Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Arts | Deborah Meier on Education

The Arts | Deborah Meier on Education:

The Arts

Dear friends and readers,
Too much happening and so I forget to keep up with this! I’m hoping some are also reading Bridging Differences (see inset)—although we’ll be off the air for most of June, July and August.
Was struck by commentary about Michelle Obama’s endorsement of art education. Of course, all help is welcome in an important cause.
But, like others, I’m disturbed by her rationale: it raises test scores.
I used to point out that the purpose of a good arts education is art. And perhaps the best reason to learn to read et al is that it may expand one’s appreciation of the arts. Art is and has been at the heart of what distinguishes human beings from all other species! It’s our greatest triumph. And along with language probably one of our oldest accomplishments.
Story-telling is one of these great arts that distinguish humanity. It’s well to remember that Homer was, in our current sense of the word, an illiterate. “Just” a great story-teller. In our eagerness to get children to read early we’ve forgotten this important form of art. We no longer encourage parents to tell their children stories, or encourage teachers to do the same, much less encourage children to do so! It’s hard to find a civilization, culture or ethnic group that hasn’t achieved art of universal appeal.
Don’t, don’t let them turn art into a test-prep subject.