Sunday, April 27, 2014

cold turkey...

My booth at the Thea Art Show.
There is no place like home and I'm glad to be back.

I spent the weekend with friends in Little Rock and exhibited and sold my work at the Thea Art Show in North Little Rock. It was nice to see friends and old acquaintances and to sell a bit of my work. I think some folks these days have a challenge getting their minds around the notion that people can make a living by doing work with their own hands.

I had a number of conversations with folks at the show about education. It seems that most are in agreement that we've gone off the deep end in standardized testing, but few have any ideas what we can do about it. I propose we cut the crap and go cold turkey. Teachers, students and parents have always had ways of assessing growth by simply watching children grow. And by excessively measuring all things, we've killed the joy in it.

Schools have marginalized teachers in that many are no longer trusted to write their own lesson plans or to evaluate student learning. Statisticians and policy makers stand upon a common field of control over education, while the last bit of spontaneous joy is wrenched from it.

Thea is an arts foundation that is working to return the arts to the center of education in Arkansas, and is partnering with the Walton Family Foundation to bring A+ Schools to an additional 10 schools in Arkansas. A+ tries to get the entire staff of a school to understand the role of the arts to elevate overall interest in learning. And the interest of the Walton Family Foundation in this case is that of using standardized tests to evaluate whether or not the arts actually work, and whether what anyone can see with his or her own eyes, can be statistically significant affirming what many of us already know by heart.

This, of course, should be a no brainer. Can you imagine a world without the arts, without woodworking, without poetry, without music, without theater? We CAN imagine living in a world in which the arts are not trusted to bring to children what they have always brought to humanity. It's what we've allowed to be done to education by politicians and  policy makers.

We are poised at the edge of Fine Arts Month in Eureka Springs. I am grateful to live in a small community in which the value of the arts is only questioned by morons.

Make, fix and create...

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