The picture on the right was taken at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, VA, – a Kennedy Center Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) partner school following an education policy speech by President Obama on Monday, March 14.
Pictured are Americans for the Arts Senior Director for Federal Affairs & Arts Education Narric Rome, Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council Member and Executive Director of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education Lynne Kingsley, and Arts Education Partnership Senior Associate for Research & Policy Michael Sikes.
The President’s speech was the third in a set of education events to celebrate “Education Month at the White House.” He began the month at Miami’s Central High School and later visited the TechBoston Academy.
At the Kenmore visit, the President challenged Congress on the need to “fix No Child Left Behind.” Specifically, he said this:
“According to new estimates, under the system No Child Left Behind put in place, more than 80 percent of our schools may be labeled as failing – 80 percent of our schools. Four out of five schools will be labeled as failing. That’s an astonishing number. And our impulse is to either be outraged that the numbers are so high, or skeptical that they’re even true. And let’s face it, skepticism is somewhat justified. We know that four out of five schools in this country aren’t failing. So what we’re doing to measure success and failure is out of line.”
This quote is of great relevance to arts education.
We know that over the last nine years of No Child Left Behind, the emphasis on high-stakes testing has proved to be detrimental to the provision of arts education in public schools.
If Congress can shift the focus on achievement from primarily reading and math to include multiple measures of assessment, this would go a long way to allowing other core academic subjects, like the arts, to regain support in the classroom again.
Americans for the Arts, and the national co-sponsors of Arts Advocacy Day have prepared an issue brief that addresses the policy issues that should be addressed in the Congressional reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind).
When we take the issue brief to Congressional offices during Arts Advocacy Day, what other questions about arts education would you like us to ask your members of Congress and/or their education staff member?