In my first post, I suggested we needed definitions of quality, engagement, and partnership. I offered my thoughts on these three issues and left a “tentative conclusion” saying we probably ought to decide whether we as a group want to deal with the three “topics” together, or separately.
The posts from the other bloggers do both and so I have decided it’s best to follow my own train and offer a short list of where I see the field still stuck for answers.
I have no idea whether or how this will clarify or motivate collaborative thinking among us (a disparate group with very different agendas), but here goes…
In random order, here are some of the issues that have stymied us for decades:
1. Without committed classroom teachers and specialist arts educators as well as principals and their assistants, we (arts organizations, artists, consultants, et al) have no solid validity as partners in the arts as education.
2. Without the district’s or state’s education office heavily engaged, represented and fiscally invested, we have no chance, whatsoever, to build a growing and sustained constituency for the arts as education.
3. Without strong leadership and some attempt at unity and dialogue among the schools and the arts and cultural organization, we will continue to face the rather vast chasm between them as “them” and “us.
4. It is critical for us to work together to reach out beyond the normal “barriers” and make allies with those organizations that deal with cradle to the grave issues so we can break out of our boxes and paint a bigger picture of our new directions.
5. The hope that “models” from the “pockets of excellence” in the field will emerge and conveniently help us “scale up” to country-wide stature has never worked; arts education does not scale up, and we must learn how to take the good and difficult lessons learned from our long experience and weave them together into a quilts of adaptable possibilities.
6. We must not shy away from the words “arts education” and substitute other “fad” language that ends up stuffing the “arts” and their contribution to general education under the pillow. We must somehow unite our overall goals and objectives without pandering to the latest flashy talk.
7. Finally, instead of shrinking back, worrying or complaining about all the challenges we have endured and still face, it is way past time for all of us to take a leadership stance, in our towns, cities, states, and school districts. I believe we can make efforts to bring people together to wrestle with these challenges and find a few strands that can perhaps grow into some kind of unity of thought, action, and valuable outcome.
I still hold to the banner from my JDR3rd Fund days: “all the arts for all the kids K–12” and now colleges, post-collegiates, seniors, and so on. We need national, state, local, and individual leadership, now!
What do you think?