Saturday, April 28, 2012

Arne on the Arts

The arts are an important part of a well-rounded education for all students. All of the arts – dance, music, theatre [sic], and the visual arts – are essential to preparing our nation’s young people for a global economy fueled by innovation and creativity and for a social discourse that demands communication in images and sound as well as in text.

The are the words of Mr. Duncan, the man in charge of education here in the States, from Homeroom, the official blog of the US DOE.

Homerooms, by the way, are disappearing--in our quest for über efficiency, we no longer have 10 minutes to spare each morning taking attendance, making classroom announcements, saying hello to each and every one of our students as they come in to the building.

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School in Pennsylvania lost theirs just this year:
Principal Dave Harris said the decision to eliminate homeroom gives the district a chance to add a minute daily to each instructional period.
And to be fair, if Arne's right, if the purpose of public education is to prepare young adults for the global economy where efficiency and standardization matter more than what matters at home, homeroom is a colossal waste of precious minutes.

Frederick Winslow Taylor would be proud.

Thankfully, the Edumacator in Chief has found a loophole for art, the same one he uses for science. We teach it because it helps sustain his twisted worldview, where some abstract ideal of global trumps human.

Without art, without science, we lose a part of being human,
Without human, we lose the point of both.

Yes, Arne spelled "theater" with his pinky fully extended. What an arse.

She says she says this in jest. I hope so. We need her brazenness back in the classroom.


Kate T said...

The haruumph linguist in me knows that theatre is the British spelling of theater; however, as usage goes, we here at a household immersed in performance refer to the art and act as theatre and the building where performances occur as theater (when we write such words).

But Arne is an arse, nonetheless.

I get five minutes in my morning, three days a week, and 50 on the other two to say good morning to my darlings - the dozen kids in my advisory/homeroom. I wouldn't trade it for one more minute in my classes.

doyle said...

Ah, I learned something then--and I've no excuse, as I come from a family of actors. I was the one child who did not inherit that gene from my folks.

I love the idea of an advisory--I miss my homeroom, but still make a point to say good morning to them every day, as their lockers are still outside my classroom.

I fear for some it's the only individualized "good morning" they hear in a day. (To be fair, our administrators make it a point to greet our students, and encourage the rest of us to do the same. If you don't like young adults, get out of the building.)

This Brazen Teacher said...

This makes me think how Arne, (and many others... myself included in many ways) really, truly believe in their heart of hearts they are doing the right thing. Live in a world that values things in terms of material output for so long... and you become blind to any other way.

doyle said...

Dear Brazen,

The blindness is understandable, but the deceit is not--Arne has a history of twisting words, but journalists have been too polite to call him either a liar or a fool (or maybe both).

Money and power have an odd way of bending the synapses in our brains--I'd trust a public school art teacher could have more of either had she not made it a habit of putting children first.