There’s a lot of politicking going on in Washington around the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. President Obama met with the nation’s governor’s on Monday:
Recounting his visit to South Korea last year, Obama told the governors about a conversation in which he asked President Lee Myung-bak to name the biggest challenge he faces in education.
"And he said, 'My biggest issue, my toughest fight, is that Korean parents are too demanding. They want their kids to learn English in first grade, and so I've had to ship in a whole bunch of foreign-speaking teachers to meet the demand,'" Obama said of their conversation.
"They want their students learning everything -- math, science, foreign languages -- all as soon as possible," Obama said. "So that's what we're up against. That's what's at stake -- nothing less than our primacy in the world."
--Christi Parsons, The Los Angeles Times
February 22, 2010
So there we have it. That’s what’s at stake.
That’s what’s driving policy decisions and budget allocations.
That’s what we’re up against.
Our people are at the table. An arts legislative working group in which NAEA participates has drafted a position paper with requests for the next NCLB legislations. The positions are rock solid:
• The Arts Help Close the Achievement Gap
• The Arts Are a Core Academic Subject and Must Reach All Children
• The Retention of Arts Teachers is Crucial to Creating Powerful Learning Communities and Maximizing Student Achievement
• The U.S. Department of Education Must Include the Arts in All Research and Data Collection Regarding the “Core Academic Subjects.”
But somewhere between these valiant efforts to educate policy makers and the sound bites we hear on the 24/7 news cycle, our message is getting lost. Our kids are not going to be able to compete with their global peers if the arts are left out of their educational arsenal.
When my boys were little they collected super-hero action figures. I used to always say, “So where are the girls?” So my boys found and gave me the three women super heroes pictured below that I keep in my studio in Manhattan. I look to them for strength and inspiration any time I get discouraged about making sure more of our kids have the arts in their lives.
We all have more work to do!
So here are my super heroes to give you strength to get up and do what needs to be done!
Silver Surfer, She-Ra and Teela!
I have been honored to be the February 2010 Mentor of the Month and hope to see some of you in Baltimore in April! Thanks for all you do to provide high quality arts learning and fuel for future innovation, imagination and creativity.