Since the Neolithic Revolution, apprenticeships were the career pathway towards master artist status. In addition, one had to have a patron to provide access to the resources of their craft. Twelve thousand years later, we have codified the artistic learning experience into a matrix of what students should know and be able to do, through specific benchmarks known as standards.
The first National Standards for Arts Education were issued in 1994. A coalition of national arts and education organizations will issue a twenty-first century update of the standards in early 2014.
Kristy Callaway (Executive Director of the Arts Schools Network and member of arts education council at Americans for the Arts) interviews Jim Palmarini (Director of Educational Policy at Educational Theatre Association and member of the leadership team of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards) about the process of updating the national arts education standards.
Kristy: Please set this up for me. What is the back-story of the writing teams? How were they selected and assembled?
Jim: We have five writing teams working to rewrite the national standards in the content areas of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. In October, 2011, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) leadership issued an online application process. We had more than 360 applicants, most of who were highly qualified and experienced in one or more arts discipline. What we were seeking in each team was a balance of individuals who had expertise in teaching, standards and curriculum writing, assessment, and, of course, practical knowledge in their area of expertise. The leadership of NCCAS selected the team members. The College Board managed the selection of the media arts team.
The full five teams have met twice in person—most recently this past July—but most of their work has been done virtually in webinars, phone conferences, and email discussions. Writing grade-by-grade PreK-12 standards is intellectually challenging and complicated work, especially when you are working to both honor what is unique about each art form and trying to find common ground across the content areas. And nobody is getting paid—this is a voluntary effort by a dedicated cadre of individuals who truly believe in the value of standards for students and educators.Read More