Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Budget Cuts and the Arts

This time I would like to talk about the recent budget cuts at UNL. While this may be not be directly about arts integration I still believe it has direct impact on my main topic. In the recent round of budget cuts a decision was made to cut K-12 arts education. What does it mean? It means that we will cease to prepare arts educators at the undergraduate level within the next few years.

I am sorry to see any program go, and even sorrier to see my good colleague Dr. Jean Detlefsen go, but in times of budget difficulty choices have to be made. The pattern, however, is familiar to K-12 environments- the arts goes out early with PE and other "nice but not necessary" subjects. I argue here as I did before the Academic Planning Committee, that the loss will impact our program beyond that of arts education. The disappearance of the program will lead to fewer graduate students in arts education decreasing our ability to teach art methods to all elementary teachers. In addition, this group of future arts educators interacted directly with future elementary teachers in our arts teaching methods course. But all of that will cease in less than two years.

So what now? As I am more prone to action than dwelling on things I cannot change I started working with colleagues on a new M.Ed. program that will focus on 21st century learning- marrying my care for elementary education and my interests in creativity arts integration and educational technology and media.

In some ways I am very excited about this new idea whose time has come...
Hopefully this idea can support the ongoing creation of diverse art teachers that would be able to combine art media and technology for the benefit of all students.
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