend in blog-ville, David Hoggard, has a unique plan for attempting to save arts/music in Guilford Co. Schools…let’s test the hell out of it.

Henceforth, his column in today’s News & Record:

Those who understand the adage “what gets measured, gets done” know instinctively why arts education is fast becoming a low priority in our public schools.

Our school board is in a head-to-head standoff with a group of people who understand and value the importance of providing all of our public school students with more and better arts education in Guilford County.

During meeting after meeting, local art advocates, loosely organized under the banner of Save GCS Arts, have filled the Board of Education’s “speakers from the floor” segments. Redundantly but importantly they are urging our elected representatives to, at a minimum, restore the amount of time and resources for arts instruction that was very quietly removed from our elementary and middle schools this academic year.

While it appears that a majority of our school board members are sympathetic, they insist they are just trying to do the best they can within the confines of budgetary and regulatory pressures. In other words, the money’s not there. But more to the point, all of those federally and state-mandated test scores must be considered, none of which tests students on eighth notes, complementary colors, pirouettes or their knowledge of how jazz originated.

The government doesn’t mandate tests that measure a student’s knowledge of the arts, so arts education is not getting done in the lower grades.

Our school board is quick to urge the throngs of art advocates to descend upon meetings of our county Board of Commissioners with their concerns. After all, they are the body holding the purse strings for funding such non-tested “frills” as arts education.

I agree that such a refocusing of efforts should occur. But over the long haul it won’t make much difference until North Carolina and the federal government decide that the thing to do is develop yet another test to make sure everyone is held accountable.

It is a sad state of affairs within public education when what we value is only that which can be regurgitated onto standardized tests, but that is where we are headed.

So it looks like the best long-term strategy to keep the arts in its rightful place in our schools is to test the hell out it.

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I feel confident that the arts/music cuts will be reversed, considering it WILL be a campaign issue in this year’s school board elections. But Hogg’s funny spin implies that if you can’t beat the pro-testing crowd at their own game, you might as well join them!

Heh…funny. You have to admit it’s a different spin.

Hogg’s companion blog posting on this found here. See this excerpt:

 …high-stakes, standardized testing is doing great harm to the quality of education in our public schools and I think the whole of NCLB and North Carolina’s ABC’s programs are in need of a complete overhaul.  I truly hate what these programs are doing to our schools in their present form. But, the reality of current testing-based trends in our schools is that we are moving toward teaching only that which can readily be measured by placing little black marks within the correct confines of little circles on slips of paper.  So, to save arts education in our elementary and middle schools we will probably have to destroy the very creativity that the arts should be fostering.

David, you couldn’t be more 100% correct.

E.C. 🙂

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3 Responses

  1. In truth, Erik, that really isn’t necessary. We should test students on the basics of education to ensure accountability of the schools system that students are getting an education. Test them on reading, writing, math, etc. Those are life skills that every student needs to survive and thrive in the world after school. As regards music, art, physical education, etc., those are subjects that broaden as people. In essence, they are what put fun into our lives, and we do not need to be “tested” in those areas. So, my point is test on the “hard” subjects, and let students have the “soft” subjects as enrichment.

    Having said that, I say just tell the feds “no” to the addictive funding habit. Let’s get our school system off the addiction. If we aren’t taking federal money, we can forget NCLB testing and teaching to the test. “Teaching to the test” and Unfunded Mandate” are the bad excuses for the failures of public education. Let’s have a school system funded solely on local funds, and Grier and company will be forced to show results. When teh money starts coming directly out of people’s pocketbooks, they will demand accountability.

  2. Drinking the “kool-aid” can be addictive.

  3. Just great stormy- Let us know how to make PARENTS accountable for sending their kids to school well rested, fed, behaved, and ready to learn.

    Whether you realize it or not, the above plays a BIG part in student achievement! Teachers can’t do it all.

    An accountability system where only SOME of the participants are held accountable is like a plane with one wing- it just won’t fly…..

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