On this blog I have commented and shared insights regarding Barack Obama's words and plans for music and arts education as well as education in general. While I am working on my article about the opportunties created for education and the arts by an Obama Presidency I want to point to a few items that would be worth considering.
First… a reminder. Here is an excerpt from his education speech given in November 2007 in New Hampshire:
But I'll tell you what's wrong with No Child Left Behind. Forcing our teachers, our principals, and our schools to accomplish all of this without the resources they need is wrong. Promising high-quality teachers in every classroom and then leaving the support and the pay for those teachers behind is wrong. Labeling a school and its students as failures one day and then throwing your hands up and walking away from them the next is wrong.
And by the way – don't tell us that the only way to teach a child is to spend most of the year preparing him to fill in a few bubbles on a standardized test. Don't tell us that these tests have to come at the expense of music, or art, or phys. ed., or science. These tests shouldn't come at the expense of a well-rounded education – they should help complete that well-rounded education. The teachers I've met didn't devote their lives to testing, they devoted them to teaching, and teaching our children is what they should be allowed to do.
The fact is, No Child Left Behind has done more to stigmatize and demoralize our students and teachers in struggling schools than it has to marshal the talent and the determination and the resources to turn them around. That's what's wrong with No Child Left Behind, and that's what we must change in a fundamental way.
I like it!
Now, here is thee AP analysis of the challenges ahead:
The promise: An $18 billion plan that would encourage, but not mandate, universal pre-kindergarten; teacher pay raises tied to, although not based solely on, test scores; an overhaul of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law to better measure student progress, make room for subjects like music and art and be less punitive toward failing schools, and a tax credit to pay up to $4,000 of college costs for students who perform 100 hours of community service a year. Obama would pay for part of his plan by ending corporate tax deductions for CEO pay. He has backed away from his proposal to save money by delaying NASA's moon and Mars missions.
The problem: With the budget stretched thin, a huge infusion of cash for early childhood education or college costs seems unlikely. Federal spending on education has already been rising for more than a decade. Congress and the White House will be in no hurry to tackle No Child Left Behind, which was due for a rewrite in 2007; the economy, the war and health care are stickier and more pressing concerns.
Obama's promises, vision to collide with reality
Hmmm… for some reason I think the AP may have gotten this wrong. NCLB revisions have been sitting in the wings awaiting the outcome of this election. Sure it will not be the top priority… but I do not think the new administration is going to kick this down the road for later discussion.
Two more interesting reads for you:
An interesting article from the Times of London pre election. What will the new president do for the arts?
And of course… one of my favorite insights to Barack Obama's commitment to music/arts education come from a little covered interview in Iowa.
Click here to listen to the MP3
This should keep you busy while I finish my article!