As teachers Laura, we have had many discussions about school reform. Much of my work lately (the Wish series and this new work posted here) has been centered around my experiences as a teacher in the public schools and how I have seen reform change over the last 15 years in this profession. I believe that the emphasis of standardized testing (or any high stakes testing) is the absolute wrong path for educating our future generation. As I have said on my Facebook page (and have had an interesting conversation started there) “I am extremely disappointed that Obama (who I voted for!) is pushing for more standardized testing as measures of ‘success’ in the classroom….everyone needs to pay attention to this as it will affect ALL of us. There are many types of intelligence and many ways a person can demonstrate competence and knowledge. Standardized tests can not and do not evaluate higher thinking skills needed in the 21st century”. Here are a few links to what is being said in the news about this issue.
and comments from people actually in the field of education and know what they are talking about
Often I feel that I have no voice as an educator to the politics that affect what happens in the classroom, so my hope is that through the arts I might have a louder voice to a wider audience.
Why do I care so deeply about this issue? Primarily I have two children about to enter into this culture of quantifying learning through numbers (they are not numbers-they are unique, dynamic, and curious). I am also one who tested terribly, but that never meant I was not knowledgeable, creative, and competent. If more of my education was based on high stakes testing I do not know if I would have believed (having the tests telling me I am not intelligent) I could have accomplished a master’s degree much less thinking deeply through the arts.
Clearly this is an issue I have more thoughts on, but for now I just wanted to share the new work I have created (and will be for sale tonight only at the WALK gallery/concert, 150 Meeting Street,Charleston SC 6:30-until the concert if over). I am sure Laura that you have thoughts about how the arts can produce conversations about the issues that we are passionate about. What if we looked at all artwork in that way? What if we valued artists as the philosophers, journalists, and storytellers of our time? Perhaps the public would support our work not only with their engagement in ideas, but with their pocketbooks so we may continue the good work.