Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arts Advisory Committee Calls for More Testing of Arts

Last night's Panel for Educational Policy meeting featured a report from the PEP Arts Advisory Committee. The membership of this committee is chosen by the PEP, which means by the Bloomberg administration as the mayoral appointees voted in a bloc for their preferred candidates.

The report was much about how to do more with less given the current funding environment. There was some token acknowledgment of the need to do more with those schools who fare the worst in providing arts education; the Committee recommended giving 75 schools $10,000 next year, $5,000 the following year and $3,000 in the third.

The Committee report was far more urgent when it came to testing. It made clear that assessment of arts achievement is "underfunded" and called for a new battery of tests. When I asked the Committee chairman, Jerrold Ross of St. John's University, what they wanted to test and how, Chancellor Walcott interrupted and called on a DOE staffer to respond. I pointed out that the Committee appeared to have ample credentials and ought to be able to defend its own recommendations. Dr. Ross promised only one sentence and simply offered that we need to "assess skills" as well as "how children think". The DOE staffer went on at length in a similar fashion. Nothing they said necessitated new and costly standardized tests but was clearly part of what a classroom art teacher would do everyday.


Anonymous said...

It seems that our mayor and department of education has an abundance of money when it comes to creating tests to evaluate our teachers and children in our public schools.What happens if a child is not a good drawer,does the teacher get fired and the child has to repeat the grade. Will we judge gym teachers on the athletic skills of their students,will guidance Councillors be judged on the behavior of the children they council.
In the meantime class size keeps rising and programs are being eliminated. We as parents have to do something about the madness going on in our public schools!

harvey said...

Physical education teachers will be judged on students' body mass index. If the kid gets fatter, it is of course the teacher's fault. (nevermind that post- small school era, many schools have no gyms. It's surreal.