To the Editor:
Apropos of the News in Brief item “Los Angeles School Board Makes Arts an Essential ‘Core’ Subject” (Oct. 17, 2012): Let me get this straight (I had to read the number twice, hoping it was a typo)—there are only 204 arts specialists for 664,000 students in Los Angeles? That’s more than 3,200 kids per teacher per year!
Therefore, it is now decreed that the arts are a “core” subject and previous budget cuts will be reversed? Really? To what degree? For the Los Angeles school board to make that statement is as unrealistic and illusory as Chicago’s mantra—all arts for all kids in all schools—in the face of an upcoming $1 billion annual deficit for the Chicago school system.
Get real. Unless the well-meaning mandarins of arts education can develop ways to tie meaningful metrics to the development of artistic qualities—such as creativity, imagination, persistence, willingness to fail, collaboration, and adaptability—the educational establishment will persist in going down the path of paying only lip service to the reality that those qualities will, indeed, be essential for students’ success in an increasingly complex, conceptual, and globalized 21st-century economy and arts-infused society.
How baffling. Rather like watching the metaphorical toad in the pot of slowly heated water.
Woodlawn-University of Chicago Charter School
A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 2012 edition of Education Week as Schools Pay ‘Lip Service’ To Arts Education