Blog Posts for September 2011 Blog Salon

As the Blog Salon Comes to a Close...

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen, Sep 16, 2011 5 comments

Kristen Engebretsen

I hope that everyone has enjoyed reading the thoughts from leaders both in and outside our field during this blog salon in honor of National Arts in Education Week.

As we design and teach our youth programs, we need to keep the end in mind. Where are our students going to end up? How can we help them get there? Our schools’ guidance counselors can’t do everything—they are overburdened, have little arts content expertise, and limited interaction with each student.

That means that it is up to teachers, parents, community members, and those of us that work at arts organizations to guide our students. We need to give students real world experiences, provide them field trips to community organizations and businesses, inform them about career options, and guide them to areas where they are motivated and can excel.

During the salon, we heard examples of how this is already happening:

1)     Alyx’s story about helping students with their first job.
2)    Deutsche Bank’s collaboration with the Partnership for After School Education to create a comprehensive Youth Arts Career Guide.

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Arts Education Administrator Seeks Business Education for Radical Improvement

Posted by John Abodeely, Sep 16, 2011 0 comments

John Abodeely

I started getting my MBA this month. Most of the individuals I know professionally have asked me why.

I’m surprised at how clear I am on why:

1.  Innovation is a product of diverse knowledge.

I figured that I’d experience greater improvement in my professional performance if I earned an education in things I know little about. Applying new and different ways of thinking, tools, and professional contacts to existing work is likely to yield huge benefits. Learning about arts education or nonprofit administration may deepen my knowledge, but it would change my work less than an MBA. Productivity experts call this “breakthrough performance.”

(Yes, I know this assumes that improvement through differences is preferable to improvement through refinement. But I believe that our field as a whole will benefit from difference more than it will from refinement. If you care to, leave comments about this distinction. It is a fascinating debate, no?)

2.  You don’t know what you don’t know.

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Parents As Arts Advocates

Posted by Doug Israel, Sep 16, 2011 3 comments

In my previous post, I wrote about the value of arts education in keeping students on track to graduation—regardless of their career aspirations—and the role of parents in ensuring that principals are aware of the value of arts learning to students and the school community.

For those students who are interested in a career in the arts, one would think there is no greater place to be than in New York City. Arts-related businesses in the city generate $21 billion annually, providing over 200,000 jobs in everything from set production and theater management to video game design and advertising.

Unfortunately though, far too many of our city high schools are not providing a quality arts education, even though arts instruction is mandated by state law and we are surrounded by an incredible wealth of cultural institutions and amenities.

As part of our advocacy and public awareness efforts we work with parents in new and exciting ways to build support for the arts in schools.

Parents are helping lead advocacy workshops for other parents and school leaders, they are working with principals to encourage local elected officials to support their school arts programs, and they are helping create resources that can move others to action.

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Don’t Stop Now, You’re on a Roll...

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders, Sep 16, 2011 2 comments

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

The inclusion of the dialogue between Harvey White and Sen. Stan Rosenberg at the recent Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego is a great addition to this edition of the bi-annual Arts Education Blog Salon.

As a San Diegan who has participated in meetings with White and others around the STEM to STEAM issue, I’ve often been frustrated by a lot of talk that has little to do with what can actually be done to move the needle on innovative workforce development.

We’ve had full discussions about changing curriculum and the education system, but never invited a school superintendent let alone an administrator to the meeting. I’ve heard people pass the buck and say, “Well I just come up with these ideas, and you guys need to figure out how to implement them.”

What I liked in their tete-a-tete was the businessman who cares about the issue and knows what will move other business folks to action, talking to the political official who cares about the issue and can move decisionmakers to action trying to come up with a solution together.

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Career Clusters and the Arts

Posted by Brad Hull, Sep 16, 2011 0 comments

Brad Hull

In Narric Rome’s earlier post, he summarized a very exciting meeting that spoke to the heart of this blog salon—arts and careers.

One of his components mentioned career clusters and as a former career and technical education secondary school director, I wanted to describe this work in more detail for those unfamiliar with it, using the arts cluster as an example. (It should also be noted that the field owes much to the work of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education).

Career clusters categorize all possible careers into 16 groupings called clusters and further subdivides them into pathways. The cluster most germane to the arts is called Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications. Its definition and pathways can be found here.

The career clusters work created standards. There are standards necessary for every cluster (called Essential Knowledge and Skill Statements), additional standards needed that are unique to a given cluster (here is the one for the arts cluster) and standards that are necessary and unique to each pathway (here is one for the performing arts).

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Arts Education Provides Another 'Pathway to Prosperity'

Posted by Stephanie Riven, Sep 16, 2011 0 comments

Stephanie Riven

One of the most compelling ideas related to workforce development is the report issued in February 2011 called Pathways to Prosperity by Robert Schwartz and Ron Ferguson of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The report points out that every year, one million students leave school before earning a high school degree.

Many of these students say that they dropped out of high school because they felt their classes were not interesting and that school was unrelentingly boring. They say that they didn’t believe high school was relevant or provided a pathway to achieving their dreams.

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, the U.S. economy will create 47 million job openings over the 10-year period ending in 2018. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs will require that workers have at least some post-secondary education. Applicants with no more than a high school degree will fill just 36 percent of the job openings or just half the percentage of jobs they held in the early 1970s.

How can we reverse these trends?

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