Monday, August 19, 2013

The Decimation of the Arts in Virginia- A Teacher's Response

"The policy that cuts Visual Art class time for Kindergarten to 45 minutes was codified in January at the same time the required business class added for required HS Graduation replaced one of 2 Fine Arts requirements necessary for graduation. Kindergarten testing was approved at the same time.
This policy not only affected Art Teacher staffing, but raised no opposition because elementary Art was “demoted” several years ago from Core to non-academic. Arts’ Core status was traded away to make way for Art to serve as a placeholder for planning time; a few years later, teacher planning time that once involved curriculum and learning was replaced CLT program data mining.
As you are a former Kindergarten teacher, Dr. Garza, please know that an hour of continuous planning time is a key ingredient to student success, so this is not an innocuous concession.
Arts were part of the core throughout the County, and Art time was considered sacrosanct so children could process what they were learning. Art was placed into core through Grade 8 in one our highest ESoL schools in our FCPS, reading and math skills soared. Children were learning and meeting grade level expectations because their curriculum wasn’t being dumbed down for test prep, it was being enriched.
Kindergarten Art Time shouldn’t be negotiated for testing if we value learning and kids."
Take care, Sue

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