Thursday, October 30, 2008

Around the Corner

I am sitting in Washington DC surrounded by leaders of arts education projects nation-wide. Seven years ago we all fitted around one long table in Charleston SC. It was a lot more intimate and in some ways more helpful. The question in my mind is whether it represents a true change in the direction for educational reform. ASCD started the Whole Child initiative and Hal talked about a shift in public opinion as part of his Imagine Nation report. Is this shift real? Or does it stay in this room? The realities that we see in schools are still far from this vision. They may be around the corner, and we who are very close to the wall with our eye on the classroom cannot see it coming. It could also be that we are simply “going to church” and dreaming of a better world, willing to suspend our belief until we go back to the challenging environments of schools and high stakes.
The only way to go and change is low stakes assessment of students and teachers- regardless of how much money or directives we can write. If we are to move in the direction of an Imagine Nation we need teachers ready to do that. Art education is rarely taught in teacher preparation program by full time faculty. Very few research universities have faculty researching Arts Education. So a shift to an Imagine Nation needs a shift in our teacher preparation programs- are we even close? I am eternally skeptical and would love to again be proven wrong.
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