Thursday, March 29, 2012

We Will Treasure What We Can't Measure

We had an art show, despite the cuts to our arts programs, and despite short-sighted bad decisions by our school board, and despite test mania. Dr. Mayo, we WILL treasure what we can't measure on some dumb standardized test. (Dr. Mayo, our superintendent, said to me after a parent meeting, "don't treasure what you can't measure.")

The Muhlenberg Elementary Performing Arts Club put on a fantastic show as well. And the All City Orchestra and Band Show this past month was also a HUGE success. Children are so much more than test scores. The arts are essential to being human, so they should be essential to the school curriculum as well. Stop cutting our arts programs. Let kids
be kids, and let kids create. Show the

world what they can do, and celebrate their many talents!

Art work is by 4th and 5th grade students who participated in an after school art club taught by me. We learned about Henri Matisse, Faith Ringgold, Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as science and nature, architecture, abstract art, color, landscapes, and kids had a lot of fun socializing with friends.

Photos by Bill Villa. If you are on Facebook you can see more photos here:


Ezzie said...

What wonderful art work! How anyone can say the arts are not important is beyond me. I love the colors and can feel the enthusiasm that went into these projects. The children are lucky to have you!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks Ezzie!

Horace Mann said...

What a beautiful blogspot.

When I have people ask me, "What's wrong with schools today?" and I know they only want a short answer, I reply: "Teaching is an art more than it is a science. Politicians say it is a science because they cannot measure art, so they base everything on scientific data they can collect. Now, which do you think teaching is, an art, or science? Before you answer, ask yourself, do you trust politicians?"

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks Horace Mann. Teaching is definitely more of an art than a science. A teacher must have the freedom to teach to her strengths. I think it's important to adapt art lessons to the child. My lessons are always changing, depending on the kids. I have a general plan, but I like to roll with what the kids interests are, and abilities, and attention span, etc. Teachers need to have that freedom, to make sure all kids have the opportunity to be successful. It kills me that the current ed reform language is all about success for all kids, and being college ready,high standards, etc. and then the dumb scripted and standardized curriculum and schedule is so rigid that a teacher can't teach to her own strengths, making sure all kids are learning. Politicians and business CEO's should not be writing education policy. Businesses are about profit, teaching is about students. Teaching is also about social relationships, the classroom as a community. It's not about competition, and winners and losers. The kids are the "value-added."

Mrs. Dottie said...

Yesterday I went through a box in my attic. I saved everything my son did in Kindergarten, because I'm sentimental like that. The box is 90% worksheets. Worksheets at school, and worksheets every night for homework. I wonder what effect this has had on my child's brain. Luckily, I did art with him at home. When a child has to constantly look at images on worksheets, does that adversely effect his ability to use his imagination? I think there is an over reliance on worksheets by teachers. How can veteran teachers go along with this, and deprive young children of exploration, dress-up, and imaginative play time? I'm so sad. I'll be teaching art to Kindergarteners as an artist in residence next month. The teachers only wanted 5 sessions, not the 10 that our PTA was willing to fund, even though art has been cut from the curriculum. I don't get it.

Fellow Traveler said...

Inspiring. So amazingly glad you are "sticking it out," even though it is so difficult. It is a sobering time to be a parent in ASD!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Thanks fellow traveler! These are tough times and I worry every day about my son when I send him off to school. I subbed at Trexler middle school, for art, and was shocked that there were so many unruly students, and so much cursing and fighting. I worry a lot about safety, and I think that must be a priority in our district, along with a well rounded curriculum that engages and motivates all students. Students must come before test scores, and problems should not be swept under the rug. I am very disappointed in our school board for making short sighted and uninformed decisions about curriculum.