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!