Thursday, December 23, 2010

Honoring Inspired Teaching

Dear NEA Fine Arts Caucus member:

In my public middle school in Queens, we had a chorus teacher who made that school a home for many, many kids, including me. This teacher, Mr. DiNapoli, took the chorus on trips to DC, bike trips around the city, attended our bar mitzvahs and confirmations, and ultimately served as a locus of community – not only leading the chorus with great skill, but teaching us about discipline and citizenship. I will be forever grateful for the world-class education I received in my neighborhood school through Mr. DiNapoli. It is impossible for me to imagine what school would have been like without him.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The following resolutions directly mention the arts, one of the arts or extra/co-curricular activities.  These should be read by members as we will continue editing and revising them.

A1--Public Education


The National Education Association believes that public educational opportunities for every American must be preserved and strengthened.

A-28. Funding for Extracurricular Programs

The National Education Association believes that every public school student must have an opportunity to participate in school-sanctioned and funded extracurricular programs.

The Association urges that equitable funds for transportation, facilities, equipment, and remuneration of staff be provided for all school-sanctioned extracurricular activities. Funding should be equitably distributed between athletic and nonathletic extracurricular activities. The Association also believes that extracurricular fundraising is not an acceptable substitute for district funding of extracurricular activities. (1975, 2001)

B-45. Fine Arts Education

The National Education Association believes that artistic expression is essential to an individual’s intellectual, aesthetic, and emotional development. The Association also believes that fine arts transcend cultural barriers, foster multicultural understanding, and enhance critical thinking skills. The Association therefore believes that

B-46. Physical Education

The National Education Association believes that physical activity and exercise are essential for good health and must be encouraged during the developmental years of students. The Association also believes that a comprehensive program of physical education should be provided daily in grades pre-k through adult in or

B-69. Discipline

The National Education Association believes that a safe and orderly environment in which students are treated with dignity will provide them with a positive learning experience. Effective disciplinary procedures enhance high expectations and quality instruction, thereby promoting self-control and responsible behavior in students while ensuring the right of all students to due process and an orderly learning environment.

C-17. School Facilities: Design, Construction, and Function

The National Education Association believes that school facilities must be conducive to teaching and learning. The physical environment must allow for a variety of needs, including the number of students, physical characteristics of students, changes in teaching methods, presentation of instruction, and an increased use of school facilities. The Association also believes that all school facilities must be well constructed, safe, energy-

C-39. Extracurricular Participation

The National Education Association believes that the successful completion of an academic program is the first priority for all students.
The Association also believes that all schools, colleges, universities, and parents/guardians must accept their educational responsibilities to student athletes and participants in other extracurricular activities. These students should not be exploited for economic and/or personal gain.

The Association further believes that there should be fair and equitable eligibility requirements for student participation and student progress should be monitored frequently. (1984, 2000)

D-6. Teacher Preparation Programs: Content and Evaluation

The National Education Association believes that teacher preparation programs must—

a. Involve practicing, licensed pre-K through adult education teachers in the design, implementation, evaluation, and systematic change of the program
b. Involve students preparing to teach in the evaluation and improvement of the program
c. Involve teacher educators who are licensed and practicing in their field of expertise and who also demonstrate practical knowledge of schools and classroom teaching

D-13. Supervision of Extracurricular Activities

The National Education Association believes that extracurricular activities are an important part of the public school experience. Education institutions should adopt policies, standards, and guidelines for staffing extracurricular activities and for hiring personnel who have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform those duties, and for providing staff members with appropriate ongoing training. Qualified education employees must be given the opportunity of first acceptance of paid positions. (1994, 1996)

F-7. Strikes

The National Education Association denounces the practice of keeping schools open during a strike.

The Association believes that when a picket line is established by the authorized bargaining unit, crossing it, whether physically or electronically, is strikebreaking and jeopardizes the welfare of education employees and the educational process.

F-8. Basic Contract Standards

The National Education Association believes that collective bargaining agreements between education employees, including part-time and temporary, and their employers should contain certain standard contractual concepts. The Association also believes that, in nonbargaining jurisdictions, these concepts should be incorporated into legislation, employer policy, and/or other sources that establish the terms and conditions of employment for education employees, including part-time and temporary. These concepts include—
a. A grievance procedure that terminates with final and binding arbitration
b. Just cause for any disciplinary action with guaranteed due process through final and binding arbitration and continuation of all employee rights, including full compensation and job security
c. A seniority list that is updated, published, and distributed annually

I-25. Freedom of Creative Expression

The National Education Association supports freedom of expression in the creative arts and therefore deplores any efforts by governments to suppress, directly or indirectly, such expression. The Association also supports the freedom of publicly funded agencies to exercise judgment in the awarding of grants to individuals and organizations. (1990)

I-62. Integration in the Public Schools

The National Education Association believes that it is imperative that full integration of the nation’s schools be effected.

The Association recognizes that acceptable integration plans will include affirmative action programs and a variety of devices, such as geographic realignment, pairing of schools, grade pairing, and satellite and magnet schools. Some arrangements may require busing of students in order to comply with established guidelines adhering to the letter and spirit of the law.

The Association urges its affiliates to encourage school boards to study and consider seriously the negative impact on minority students when schools located in minority neighborhoods are targeted for closing.

The Association will assist its affiliates to ensure that education employees, parents/guardians, and students are involved in the development of plans designed to achieve integration. The Association also believes that state and federal agencies should provide funds necessary to implement integration programs, including funds for student transportation. The Association also urges participation in citizen advisory committees—consisting of members designated by the local education association, parents, and representatives of community organizations, business, clergy, and media—that reflect the ethnic makeup of the community in developing, implementing, and evaluating student desegregation plans.

The Association further believes that integrated schools must provide students with equal access to all curricular and extracurricular programs and to technological equipment and knowledge.

The Association opposes any attempts to delay or impede implementation of desegregation orders and will, therefore, resist all efforts to resegregate integrated schools. The Association also opposes any governmental attempts to resegregate public schools through any means, including vouchers, charters, and other school-choice initiatives.

The Association will continue to oppose vigorously the systematic displacement or demotion of minority, especially Black, teachers and administrators to achieve integration. The Association further opposes actions of boards of education to finance integration plans through reduction of school staff. In addition, the Association will oppose the capricious reassignment and displacement of Hispanic teachers and administrators because of desegregation and bilingual programs. (1969, 2004)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Arts Education Advocacy Groups--NEA Fine Arts Task Force

Below is a list of organizations that actively participate in AEP's Forums.
(**Indicates NEA’s current partners)

Afterschool Alliance: The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for quality, affordable programs for all children. Alliance vision of ensuring that all children have access to afterschool programs by 2010.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stamford schools commemorate World AIDS Day

STAMFORD -- Stamford Public School students are learning about AIDS prevention this week as the community commemorates the 22nd annual World AIDS Day Wednesday.

The Stop AIDS Mobile Theatre, a traveling theater group that performs short skits designed to educate student, is making stops at each of Stamford's three high schools and three middle schools this week.

"They basically use humor, even though it's such a serious topic, because they have found that helps to connect to students," said Debra Katz, director of HIV programs for the city's health department. "It opens them up to hearing the information and learning."

Calendar of National Art Events/Touchpoints

September 12-18, 2010 – National Arts in Education Week was created by resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives in July. And this opportunity for advocacy is heightened by the fact that the week coincides with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's "Courage in the Classroom" Back to School tour, which is broadly themed around education as a civil right. (retrieved from MENC’s site)

Current NEA Programs, Initiatives and Resources for the Task Force

Please find listed current NEA Programs and Initiatives that the Task Force could possibly "partner" with to elevate Arts Advocacy.

NEA’s Priority Schools Strategic Goal and Campaign – Advocacy Campaign
NEA’s Advocacy Core Service and Campaigns and Elections Department – Advocacy Campaign Activities
NEA’s Student Learning Core Service – Achievement Gaps Advocacy
NEA’s Partnership Core Service – Minority Community Outreach Partnership Advocacy Activities
NEA Academy – Promotional Purposes
NEA’s 21st Century Skills Initiative – Advocacy Campaign Activities
NEA’s ESEA Campaign – Advocacy Campaign Activities Development
NEA’s Interactive Media Department – Advertising in NEA Publication/Website
NEA Research Department – Research Support
NEA’s Family School Community and Public Engagement Project – Advocacy Campaign Activities
NEA’s Quality School Programs and Resources – Advocacy Campaign Activities

New Business Item #52, An Analysis from the NEA Fine Arts Task Force

NBI 52

NEA, through UniServ and local presidents and state and national professional fine arts education associations, will contact and conduct an e-survey of its fine arts teachers. The purpose of this e-survey will be to identify changes in staffing, work conditions, and budgetary considerations for fine arts programs in districts over the past three years. NEA will report the results of the e-survey through standard means available to the NEA.

In response to NBI 52, an e-survey was sent to 6,000 teachers identified as fine arts teachers. The survey was open for 10 days and 3 reminders were sent. The final number of eligible completes was 382. Of the eligible completed surveys 206 identified themselves as music teachers and 168 identified themselves as arts teachers, while 8 indicated some other form of fine arts. The demographics of the respondents were 80% female and 20% male; 56% were over the age of 45; 87% were Caucasian; median number years of teaching was 19.6; 54% taught in elementary schools, 27% taught in middle or junior high schools; and 19% in high schools; 44% of the respondents hold Bachelor’s Degrees, 53% hold a Master’s Degree or higher, and 3% have some other form of education.

Respondents noted that there has been a decrease in staffing and funding for fine arts education over the past three years. 36% reported a drop in staffing in their district over the past three years, while a majority reported that the level of staffing has remained the same. While the amount of staffing has remained fairly constant, the amount of funding for the fine arts programs in schools has dropped. The area that has seen the most noticeable decrease has been in after-school programs. Almost all (93%) of fine arts teachers reported that they either needed to start or continue fundraising programs in order to help offset the costs of additional programs.

Despite the decrease in staffing and funding, the respondents are, overall, satisfied with their working conditions. Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents said that they will remain a teacher until they are either eligible for retirement or are forced to retire. A majority (63%) of teachers say that if they could do it over again, they would still become a teacher. Almost all teachers (95%) believe that they are making a difference in their students’ lives.

While it seems there is high morale for the teaching aspect of their jobs, when it comes to the administration, there is some animosity. Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents feel that there is no feeling of mutual respects between teachers and administrators in their school; while 68% feel that administrators don’t support teachers when they are having problems with their teaching. Teachers would like to see more formal recognition or receive the recognition that they deserve with 87% responding that there is little to no formal recognition for a job well done or that they receive the recognition that they deserve.
The following table shows the number of members identified as active professionals and whose subject code was identified as Art (ARTS), Music (MUSI) or Band/Orchestra (BDOR) in the NEA Interactive Membership System listed by state association for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 school years.

An excerpt of “Cultural Responsiveness, Racial Identity, and Academic Success”, Mary Stone Hanley and George W. Noblit (pgs. 65-71)

Although the larger study focused primarily on African Americans the prevailing themes have broader implications. Specifically in the aforementioned excerpts the study demonstrates the power the arts have to frame cultural and self-identity and how this ultimately leads to academic achievement. The findings are based on the belief that America’s urban schools must employ a child’s culture so that the child might be motivated to learn in the face of significant adversity (i.e. conditions surrounding Priority Schools).

The Transformative Power of Arts in Closing the Achievement Gap

“The Transformative Power of the Arts in Closing the Achievement Gap” by Fred Dobb (as part of the California County Superintendents Educational Service Association Arts Initiative)
This study focused on the transformative power of the visual and performing arts to spark and maintain student engagement and academic achievement, and promote 21st century success (21st century skills) in and out of school. The study provides evidence that the power of the arts is most striking in the lives of youth who have been marginalized in society because of poverty, crime, immigrant status, special education placement, limited English skills, and racial discrimination (conditions mostly associated with Priority Schools), and in schools by traditional curriculum and instructional practices, narrowly focused standardized assessments (perhaps an argument in support of ESEA reauthorization), and institutional biases.

Access to Arts Education.

General Accountability Office, February 2009. The study researched the difference in arts education between school years 2004-2005 and 2006-2007

About 90% of teachers reported no difference in the amount of instruction time for arts education between the 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 school years. There was no reporting difference based on a range of school characteristics. The 90% of teachers reporting no difference in the amount of instruction time for arts education is different than the 30% of school officials reporting that instruction time for arts education in elementary schools has decreased since NCLB was enacted.

No Child Left Behind: A Study of Its Impact on Arts Education

Data collected at the end of 2008. Sponsored by the National Art Education Foundation.

This study focused on the visual arts and did not include music educators.

Effective Advocacy: Guidelines for the NEA Fine Arts Task Force

1. Conducting Advocacy Research
A. Gather initial information about a social problem or issue. This includes beginning research to understand the problem. (A Declining Focus on the Arts in our schools)

B. Define the problem. Three step process: 1) Become aware of the issue, 2) Refine the problem within the small group/organizational context, 3) Determine problem priorities.

2. Design the Advocacy Campaign

A. Recognizing the campaign’s outlet (How will the campaign be disseminated?)—Via NEA Today and affiliates

B. Determining the systemic changes (i.e., new or modified programs, policies, and practices) the group hopes to bring about. [Include the specific changes (e.g., arts-infused curriculums) sought by the Advocacy Campaign].

C. The action steps required (Who will do what by when to bring about the specific changes to be sought)

3. Identify Resources and Assets

A. The number and kind of people who are available and committed (Identifying partners; groups or individuals w/ a shared vision)

B. The financial resources available

C. The communication technologies, facilities, and other material resources available

D. The information and ideas that could be helpful

E. Other assets that can be used to support the effort

4. Indicate Potential Allies and Opponents

A. Identify likely allies and how they will support the effort

B. Identify likely opponents and how they might resist or oppose the effort
(1) State the likely purposes of the opposition
(2) Outline tactics that may be used by the opposition
(3) Indicate how the opposition can be countered

5. Identify Targets and Agents of Change

A. Describe the targets of change in light of anticipated allies and opponents (i.e., those whose behavior should change). Indicate how conditions should be changed to affect their behavior.

B. Describe agents of change (i.e., those who can contribute). Indicate how conditions should be changed to support their engagement in the effort.

6. State the Strategies and Tactics of the Campaign

A. Identify those strategies that will be used. Based on the particular situation

B. State the specific strategic goals and tactics that will be used.

C. Review the effectiveness of the planned strategies/tactics
(1) Are available resources and allies being optimized (i.e., Does it take advantage of the group's strengths? Engage its allies? Deter opponents?)
(2) Is the campaign flexible (i.e., Does it permit adjustments with changing situations)
(3) Is it likely to work (i.e., Does it bring about the desired effect with the issue and with opponents?)

7. Describe the evaluation of the Advocacy Campaign

A. Clearly state what indicators will signify "success" (e.g., in bringing about systemic changes in school curriculums).

B. Describe how measures of success can be obtained (e.g., commissioning new studies/research and comparing with existing data).

C. Indicate how the initiative will make sense of the results (e.g., how data will be analyzed; how those affected will be involved in interpreting the information).

D. Describe how the information will be used to improve the effort (e.g., feedback will be provided to leadership and membership)

8. Implement the Advocacy Campaign!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kids Learn How to Make Music without Instruments

By Lisa Schencker
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published Nov 26 2010 11:43PM
Updated Nov 29, 2010 10:55PM

In less than five minutes, 13-year-old Destiny Sivels produced a techno song, complete with a staccato beat, snare loop, synthesized bass and male vocals exclaiming in a high voice, “I hear destiny calling me.”

She had no instruments, no experience and is not a musical prodigy. She’s just a seventh-grader who took a music creation and production class at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City.

“It’s really easy,” Sivels said, removing her padded headphones. “I thought of it because my name is Destiny.”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What the Election Results Mean for the Arts

Most of the nation has happily put the elections behind them and are looking forward to the holidays but here at the Arts Action Fund we wanted to take a few moments to explain what the elections mean for the arts and arts education.

There will be more than 100 freshmen entering Congress this year – 16 new Senators and 94 new Representatives. This new group entering the House of Representatives means the House will switch from a Democratic majority to a Republican majority. Why does this matter for the arts? Well, it means that

Monday, November 22, 2010

VISTA: Teachers look for ways to pay for music classes

Educators hope to raise $400,000 to keep program going

A group of music teachers in the Vista Unified School District is working to raise money so it can save music classes at the district's 17 elementary schools.

The school board voted in March to cancel the program at the end of the school year if no additional funding could be found..

The seven teachers must raise about $400,000 to pay for their salaries and benefits next year so the program can continue, said Susan Stuber, one of the teachers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Agenda 11/21/2010

7:00 PM CST * 5:00 PST * 8:00 EST
Conference Dial-in Number: 605.475.4000
Participant Access Code: 604735#
During the call: *3 Exit the call; *4 Conference call instructions; *6 Mute/Unmute

I. Roll Call
II. Adoption/modification of Agenda
III. Approval of 10/24/2010 Minutes

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Minutes 11/21/2010

Meeting was called to order at 5:14 PST by Vice Chair, Debbie Turici

Executive Board Members present: Tom McLaughlin, IA, Debbie Turicci., PA, Oscar Forsman, IL, Kathi Zamora, NV,  Dan, Caruso, PA, Pam Gibberman, CA

Committee Members present: Rich Nicklay, IA, Charlie Fry, PA, Joe Barell, CA

Absent: Sue Lemmo, CT, Robert Lague, MA, Jack Rowe IN

Oscar moved to approve the agenda, Dan seconded. Motion carried.

Charlie moved, Dan seconded to approve the minutes for 24 October 2010. Motion carried.

There were no NEAFAC updates presented.

Moderated by Nicklay and Fry

Discussion about how to clarify terms, “annual meeting” and “meetings”. It was decided when the changes are proposed at the RA, the proposed clarification can be presented and voted upon. The proposed language would be “annual meeting” to mean the RA and caucus meeting would be called sessions, not meeting.

There was discussion concerning annual audit. The language would be placed in article 2. The audit will be completed prior to the annual meeting. It was decided that the audit will be done by 3 caucus member whot are not officers. They should be NEAFC members who are present at the RA. It is preferred that the report be presented to the officers in March or April. It will be presented no later than the first meeting at RA.

Procedures and duties for officers will be clarified.

VI. Logo Contest

Turricci lead the lengthy discussion.  There were several discussions that took place and the decisions are as follows:

• It will be announced in the newsletter
• It is open to members only, in good standing
• Can be submitted as a hard copy or electronically\
• The winning logo will become the property of the NEAFAC
• The design should included the current NEA logo, fine arts caucus and graphics respresenting the fine arts
• The prize will be $100
• The deadline for submission is 1 March 2011

Debbie will chair the judging panel.

Pam moved and Kathi seconded approval of the prize. Motion carried unanimously.

VIII.  NEA Performing Arts Task Force

McLaughlin reported on the work done in planning for the December 8, 2010 meeting.  A great body of research has been used to help the Task Force design its meeting and agenda.  The committee of five will meet twice but will work with each other frequently between the meetings so that the group can accomplish its lofty goal.
IX.  NEAFAC Endorsement Process

Discussion was held concerning the questions that will be asked candidates that wish to earn the endorsement of the FAC. The information discussed was from Deb’s document. Some concern was expressed about breaking down some of the questions into too fine an area, and perhaps looking splintered. Also, be sure to include what are you going to do about some of the fine arts educators concerns. Emphasize the partnership of arts and education. It was decided to finalize the questions during the December meeting.

X.  Resolutions and NBI’s

McLaughlin, Gibberman and Turricci each have one NBI for the next RA.

XI.  NEAFAC Regional Conference Agendas

Lemmo and Turricci will attend Northeast Regional.  We will have a caucus at that conference.
Gibberman or Bartell will attend Western Regional.  We will have a caucus at that conference.
McLaughlin will attend Midwest Regional.  We will have a caucus at that conference.
Meeting adjourned at 7:40 PST

Respectfully submitted,
Kathi Zamora
NEA FAC Secretary

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEA Fine Arts Task Force--Proposed NEA Fine Arts Task Force Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Conference Call 5:00-6:00 Eastern Standard Time

Committee Members: Princess Moss, Co-Chair; Greg Johnson, Co-Chair; Andrew Corbin, Committee Member (NC);Tom McLaughlin, Committee Member (IA); Jennifer Roberts, Committee Member (SD).

Staff Liaisons: Derrick Johnson, NEA Governance & Policy, Christopher Thomas, NEA Governance & Policy


I. Call to Order

II. Welcome/ Introductions

III. Reviewing the NBI charge
     a) Specifying President Van Roekel’s deadline
     b) Specifying the Cost
     c) Clarifying the scope of the charge

IV. Data review and discussion (see below for these studies)
     a) Results of E-Survey (NBI 52)
     b) Other Studies
           i) No Child Left Behind: A Study of Its Impact on Arts
                       Education by F. Robert Sabol
           ii) Access to Arts Education by General Accountability
                        Office, February 2009
           iii) The Transformative Power of Arts in Closing the
                        Achievement Gap by Fred Dobb
           iv) Cultural Responsiveness, Racial Identity, and
                        Academic Success by Mary Stone Hanley and
                        George W. Noblit (pgs. 65-71)

V. Discussion
     a) Implementation plan
     b) Implementation timeline
     c) Evaluation of implementation

VI. Next Steps

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Do the Election Results Mean for the Public Education and the Arts

The 2010 elections featured 37 Governors races, 37 U.S. Senate contests, 435 U.S. House races, dozens of ballot measures and initiatives, 6,118 state legislative seats in 46 states and myriad local elections across the country. As of this writing, Republicans have picked up at least 60 seats in the House. Republicans also picked up significant seats in the U.S. Senate, but Democrats still have enough seats to control the chamber. There are several races too close to call/likely recounts in both the House and Senate, thus, the ultimate makeup of the 112th Congress will not be known for several more weeks.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NEA FAC AGENDA 10/24/2010

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Agenda
Sunday, October 24, 2010
7:00 PM CST * 5:00 PST * 8:00 EST
Conference Dial-in Number: 605.475.4000
Participant Access Code: 604735#
During the call: *3 Exit the call; *4 Conference call instructions; *6 Mute/Unmute
I.          Roll Call

II.        Adoption/modification of Agenda
III.       Approval of 9/19/2010 Minutes
IV.       Constitution & Bylaws Revisions Session 2 (see Rich Nicklay’s email)
V.        NEA FAC Scholarship Update
VI.        Logo design contest (Reassigning Criteria Setting)
VII.      November Newsletter
VIII.     NEA Fine Arts Task Force
IX.       Interview Questions for Candidates
X.        Issues/NBI’s for RA 2011
XI.       NEA FAC Regional Conferences
XII.      NEA Fine Arts Caucus Survey
XI.       Adjournment

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities

In case you missed this--In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month, visual artist Chuck Close, ballet dancer Damian Woetzel, and committee co-chairs Margo Lion and George Stevens, Jr. discuss arts and humanities education and the arts. October 19, 2010.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leadership in Arts Education

LeaderTalk Contributor on September 29, 2010 10:09 AM

October is National Arts & Humanities Month. With the push in our country for greater accountability (i.e. higher test scores) and an emphasis on STEM education, too frequently the arts get short shrift. At best, they suffer from reduced funding for supplies and materials. At worst, they are cut completely from our schools.

City High principal asks for more money for performing arts


City High Principal John Bacon spoke at Tuesday's School Board meeting about City High's performing-arts expansion project, saying the current budget of $4.5 million would meet the needs of current students but not the needs in the coming years.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Students: Danza made the grade as English teacher


•Originally published September 28, 2010 at 9:36 a.m., updated September 28, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - When former sitcom star Tony Danza began teaching English at a Philadelphia high school, no one really knew what to expect. Not even Tony Danza.

Certainly school officials were holding their breath after the district greenlighted "Teach," an A&E reality show premiering Friday that chronicles Danza's year at the head of a class.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


NEA Fine Arts Caucus Agenda
Sunday, September 19, 2010
7:30 PM CST * 5:30 PST * 8:30 EST
Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 477-2100
Participant Access Code: 604735#
During the call: *3 Exit the call; *4 Conference call instructions; *6 Mute/Unmute
I.          Roll Call

Tom McLaughlin,
Debbie Turici, Rich Nicklay, Joe Bartell, Charlie Fry—in and outOscar Forsman, Dan  Caruso, Kathi Zamora, Bob Lague, Pam Gibberman, Joe Bartell
Jack Rowe, Sue Lemmo, Steve Dinneno

II.        Adoption/modification of Agenda

Moved Forsman, Seconded by Lague—Motion passed unanimously.
III.       Approval of 8.22.2010 Minutes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NEA FAC AGENDA 9/19/2010

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Agenda
Sunday, September 19, 2010
7:30 PM CST * 5:30 PST * 8:30 EST
Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 477-2100
Participant Access Code: 604735#
During the call: *3 Exit the call; *4 Conference call instructions; *6 Mute/Unmute
I.          Roll Call

II.        Adoption/modification of Agenda
III.       Approval of 8.22.2010 Minutes
IV.       Constitution & Bylaws Revisions Session 1 (see Rich Nicklay’s comments, suggestions and questions in email sent Friday)
V.        NEA FAC Scholarship (Bob Lague)
VI.        Logo design contest (Jack Rowe to report on proposed criteria),
VII.      October Newsletter & Submissions
VIII.    Update on internal and external communications and minimum responsibility of our board.
IX.       NEA FAC Scholarship
X.        Issues for RA 2011
XI.       Adjournment

Monday, August 30, 2010

Incredible Arts Advocacy & Resources Site

This is a wonderful site full of lesson plans, advocacy tools, communities, links to blogs, links for professional development and so much more.

Former Arts Endowment Official Takes Arts Ed Advocates To Task

In the new edition of Education Next, Mark Bauerlein takes a dim view of the nature of arts education advocacy and offers a prescription for improvement, namely a focus on arts as a discrete discipline and a more entrepreneurial approach overall.

Click on through to read Advocating for Arts in the Classroom

EdTA to form advocacy task force

The Educational Theatre Association has begun accepting applications from its members to serve on the newly forming EdTA Advocacy Task Force. The mission of the group is to promote the interests of the organization and the field on national, state, and local issues that impact K-12 theatre education. The task force will include one representative from each of EdTA’s four regions, an at-large representative, the executive director, and the EdTA director of educational policy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Path to Innovation: Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) Integration (5 of 5)

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. It is the fifth in a five-part series on the convergence of STEM education and the Arts (TEAMS).

The mandate of the 21st century and what everyone in the STEM game is pursuing is the capacity for "knowledge innovation." According to Debra Amidon, the mother of the knowledge economy, “Knowledge innovation is the creative process that delivers new knowledge, intellectual property and ultimately adaptation and survival.” (Debra Amidon, July 28, 2010, Email Interview)
In the context of our schools and communities knowledge innovation questions include: What is innovation? Can we teach innovation? Can one learn to innovate? How do we do innovation? Can we create innovative schools, organizations and businesses?

The STEM Push

In 2010, national organizations that traditionally serve America’s schools with educational technology, professional development and instructional programs are asserting their leadership on STEM. In October 2010: (1) The National School Board Association's Technology and Learning Conference in Arizona will focus on STEM. (2) In Florida, the League for Innovation in the Community College will launch STEMtech, and (3) The National Career Pathway Network (NCPN) will hold its 19th annual meeting dedicated to the vocations of STEM and the arts.
Other recent examples of this focus include the July 2010 STEM Florida hosted its first annual conference. Texas, California, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts and Minnesota among virtually all states are underway with similar efforts. In all, the arts are budding but not significantly part of the STEM innovation agenda in the US—while some Nordic countries, parts of Asia and some Latin American countries are developing “innovation economy” strategies linking STEM, arts, design and culture.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Fine Arts Caucus
Conference Call
22 August 2010

Members present:
Tom McLaughlin, Debbie Turici, Rich Nicklay, Joe Bartell, Charlie Fry, Oscar Forsman
Dan  Caruso, Sue Lemmo, Kathi Zamora

Meeting was called to order at 7:30 CST by Tom McLaughlin, Chair.

Agenda:  Approval of the meeting agenda was moved by Kathi Z., seconded by Oscar.  Motion carried.

Minutes:  Approval of the minutes of the July 26, 2010 meeting  was moved by Dan and seconded by Joe.  Motion carried.

Logo Design Contest:  Discussion was postponed due to the fact that Jack R. was not in attendance.  He is working on the proposals for this contest.

Constitution and By-Laws:  Rich and Charlie reported that thus far they have been looking over the old and new documents.  They are comparing them.  Several questions were raised such as if there is a timeline to finish this work.   It was decided that Charlie and Rich will use email to work on the bylaws.  The revised sections will be sent to us ahead of each call for discussion.  It was suggested that an attorney might be consulted to be sure that the revised document is in line with NEA. 

The completed tentative revised bylaws and constitution will be sent out prior to the next representative assembly to all members.  The document will be voted on at the next RA, in 2011.

Survey:  Rich and Oscar revised the proposed member survey proposed by Tom.  It now consists of seven questions, and attempts were made to make it more streamlined.  The revised survey was sent out for review during the call, but since some members were having difficulty accessing it, Oscar read it aloud. 

Debbie T. suggested that the names of the national organizations should be spelled out for clarity.

Oscar suggested that they survey should go out in October, and should perhaps be finalized in mid September. 

I was also suggested that the officers and steering committee call members personally to encourage participation in the survey.

Incentives were discussed.  The idea is to award three prizes to encourage participation.  It was decided to award $20 for first, $10 for second, and a fine arts caucus t-shirt for third. 
Debbie T. moved and Sue L. seconded that we should proceed with the incentives.  Motion carried.

Scholarship:  There have been two applications received to date.  Bob is chair of this committee.  As he was not present, there was no report at this time.

State Caucus Update: 
California:  Pam and Joe are working to get a caucus revived, up and running.

Iowa:  Rich reported that at the Iowa Summer State Conference, that the Iowa State Fine Arts Caucus had 56 members sign up.  Twenty of those members also are national members.  He said that several reasons contributed to their success.  They had some time to meet during the conference.  And, they offered food and refreshments…a bribe.  They also sold fifteen t-shirts.

Nevada:  Not a lot of progress as yet.  Kathi has talked to the state president.  She is to send Kathi the information about how the state organizes the caucuses.  The Nevada State delegate assembly is held in the spring, and typically has about thirty minutes available for meeting. 

Illinois:  Oscar shared that not a lot of progress at this point.  More will happen at their state delegate meeting which is also held in the spring.
Pennsylvania:  Debbie updated that 500 letters were sent out to the state and local superintendents regarding the NBI from RA. 

At their summer leadership, there were 1400 in attendance.  They had a 40 minute time slot for meeting, two people showed up.

They are considering doing an arts competition with the theme of the “Fabric of Unionism”.   It would be K-12, and go with a study of the history of labor.  The works would be displayed at the state art education meeting in December.  \Also, at this meeting, a table with information about the NEAFAC could be distributed.  However, there is a $300.00 table fee.

National:  Princess Moss, Dennis VonRoekel, Lily Eskelson, Greg Johnson and Dave Sanchez have joined the NEAFAC.

At this time, there are twenty members on the listserve.

We still have the Yahoo group. 

Tom reminded that all of could and should be authors in the blog.

It was again mentioned to call people personally to invite them to join the blog and group.

Adjournment:  It was moved by Dan C., and seconded by Debbie T. to adjourn.  Motion carried.  Meeting was adjourned at 8:47 CST.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kathi Zamora
NEAFAC Secretary

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Congress Creates Arts in Education Week

Late in July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 275, legislation designating the second week of September as "Arts in Education Week." Authored and introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), this resolution is the first Congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education.


KEEP ARTS IN OUR SCHOOLS, A GREAT NEA FAC PARTNER that you might want to explore.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Case Study: TEAMS Model School - Clark STEM Magnet in Glendale, CA (Part 3 of 5)

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. It is the third in a five-part series on the convergence of STEM education and the Arts (TEAMS).

In the sleepy hills of Glendale California, near the LA Zoo, is a pioneering high school challenging everything we know and accept about the American high school experience. The school is Clark Magnet School, home of the Panthers. Clark's next goal is to be the first high school to launch a functioning satellite into orbit. The school's aspiration is to participate in the U.S. Air Force Academy's initiative to enable students to "learn space by doing space."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Walnut music programs to return, thanks to anonymous donor

Big Walnut music programs to return, thanks to anonymous donor

Music will be back at Big Walnut's three elementary schools this fall, after an anonymous donor cut a $400,000 check to save the scrapped program.

Two levy attempts failed by close margins last school year, requiring the eastern Delaware County district to drastically cut its budget, including the loss of 40 staff members, an elementary school and all of the arts programs for the 1,400 students in the youngest grades About 3,000 students attend Big Walnut schools all together.

tr read the rest of the story, click on the title.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


GREAT NEWS!  We won!  I just received an email from Dennis Van Roekel and the Jobs Bill passed.  Thanks to everyone of you who helped us win for students, teachers, schools and our country.  Here's the scoop from Dennis.

Dear Delegates,

You did it! Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $10 billion in education jobs funding that the U.S. Department of Education estimates will save 161,000 jobs in public schools across the country.

This funding, which was approved by the Senate last week, will be signed into law by Pres. Obama, and will help many schools throughout the country decrease class sizes and restore critical programs our students need to be successful.

Dennis to Delegates D2D Discussion Thread on Caucus Work and Motions to Refer at the RA


"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."
Dennis Van Roekel 2010 Midwest Regional Conference

If you haven't joined Dennis to Delegates (D2D), you should.  It's a site that Dennis developed to stay connected to RA delegates throughout the year.  I recently posted looking to make some contacts for state caucus building for the NEA Fine Arts Caucus.  We know that Dennis reads these posts.  So, some of our concerns will be brought to his attention through the site.  The conversation ended up evolving.  Some interesting discussion has taken place about our caucus and the effort to "batch refer" items and not allow speakers or caucuses to address their concerns.  Check it out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Arts in America from the July 4, 2010 RA Celebration

Music educator Princess Moss made the Fine Arts Caucus proud in her portion of the July 4, 2010 Independence Day Celebration.  At the request of many members, we include this for your use.

In the long history of man, countless empires and nations have come and gone. Those which created no lasting works of art are reduced today to short footnotes in history's catalogue.

Art is a nation's most precious heritage, for it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.

This new bill creating the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities gives us the power to turn some of those dreams and ideas into reality. We would not have this bill but for the hard and thorough and dedicated work of some of our great legislators in both houses of the Congress. These men and women have worked long and hard and effectively to give us this bill.

The TEAMS Model: Unifying Arts, Academics, and Career and Technical Education (Part 2 of 5)

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. It is the second in a five-part series on the convergence of STEM education and the Arts (TEAMS).

TEAMS in Florida

"We are witnessing a new Renaissance," Bob explains, "where TEAMS work and disciplines are the key to Florida's creative enterprise from film to educational technology to medicine." On Friday, June 18, 2010, Bob Allen spoke to the Florida Association of Arts Education (FAAE) about the importance of integrating technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and science (TEAMS). To Bob, integration of STEM and the arts is a no brainer. Bob is the chief storytelling officer of IDEAS, an innovation studio that was spun out of Disney in Orlando.

Florida is a critical state in terms of TEAMS-based education because cultural and technical arts industries accounted for $28 billion dollars in revenue in 2007 with forecasted job growth exceeding biomedical and defense (as a percentage) between 2008 and 2018 (Harper, 2008). The arts are also viewed systemically in Florida across many STEM high technology industries.

TEAMS programs underway in Florida include: (1) the Florida High Tech Corridor Council techPATH program, (2) the Orlando Science Center's Otronicon video game initiative, (3) University of Central Florida's Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) and (4) coordination across Career and Technical Education (CTE) industry advisory boards for STEM, Information Technology (IT) and Arts, A/V Technology and Communications (ARTS).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

House to Return to Vote on Edujobs

House to Return to Vote on Edujobs

This could mean a great deal to Arts programs, students and our colleagues around the nation.

We need everyone in our caucus to uses NEA's Cap Wiz to see that this gets passed. Current responses and calls are needed to let our elected officials know that we are watching them and what they do for our schools and the arts.

Possible Bulletin Board Piece

Double click on the image.  Might be a great piece to include on a bulletin board, in a newsletter or in your signature line.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summary of ESEA Reauthorization Meeting on Arts Education

On January 20, 2010, the United States Department of Education (ED) held a meeting for arts stakeholders to hear comments and suggestions regarding arts education and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The meeting was hosted by Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Carmel Martin, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, and other senior ED staff. Over 60 individuals representing various local, state and national arts organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental, were in attendance.

The list of attendees can be found in Appendix A.

Connecting STEM and Arts (TEAMS) to Spur U.S. Innovation: Part 1 of 5 | Edutopia

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. This is the first article in a five-part series.

In 2010, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference featured a "crowd sourced" keynote selection. People voted over the web and the most popular nominee was given the closing keynote of one of the largest educational computing conferences in the world.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Press Release: ASCD, Partner Organizations Release ESEA Recommendations

ASCD and Partner Education Organizations Release Consensus Policy Recommendations for Well-Rounded Education in ESEA & Advocate for the Arts

Alexandria, VA (July 29, 2010)—During a policy briefing on Capitol Hill today, ASCD and 20 major education organizations, which represent a wide array of subject areas, released consensus recommendations for how the federal government can better support core subjects beyond reading and math.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New fine arts requirement for Texas schools

New fine arts requirement for Texas schools: "A new state regulation requires middle and high school students to take one fine arts credit, starting this school year."


Aretha Franklin & Condoleezza Rice Perform Benefit for Arts Education

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Condoleezza Rice is no stranger to the whims of royalty. So when the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, decided the two should get together to play a song or two for charity, it was decreed.

The former U.S. secretary of state and Franklin took the stage Tuesday evening at Philadelphia's Mann Music Center in a rare duet for Rice, the classically trained pianist, and Franklin, the divalicious voice of a generation. Their aim was to raise money for urban children and awareness for music and the arts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going From STEM to STEAM

The Arts Have a Role in America's Future, Too

by Joseph Piro, Education Week

Published Online: March 9, 2010
Published in Print: March 10, 2010, as Going From STEM to STEAM Commentary

In education circles, STEM—the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—has been gathering, for want of a better descriptor, “alpha” status. Not only has President Barack Obama announced a $250 million public-private initiative to recruit and train more STEM teachers, but also the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund grants competition is giving bonus points for applications that stress STEM instruction.

Yet, in the midst of all the STEM frenzy, we may want to do something riskier, and more imaginative, to save the country: turn STEM funding into STEAM funding. Inserting the letter A, for the arts, into the acronym could afford us even greater global advantage.

Monday, July 26, 2010


The meeting was called to order at 7:36 PM (CST) when a quorum of members were present. Eight members were present for the meeting.

A. IN ATTENDANCE: Dan Caruso, Pam Gibberman, Oscar Forseman, Bob Lague, Tom McLaughlin, Jack Rowe, Kathi Zamora.  ABSENT: Steve DiNenno, Charles Fry (technical difficulties), Sue Lemmo (personal commitment), Rich Nicklay (personal commitment), Deb Turici (PSEA Conference)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Should We Teach Creativity? Can We? | LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights

Should We Teach Creativity? Can We? LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights

The National Art Education Association does it again in this article. CLICK on the title above for a thought-provoking read.

ISEA Fine Arts Caucus: The Right Brain Project: An Arts Initiative

NEA Fine Arts Caucus: The Right Brain Project: An Arts Initiative

A great YouTube Arts Advocacy piece that shows how the arts feed all learning. CLICK on the title above and enjoy using this for our students.

Fine Arts Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Statistics Show Arts Students Outperform Peers

I am sure you are aware of the nationwide trend of downsizing, even eliminating, art programs in schools.

What is not entirely known is the impact of removing the fine arts from the education of children.

'Champions of Change, the Impact of the Arts on Learning' is the most comprehensive study on the subject of students involvement in the fine arts and how it relates to academic success.

Art and Music Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Art and Music Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Arts an Easy Target as Many States Cut Budgets

Ben Ahlvers is a full-time arts education coordinator, but his passion is with the fanciful creatures, human figures and oversized hammers he fashions from clay.

The nationally recognized ceramic artist was chosen to receive a fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission to attend an artist residency in Montana. But after Kansas officials cut the commission's budget midyear by $300,000, he didn't receive the $1,000 check.

"They were still going to have a reception and I joked to somebody that I was going to go and eat $1,000 worth of finger food," said Ahlvers, 35, who said he and his wife had to live off their credit cards and sell more of his artwork to fund the trip.

The Arts Education Effect

Why Schools With Arts Programs Do Better At Narrowing Achievement Gaps
By Sandra S. Ruppert
from Education Week

Most Americans agree with President Barack Obama’s assessment that a “complete and competitive education for the 21st century” means all students will need some form of education or training beyond high school. That’s why college and career readiness for all by 2020 is his administration’s top education goal.

Yet while we recognize that higher levels of educational attainment will open doors to a better life for students, we haven’t been able to keep an estimated 7,000 of them each day from heading quietly for the exits before they’ve had even a chance to earn a high school diploma.

Fewer than seven in 10 students in this country graduate from high school on time, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education. For students of color and those living in poverty or residing in large urban areas, the odds of on-time graduation are even slimmer. Barely half (51 percent) of African-American students successfully complete high school, while only 55 percent of Hispanics do.

For many of the 1.3 million young people who leave high school each year without a diploma, the path that eventually leads to this educational dead end begins in middle school. The National Assessment of Educational Progress—often referred to as “the nation’s report card”—provides a snapshot of student achievement in various subject areas at crucial transition points, including 8th grade. In June 2009, the results of the 2008 NAEP arts assessment in music and visual arts were released; it was the first NAEP arts assessment conducted since 1997.

Those 2008 results tell a disappointing, but incomplete, story of 8th grade student achievement in the arts. In music, for example, 8th graders had just a 50-50 chance on average of being able to identify the correct response on any of the multiple-choice questions. In visual arts, 8th graders on average were able to identify the correct answer only 42 percent of the time. As troubling as the overall lackluster performance were the significant disparities in achievement based on socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, gender, and type and location of schools.

Does it really matter if the performance of 8th grade students on the NAEP arts assessments is mediocre at best, or that significant achievement gaps based on socioeconomics and other characteristics continue to persist? It matters only if we as a nation are truly serious about reaching the president’s goal of preparing all K-12 students by 2020 to succeed in school, work, and life.

Arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing students’ capacities for critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation. These capacities are increasingly recognized as core skills and competencies all students need as part of a high-quality and complete 21st-century education. And, as a matter of social justice, we must be concerned when students are denied access to a high-quality education—one that includes learning in and through the arts—simply because of where they live or go to school.

Eighth grade is a crucial turning point for students as they prepare to make the transition from middle school to high school. By 9th grade, researchers can predict with a high degree of accuracy which students are most at risk of dropping out of school, based on three factors: absenteeism, behavioral problems, and course failure.

We know the arts can make a difference in the academic lives of 8th graders. A decade ago, the Arts Education Partnership published groundbreaking research that compared 8th graders who were highly involved in the arts with those who had little or no involvement, and found consistently better outcomes for the highly involved students: better grades, less likelihood of dropping out by grade 10, and more positive attitudes about school. The study also showed that the benefits of high levels of arts participation can make more of a difference for economically disadvantaged students.

Here are five strategies, drawn from the NAEP results, that can help arts education leaders, policymakers, and educators improve performance in the arts and narrow achievement gaps.

Ensure equal access to arts education. Not surprisingly, 8th graders who attend schools where visual arts instruction is offered at least once a week perform better than 8th graders who attend schools where the visual arts are not taught. The same is true for music education. Yet based on projections contained in the NAEP results, more than half a million 8th graders attend the 14 percent of schools where no visual arts classes are offered. More than 300,000 8th grade students attend the 8 percent of schools where no music classes are offered.

Raise levels of participation in arts coursetaking. Even in schools where the arts are offered, actual rates of student participation can be low. For example, one-third of schools estimate that no more than 20 percent of their students received any music instruction in 2008. Fewer than half of 8th graders reported taking a visual arts course in 2008.

Build interest in and demand for the arts in the early grades. Multiple factors can account for mediocre performance and low levels of participation in the arts, but one plausible explanation is that we are seeing the effects of the reduction or elimination of elementary school arts programs, which help build interest in and demand for arts courses in middle school. It may also be a contributing factor in 8th graders’ low self-assessments of their skills: Only 24 percent think they have a talent for visual arts, while just 36 percent think they do for music.

Focus on what works in improving student achievement in the arts. Based on the NAEP results, 8th graders perform at consistently higher levels when they attend schools where any of these conditions exist: (1) a state or district curriculum is in place; (2) classes are taught by a full-time or part-time arts specialist; and (3) classes are located in a designated and adequately equipped space.

Level the playing field to help close the arts education achievement gap. Minority students and those from low-income households have less access to instruction and are less likely to attend schools that have a state or district curriculum. They are less likely to receive instruction from a full-time or part-time arts specialist, or to take field trips or have visiting artists in their schools. Put simply, we provide students who are likely to benefit from arts instruction most with the least of everything.

NAEP’s next arts assessment is scheduled for 2016. The 8th graders who participate in it will be part of the high school graduating class of 2020—the first class in which we can measure whether we have met the ambitious goal of ensuring that all K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college and the workforce.

If we are to meet such a goal, we must take seriously our commitment to close achievement gaps and keep all students on the path to high school graduation and beyond. Arts learning opportunities—both as stand-alone classes and integrated with other subjects—must play an integral role in providing them with the complete education they need to succeed. Let’s hope we see the results of our efforts in 2016.

Sandra S. Ruppert is the director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national coalition of more than 100 arts, education, government, and philanthropic organizations advocating for an increased role for the arts in schools.

A Challenge to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

A group of prominent scholars, teachers, education reform advocates, and union leaders — including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, former Boston University President John Silber, New York University education historian Diane Ravitch, and Democrats for Education Reform co-founders Kevin Chavous and Whitney Tilson —issued a statement today expressing concern about the program put forth by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and calling for its revision.  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED September 14, 2010.

Education is a crucial resource that determines our children’s future and our society’s well-being. As America’s citizenry grows more diverse, we must reach out to include all of our children in the promise of America. As the global economy matures, it requires increasing levels of knowledge and deep understanding of the forces that shape our lives and our future. For these reasons, we must intensify our efforts to improve education. This is the historic challenge facing American education in the twenty-first century.

All students—regardless of race or class—deserve a first-rate liberal arts education, rich in the study of history, science, literature, geography, civics, mathematics, the arts, technology, and foreign languages. At the present time, there is growing pressure on our schools to reduce time spent on these disciplines and subjects to make room for what is now called “21st century skills.”

Skills are important and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has identified skills that all children need such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. But P21’s approach to teaching those skills marginalizes knowledge and therefore will deny students the liberal education they need. Cognitive science teaches us that skills and knowledge are interdependent and that possessing a base of knowledge is necessary to the acquisition not only of more knowledge, but also of skills. Skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects.

Education policy and practice should be based on sound research and informed by an understanding of what has worked and what has failed in the past. Attempts to teach skills apart from knowledge have failed repeatedly over the last century because they do not work. Unless it is fundamentally revised, the program put forth by P21 also will fail. In the meantime, it is undermining the quality of education in America.

We, undersigned, call on P21 and other advocates of 21st century skills to reshape their effort by putting knowledge and skills together at the core of their work.

•Mark Bauerlein, Department of English, Emory University
•Kevin P. Chavous, co-founder, Democrats for Education Reform
•Antonia Cortese, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers
•Williamson M. Evers, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
•Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
•William Fitzhugh, founder, The Concord Review
•Charles L. Glenn, Professor of Educational Leadership and Development, Boston University
•Barry Garelick, co-founder, U.S. Coalition for World Class Math
•Lorraine Griffith, teacher, West Buncombe Elementary School, Asheville, NC
•Jason Griffiths, Headmaster, The Brooklyn Latin School
•Joy Hakim, author of A History of US and The Story of Science
•E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder, Core Knowledge Foundation
•Bill Honig, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of California
•Kathleen A. Madigan, founder and former president, American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence
•Jack McCarthy, Managing Director, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation
•Lynne Munson, President, Common Core
•Wesley Null, associate professor, School of Education and the Honors College, Baylor University
•Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
•Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University
•Roberta R. Schaefer, President and CEO, The Worcester Research Bureau
•John Richard Schrock, Professor of Biology and Director of Biology Education, Emporia State University
•Diana Senechal, English teacher, PS108K, New York City
•Michael Sentance, Former Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
•John Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University
•Jim Stergios, Executive Director, Pioneer Institute
•Sheldon M. Stern, Historian, John F. Kennedy Library (retired)
•Sol Stern, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
•Sandra Stotsky, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas
•Whitney Tilson, co-founder, Democrats for Education Reform
•Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
•Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia
•Sam Wineburg, Professor of Education and of History (by courtesy), Stanford University
•Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

Update on 2009 NBI #36--Discipline Specific Arts Certification

A formal request has been made by Tom McLaughlin, NEA FAC Chair to have the memorandum sent to us electronically.  We have also requested research finding, guidance for states on licensure endorsements, and recommendations for next steps.  Once received this information will be posted to our listserv for members to use in their state work. NEA FAC Board Member Pam Gibberman's comments are included at the bottom of this post.

Discipline-Specific Arts Certification NEA will work with state affiliates to recognize and advocator for discipline specific arts certification/licensure (i.e. dance, drama/theatre, music and visual arts).


NEA Teacher Quality (TQ) reviewed the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) database for research, resources and information about discipline-specific arts certification/licensure requirements. This information was used to develop a memorandum from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, NEA Executive Director John Wilson, and NEA Director of TQ Segun Eubanks to state association presidents, executive directors, and instruction and professional development contacts regarding discipline-specific arts certification. The memorandum includes research findings, guidance for states on licensure endorsements, and recommendations for next steps. The memorandum
was disseminated to affiliates in the spring of 2010.


President Van Roekel, fellow delegates, I am speaking as a proud member of UTLA/CTA/NEA and the NEA Fine Arts Caucus. I am here asking for your help and support. We are not seeking a federal mandate. This is a matter of equity. Each art form has it’s own body of knowledge and skills that must be acquired by its practitioners and which must be mastered by teachers in order to instruct students. Why should music be recognized as a discrete subject, but not dance? Are visual arts more important than theatre arts?
In Los Angeles Unified School District last year there were 59 teachers hired to teach dance. 59 hired to teach theatre, and 59 hired to teach visual arts in elementary schools because of their solid background, training and experience in their respective disciplines. Veteran dance teachers were force to take PE courses several years ago in order to be deemed “highly qualified” according to the “so called’ No Child Left Behind Act.

The newest dance teachers were Reduced-In-Force had not yet done so. The theatre teachers who were RIF’d did not have the credentials to teach English but were forced to do so! Why are these art forms not worthy of recognition in and of themselves?

Please NEA help make it possible for the students of every state to receive instruction in each art discipline by teachers who are certified/licensed in dance, drama/theatre, music or the visual arts.