With the U.S. Presidential campaign just 3 weeks from today I thought it would be good to post some of what has been reported regarding the candidates positions on two key issues of concern to me… education and the arts.
The AP reported yesterday the highlights of each candidate based on the key topics the AP deemed important. Here is what they had for education:
McCain: He is not proposing a federal voucher program that would provide public money for private school tuition, in contrast to his proposed $5 billion voucher plan in 2000. Only proposes expansion of District of Columbia's voucher program. Sees No Child Left Behind law as vehicle for increasing opportunities for parents to choose schools. Proposes more money for community college education.
Obama: 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 No Child Left Behind law to better measure student progress, make room for non-core subjects like music and art and be less punitive toward failing schools. 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. Has backed away from his proposal to save money by delaying NASA's moon and Mars missions.
Here is my one issue with the descriptions above. Does the Obama plan REALLY include a call to "make room for non-core subjects like music and art"? Did the Obama campaign define, or actually redefine, music and arts as non-core?
Let's take a look!
So… I am off to the Obama campaign website to see what it says.
On the campaign website I went to the "education" issues page which you can look at here. Do you know what I found about arts education in the education area?
So… now I go back to the issues page to search for the arts. There are a bunch of other Issues with their own heading. No arts! I look for a search box because I know he has an arts position because I know several people on his arts committee. But where is the position? No search box! Great. Back to Issues. I look at each issue title until I get to the last item called "Additional Issues" and right at the top is "Arts"
Wow… we are at the kiddie table of the election thanksgiving dinner. All the "Big" issues have thier own position on the main issues menu. The Arts are at the folding table in the hallway. I gues the good news is… at least we are at the table.
Back to the issue at hand… does Barack Obama define the arts as "non-core?"
So I click on this link and up pops a PDF file.
Right off the bat we see Arts Education at the top of the document. This is what it says:
A PLATFORM IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS
Reinvest in Arts Education: To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning.
The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.” To support greater arts education,