If you thought that the orgy of tabulation that has infected our society had reached a climax already, hang on. It seems now that the only way the Congressional braintrust can come up with a plan to offer a crumb of credibility to the idea of teaching, say, art or music, would be to create a test for it so that the results can be used in AYP determinations. If it ain’t tested, it ain’t real.
Jim continues by citing a recent Ed Week article:
Advocates for broadening the curriculum hope a draft House proposal for reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act will give a boost to history, art, music, and other subjects that they believe have been marginalized in many districts under the 5½-year-old federal law.
The draft of changes to Part A of the Title I program, released by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, RCalif., and key colleagues late last month, features potential incentives for states to test students in core subjects other than those now required—mathematics, reading, and, beginning this school year, science.
My conversations with educators in the public schools regarding No Child Left Behind usually elicit groans and frustrating shared experiences, with music (and all arts) educators in particular feeling the brunt of this 5½-year-old legislation. NCLB can be summed up in three words: assessment, assessment, assessment. It narrows the core curriculum, marginalizing music and the other arts and requiring analytical assessment for subjects that develop the kinesthetic and emotive skills in students.
For more on my thoughts regarding this subject, check out either This Crazy Business Part 1 – Hard-Wiring the Musical Mind or Road Warrior Without an Expense Account Part IX – Rethinking Music Performance Degrees. While not about NCLB per se, they both delve into related and parallel issues.
Jim Horn’s blog is a great read for anyone interested in issues facing educators today. For further reading, check out Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.