March for visual arts.


By a student in my third grade Art room in 2012.

I missed the March for Science on Saturday.

Instead, on Saturday I was judging the artwork of students who had submitted their political cartoons in a high school competition.

I’m for science, although science would exist even if I wasn’t for it.

Truth is that as far as science courses went in school, I didn’t love them. That may have had more to do with the way Science was taught than anything else.

I ranked memorizing the periodic table of elements up there with reading Silas Marner as high school assignments I hated.

Running laps. I hated that too.

The fact is that I was a humanities guy. I loved my Art classes and Lit classes. Except the one when I had to read Silas Marner.

But that’s the thing about people and students. We care about and are good at different things. It doesn’t mean we should only have access to the things we care about and are good at.

I didn’t think I cared about anthropology until I took a class – intro to cultural anthro – my freshman year in college and I almost considered making it my major.

Which brings me to the results of the latest NAEP of 8th grade students in Music and the Visual Arts.

When comparing 8th grade NAEP scores in the Visual Arts in 2016 with 2008 they are down a point.

Compare that to Science where they are up four points in 8th grade over a similar time span, although there remains a huge gap in the scores in Science between white and students of color, both Black and Hispanic.

That gap is true in the Arts too.

Students in suburban schools tended to outperform students in urban schools, and students in private schools tended to do better than those in public schools.

So blame access and availability.

It is the details that I find troubling.

Only 42% of 8th graders had an Art class.

Only 30% said their teachers have them paint or draw.

Only 55% said their school had a dedicated Art space.

56% said that they made Art when they were not in school and 43% said that they kept an art journal or sketchbook when they were not in school.

That made me happy.

You can download episode #12 of the Hitting Left podcast.

6 Replies to “March for visual arts.”

  1. WTF—?!! TESTING kids in Visual Arts! It’s ART–The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:the use of skill & imagination in the production of things of beauty.

    And there’s nothing beautiful about testing.

    1. Whenever an assessment provides evidence of malpractice and racism I find it useful. The NAEP does that in this case.

      1. Makes perfect sense.
        Still, I hate to see time taken away from valuable education for testing, or for kids to feel any more pressure & stress than they already do.

        &–w/o Art, there would be no eARTh!

  2. I can’t help but think that the “richest country on Earth” hates most of its children so much that it’s willing to rob them with immoral, unconscionable cuts to education, boutique charter schools run by amateurs, dilettantes, hucksters and money-grubbing, private “management companies,” and last, but not least — a stultifying, dulling, corporatized, standardized testing regime that’s blighting education. Why does “the richest country on Earth” hate its children so much?

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