Music and Arts lag. Can poetry be far behind?

This week in the NYTimes – news of a rather discouraging report about music and arts education across the US. And even the test sample was smaller.

In the test, formally known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Arts, administrators at 260 public and private schools were asked how much time they devoted to art and music instruction, and 7,900 eighth-grade students were tested on art and music concepts, a small sample compared with other federal assessments. For example, in 2007, the department tested 700,000 students in reading and math, and 29,000 in history.

The small number of students tested, and the 11-year gap since the most recent federal arts test, limited the assessment’s usefulness for reaching conclusions about achievement trends, federal testing officials said.

But one indicator showed a clear decline in student exposure to the arts: 16 percent of students reported having gone with their class to an art museum, gallery or exhibit in the last year. That was down from 22 percent in 1997.

In a time when the creativity and imagination are in high demand and when it is well known that the arts support intellectual ability how can this be healthy? See How the arts deepen student thinking.

Here is the survey and here are some sample questions and here is where you can test yourself on music.

Of course – there’s that all important distiction to be made between knowing aboutsomething and actually experiencing it and engaing in the process of creation.  This is how one fictional teacher responds to that curriculum dilemma:


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