My first blog entry was focused on suggesting that schools and communities need to develop parent leadership in schools to best capitalize on leveraging intent and desired action with regard to parent engagement, whatever that may be. So if it’s about supporting arts education programming within the school, laying that foundation of leadership, or identifying it prior to exploring or pushing new ideas, is a critical step.
Within the realm of what parents should “know” about the arts and arts education, the field has been working hard to build research that codifies and articulates what many have long known: that the arts are a powerful vehicle for reaching children, and the benefits can be wide in scope and significant in depth.
What I would point out to parents right now is some research that a colleague of mine working to support parent engagement in Nebraska has shared which I find especially compelling. It’s a meta-analysis by established researcher Robert Marzano that shows that school level and teacher level factors account for approximately 20 percent of the variance in student achievement. No one would dismiss the critical importance of that 20 percent, needless to say, and we have much work to do as a nation to address the inadequacies of the system. However, the other 80 percent, which is comprised of student characteristics, including home and community environment, learned intelligence/background knowledge and motivation, is no a small factor. Read the rest of this entry »