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Apr 26 2014

Next: we think neutering your children would better prepare them for the labor market, too

An elementary school in New York canceled their yearly Kindergarten art show, and they sent out a letter explaining why they had to do it.

Dear Kindergarten parents and guardians:

We hope this letter serves to help you better understand how the demands of the 21st century are changing schools and, more specifically, to clarify misconceptions about the Kindergarten show. It is most important to keep in mind that this issue is not unique to Elwood. Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world.

The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers. Please do not fault us for making professional decisions that we know will never be able to please everyone. But know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.

Reading between the lines here…

Art will not get your children a job. They are five years old, and it is about time they started learning necessary job skills…and art will never be necessary. Art may make people happy and it may teach them about the world outside the narrow window of their daily drudgery, but it also makes them imaginative and restless and creative and non-complacent.

Look at us, your school administrators. We don’t believe in art. We have a job to do, and that job is to train a generation of workers, just like us, who will apply themselves to their tasks. The flowering of the human mind is undesirable when what we want is a flat uniform lawn of the human workforce. We shall achieve that flatness and uniformity, even if we have to snatch the crayons and glue and sparkles out of your child’s hands.

Your children have more important things to do.

Obey.

117 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin Kehres

    Translation: We have no budget for art supplies, the teacher who used to teach art got ‘riffed’ (laid off), and nobody wants to clean up after the mess the kids make.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    That’s the charitable translation. Still pretty fucked up, though.

  3. 3
    carolw

    That’s so sad. The business world needs creative people, too. Where do they think advertising comes from? Poor little kids, getting their brains wiped already.

  4. 4
    damien75

    Even if one doesn’t believe in the importance of art, and believes, say, only in the importance of science and technology, kindergarten art, or learning how to hold an pencil, learning how to draw is important. Science and technology people need to be able to rdraw a basic shape.

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    P.S. We will be teaching the kiddies some songs. To showcase our new teaching methods, we’ll have the children sing “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way”.

  6. 6
    atheistblog

    Don’t be surprised and don’t blame the school It is the norm in the developing countries. When the middle class going down, when the poverty increases, when the income equality widens, in coming years these are the normal, when survival is hard, choices need to made. When the going gets tough, tough choices has to be made.
    Welcome to 21st Century Plutocracy.

  7. 7
    Sastra

    When many of the religious and spiritual apologists criticize atheism they make arguments which sound as if they think that this sort of thing is the natural consequence of ruling out the supernatural. See? See what happens when children are taught that only the natural world exists? See what happens when you grow up under a world view of materialism (and yes, they’re equivocating on the term)? There’s no art, no music, no quiet contemplation or enjoyment of beauty because none of those things are physically real or true. There are no higher values or aspirations. It’s all crass accumulation of what you can get.

    Which is all of course a crock of nonsense. This idea that our primary duty with the young is to prepare them for the job market has never been advanced by any of the so-called New Atheists. Nor does the Straw Man fit. It’s coming out of conservatism and usually connected to Christian theologies if anything. The little hard-working consumers then must get all their “higher” experiences through Jesus and the church.

    I’m hoping that someone at this elementary school has done this as a kind of reverse-psychology wake up call to parents who seem to be way too involved in their children’s future “success.” It’s a slim hope, I know.

  8. 8
    TxSkeptic

    Haha, you got me. Nice piece from the Onion. It’s from the Onion, Right? Right!!!???!!! Pleeeease tell me it’s from the Onion!!!

  9. 9
    remyporter

    Ironically, this pressure to use school for job training is self defeating. The machine has a surplus of cogs- labor in pretty much every industry is over-supplied. Our solution to this problem is to spend more time and energy training our children to be cogs for a machine that doesn’t need them.

  10. 10
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    It’s not simply sad, or misguided. It’s sinister a</nd chilling.

    And it's not just so merely because "the world needs art too." It is chilling because it takes no account at all of the happiness of the children. They need creative outlets. Room for play, make believe. Time to daydream about the world.

    This isn’t some “luxury” or “decadence” for spoiled children. It’s a crucial part of normal, happy development of human beings.

    Please get madder about that.

  11. 11
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    TLDR: If you’re not upset at the uncontested notion that children serve business rather than the other way around, please revisit that.

  12. 12
    georgewiman

    If they said “We don’t have the budget for an art program” I could have accepted that. It would be a call for the parents to change the situation if they felt it needed to be changed. But that wasn’t what they said. They were very explicit about their reasons.

  13. 13
    Trebuchet

    @1:

    Translation: We have no budget for art supplies, the teacher who used to teach art got ‘riffed’ (laid off), and nobody wants to clean up after the mess the kids make.

    I think that’s the wrong translation. A more correct translation would be: “We have to spend all our time on rote recitation so the kids will pass the standardized tests and our budget won’t get cut for being a “bad” school.”

    My niece teaches Kindergarten, by the way.

  14. 14
    David Marjanović

    Ironically, this pressure to use school for job training is self defeating. The machine has a surplus of cogs- labor in pretty much every industry is over-supplied. Our solution to this problem is to spend more time and energy training our children to be cogs for a machine that doesn’t need them.

    QFT!!!

  15. 15
    Christine Lynne

    Hold up a second! I’m really not confident that this is a real letter from school officials. The language used sounded off to me (I have had kids in elementary school for six years now). So I dug a tiny bit.

    For what it’s worth, the school’s web site shows the kindergarten show proceeding as scheduled on May 14-15. (It’s under “Events” on the main page and the on the “Calendar” dropdown.) And there’s no sign of any letter or flyer to parents like the one linked. http://www.elwood.k12.ny.us/schools/harley_avenue_primary

    It’s certainly possible administrators made this dumb decision, followed by a dumb letter which doesn’t sound like any letter I’ve ever gotten from my kids’ school. But it’s also certainly possible someone with an ax to grind about Common Core and testing in schools cooked this up to inflame the interwebs over those issues.

  16. 16
    David Marjanović

    I think that’s the wrong translation. A more correct translation would be: “We have to spend all our time on rote recitation so the kids will pass the standardized tests and our budget won’t get cut for being a “bad” school.”

    …Just for comparison: where I come from, there are no tests in kindergarten, standardized or otherwise; that’s because kindergarten is not school. It’s fundamentally different.

  17. 17
    twas brillig (stevem)

    The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career …

    And they are doing this in Kindergarten?!? Oh, dear, my kindergarten years were wasted, with just naps and playtime, learning ABC’s, and colors, and such. Not studying for the SAT’s. Did. Not. Know you need to study for 13 years for the SAT’s. I guess those “mythical” hover parents who demand the right kindergarten to get into Hahvahd, are not so mythical after all ;-(

  18. 18
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    What Sastra said more eloquently.

  19. 19
    Cris Waller

    I’m in agreement with Christine. In the absence of more supporting evidence, I think there’s a good chance this is a fake.

  20. 20
    Maureen Brian

    Given that large and successful chunks of both US and UK economies are in the creative industries, that demand for barely literate but submissive labour is already over-supplied and that “new” industries require creativity, imagination and lateral thinking, this is a great way to shoot your society in its several feet.

    Funny, though, how the sort of people who come up with this policy are the very ones who live in fear of some Orwellian future imposed on them by – of course – us laid-back lefties who regard art as both a right and a necessity.

    Revolution coming up in, say, 35 years?

  21. 21
    Sastra

    Christine Lynne #15 wrote:

    It’s certainly possible administrators made this dumb decision, followed by a dumb letter which doesn’t sound like any letter I’ve ever gotten from my kids’ school. But it’s also certainly possible someone with an ax to grind about Common Core and testing in schools cooked this up to inflame the interwebs over those issues.

    I hope you’re right. It seems so much like overkill, especially given that the art show apparently wasn’t cancelled after all. Maybe the letter “worked.”

    As for my other point, I read some of the comments on the linked site and yes, someone is already eager to blame this on science. (“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding! Well, actually, you can’t have any pudding no matter what, because that would be unserious, and this kindergarten is only about serious stuff. After all, we’ve got to prepare your kids for their future roles as biochemical engineers, and theoretical physicists.”)

    This is what happens with SCIENTISM!!11!1!!!1

  22. 22
    Marcus Ranum

    Art will not get your children a job

    Historically, it’s been for the rich. Your kids won’t need it.

  23. 23
    Kevin Kehres

    @15: Good digging. I got the same results…all fliers distributed to parents are available online. And nothing even remotely like this appears.

    I smell a hoax.

  24. 24
    Maureen Brian

    I’m perfectly prepared to believe it and would point you all to the linked post.

    We have a Secretary of State for Education for whom this sort of thinking represents the word of god.

  25. 25
    AndrewD

    josh @11,
    I would go one step further and say”Business exists for society not society for business”

  26. 26
    Trebuchet

    …Just for comparison: where I come from, there are no tests in kindergarten, standardized or otherwise; that’s because kindergarten is not school. It’s fundamentally different.

    It’s very much school here. And while there may be no standardized tests at that level, ALL grades are now heavily oriented to making sure the kiddies can pass the tests when they come along. One of my niece’s responsibilities is assessing the kids, who’ve not been in the school system before, as to whether they are going to need extra attention as they go along. Both for learning and behavior.

    My state’s current testing program: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/MSP.aspx

  27. 27
    Menyambal

    I am also thinking that it is a hoax. The fact that there is a plethora of signatures looks wrong to me, and the names could easily have been pulled off the website. The website has no reference to this letter or policy, even though there are places for both. Zand, as ghas been said, the event is still on the calendar.

    Who and why a hoax? I dunno.

    One of the pleasures of my elementary-school assistant time was hanging up the artwork that kindergartners created in Paint, on their own, just for fun. Walking the halls and seeing other work was amazing. The schools here have art teachers and rooms, and show no signs of cutting art.

    That school website shows no signs of cutting art either. I call hoax.

  28. 28
    Quodlibet

    The human brain is not so easily partitioned as to render artistic thinking and creativity entirely separate from academic achievement. On the contrary.
    .
    One of my daily blog reads is the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, presented here in nice daily snippets:
    http://interconnected.org/home/more/davinci/
    .
    I receive it in my RSS feeder along with the diary of Samuel Pepys:
    http://www.pepysdiary.com/
    and Thoreau’s journal:

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheBlogOfHenryDavidThoreau.
    Fascinating, all.**
    .
    Anyway, one of the things I enjoy about reading Leonardo is how he sees the world not only as a scientist and engineer, but ALSO as an artist. And his artistic “eye” informs how he perceives and understands the working of the world. Recent entries about trees cover not only the biology of trees, but, for example, how they respond to wind, and how the play of wind in branches and leaves influences how we see the interplay of color and texture. And then he relates this back to how leaves are attached to twigs, the variations of color on front and back of leaf, etc., and also how one would use this understanding to produce an artistic rendering. It’s a wholistic approach that makes joyous use of the whole human brain.
    .
    Few among us have Leonardo’s abilities, but isn’t his approach a good model? Why would want to aspire to anything less?

    ——–

    * I love reading these old journals and diaries every day, and I’d welcome links to others of which any of you is aware.

  29. 29
    cartomancer

    The value of art and creativity in the education and lives of such young children should be so obvious as to barely need restating. Indeed, not just in young children – in all our lives. There isn’t some magic cut-off age when the spark of creativity and the artistic urge stops being vital and useful and life-enhancing.

    I teach 16-18 year olds, and it is amazing how important creative thinking is in their learning processes. Mostly I teach Classics and History, and I try to do creative, artistic and imaginative activities as often as I can. One of my favourite activities, especially for revision, is to get my students to come up with a comedic satire or parody of the texts they have been reading, and explain the thinking behind it. Yes, they enjoy doing this, but it’s so much more than that – in order to parody a theme you have to understand how it works. You have to identify the important defining aspects of what it is. You have to think about what makes it serious and how that could be subverted to make it wry or knowing or silly. All art, be it poetry or painting or drama or stand-up comedy, requires you to engage with and interpret and remake the world. It requires understanding – demands it even. And it hones one’s ability to express oneself.

    And sometimes you get gems like Sophocles’ Antigone – the Sitcom!out of it…

    Reading, writing and problem-solving are all directly enhanced by art. Problem-solving especially, as it requires one to think outside the box, to imagine new solutions, to play with the pieces you have and see how they fit together.

  30. 30
    Marcus Ranum

    I love reading these old journals and diaries every day, and I’d welcome links to others of which any of you is aware.

    If you’re not familiar with the “letters of note” blog, you should start with this one:
    http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/i-am-your-fellow-man-but-not-your-slave.html

  31. 31
    D Carter

    @3: This could lead to no advertising?
    OK, so see there is a silver lining.

  32. 32
    brianpansky

    On a related note, I find it odd that the stereotype of engineering (what I’m studying in university) is to be distanced from art.

    To me they go hand in hand. When I was young everyone thought I should be an artist.

    Art can involve a lot of engineering. Design, practical methods to achieve various effects, and desired impact on the end-user of the product.

    Engineering can have a lot in common with art. Creativity is often needed to get from a problem to a solution, certain levels of abstraction are required because reality gets translated into math models and vice-versa, and anyone should be able to see similarities between creating science fiction and doing engineering.

  33. 33
    brianpansky

    *and by “stereotype of engineering” I mean that my fellow students themselves think that art is just this weird thing that engineers don’t do.

    -______-

  34. 34
    badgersdaughter

    Brian, as a classical musician unaccountably thrown into training engineers to use engineering product database software, everyone where I work knows I believe that engineering is a creative field, literally a field where things are created, that requires creativity to solve things, that requires insight and talent. All the engineers (including the software engineers) pat me on the head and think I’m so cute. :p

  35. 35
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    Quodlibet @# 28:

    I love reading these old journals and diaries every day, and I’d welcome links to others of which any of you is aware.

    I recommend the journals from the Lewis and Clark expedition. Not only do they cover a stunning array of topics, but they also make it clear how useful and necessary art was in reporting on the crew’s survey of geography, wildlife, anthropology, and other areas of interest.

  36. 36
    blf

    I am also smelling “rat”, and a particularly unpleasant one. Whilst the names and other details seem to be “valid”, the letter is very much at odds with what is on the obvious websites (the school’s, the district’s, …). I could not find anything to suggest the person who publicized this “letter” is a crank, so (at the moment) I am also tending to assume he has been fooled.

    The whole thing smells: There seems to be no (reliable) confirmation, no obvious prior history of nonsense, and there is a prior history of sensible statements and actions (e.g., the current, albeit unfortunately undated, Principal’s Message).

  37. 37
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Al Dente @5:
    More like “Jesus loves me, this I know”.

  38. 38
    anthrosciguy

    That’s enough, Paul; this is going on your permanent record.

  39. 39
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Marcus Ranum @30:
    Thanks for that link. I

  40. 40
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    carolw3

    Where do they think advertising comes from?

    The deepest pits of Perdition? Seriously, the last goddamn thing the world needs is more advertising.

  41. 41
    Alex

    @Sastra

    “After all, we’ve got to prepare your kids for their future roles as biochemical engineers, and theoretical physicists.”)

    I object!
    Who says that theoretical physics can’t be a deeply creative process which requires individuals with the capability to connect hitherto disparate ideas in novel ways to develop theories, an ability fostered for example by the arts. Or that we do anything useful for industry :D

  42. 42
    Sastra

    Alex #41 wrote:

    I object!

    Yeah, so do I. In addition to your point — who the hell would think that a viable, in-demand, highly marketable career path of the future capitalist is going to be that of “Theoretical Physicist.” Yes indeed, Mom and Dad hear that one and the dollar signs just go ‘ca-ching! ca-ching!”

    The person who made this snide remark seems to be equivocating on the meaning of “materialism.”

  43. 43
    MHiggo

    A district spokesman told the Washington Post: “Yes, the letter is authentic. As it states, the Harley Avenue Primary School educators believe that this decision is in the best interest of students. I don’t have anything more to add for your consideration. Thank you for reaching out.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/26/kindergarten-show-canceled-so-kids-can-keep-working-to-become-college-and-career-ready-really/

    Students becoming “college- and career-ready” and actually being able to, y’know, enjoy childhood aren’t mutually exclusive, I hope.

  44. 44
    Thomas Hobbes

    What the f* do they think art is about? As an artist and art teacher, I say art is a great way to make children become strong readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers!

  45. 45
    woozy

    According to this it’s authentic.

    It’s a performance show, by the way, not an art exhibit show.

  46. 46
    tbtabby

    Just when I was having hope for humanity, Snopes confirmed it as well.

  47. 47
    zmidponk

    Trebuchet #26:

    while there may be no standardized tests at that level, ALL grades are now heavily oriented to making sure the kiddies can pass the tests when they come along

    A comment I’ve heard very often from folk on both sides of the Atlantic is that, these days, the principal thing taught to kids in schools is how to pass tests.

  48. 48
    robertbaden

    Seems about half the recreational dancers I know are engineers, mathematicians, or scientists.

  49. 49
    unclefrogy

    I like the headline for this post it completely encapsulates the attitude in just a few words.
    After all why would we want to foster the values of the elites in our precious childern?

    The letter shows a complete acceptance of rightness of the budget constraints I suspect (hope) are at the root of this decision to cut the frivolous things like art .
    As if we needed any more indications of the passing of the leadership of the world to other countries.
    What we need to do now is develop a large fleet of “B” arks and the sooner the better because one just wont be enough.
    uncle frogy

  50. 50
    Desert Son, OM

    I am so utterly weary of predatory capitalism: An economic system in which success is achieved when one finally stands atop the piled corpses of one’s competitors, and ultimately atop the piled corpses of one’s employees, one’s customers, and one’s environment, leaving only a gaze of wasteland and the empty chant of profit-above-all’s catechism: “Too much is never enough!” Feudalism with a marketplace: Petty lords in a race for a throne built of bones, slow death of populations by way of exploitation, debt, and infrastructure collapse instead of the broadsword. Utter disregard for connection and interdependence as a foundational aspect of human survival, and utter contempt for a vision of any future beyond the two-to-five years a balance sheet may reasonably extrapolate.

    Weary to the core.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  51. 51
    mikee

    I was so hoping this was a hoax as I just couldn’t convince myself that people were that stupid.
    All those who signed the letter need to see the following
    https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley

    I was never particularly good at art or music but I have a great appreciation for them as they enrich life. Furthermore, the skills in art translate across to other fields including science and engineering. In both of these areas drawing skills and an appreciation of shape and colour are incredibly useful.
    You can’t isolate skills into silos. A broad experience of a range of subjects at school enrich ones life and open the door to a wider range of careers.

    These absurd ideas that art has no use, and that science and engineering do not require creativity are completely ignorant and these children are going to fall behind their contemporaries, not get ahead.

  52. 52
    Inaji

    Desert Son:

    I am so utterly weary of predatory capitalism: An economic system in which success is achieved when one finally stands atop the piled corpses of one’s competitors, and ultimately atop the piled corpses of one’s employees, one’s customers, and one’s environment, leaving only a gaze of wasteland and the empty chant of profit-above-all’s catechism: “Too much is never enough!” Feudalism with a marketplace: Petty lords in a race for a throne built of bones, slow death of populations by way of exploitation, debt, and infrastructure collapse instead of the broadsword. Utter disregard for connection and interdependence as a foundational aspect of human survival, and utter contempt for a vision of any future beyond the two-to-five years a balance sheet may reasonably extrapolate.

    Weary to the core.

    All this, etched in stone. Colour me equally weary.

  53. 53
    Alan Boyle

    Josh @10

    It is chilling because it takes no account at all of the happiness of the children

    I don’t think this can be emphasised enough. I can’t think of much more sinister an attitude than “everyone should spend a quarter or more of their lives miserable, because the economy.”

    It’s not like there isn’t precedent for where this attitude leads. Look at South Korea, which averages best on Pisa rankings. Which comes with a nice dose of “ills, from poor social skills to the nation’s unacceptably high rate of youth suicide, which is now the leading cause of death among those aged 15-24.”

  54. 54
    Christine Lynne

    Wow, yeah, looks authentic. It strikes me that the letter doesn’t actually give the reasons why the show was canceled. Sure, it references new standards and college readiness generally, but as a parent, I would expect something with more content.

    Do administrators think the show is a waste of time because focus should be on academics?
    Do they wish they could do the show but teachers are too busy meeting these new standards to make it happen?
    Do they wish they could do the show but need all the class hours to fulfill the standards?
    Is this something the administrators are espousing, or are they commiserating with parents that the externally enforced standards have robbed the school of a fun event?

    The letter is full of dumbth, from the ideas expressed, to the lack of communication skills evinced, to the grammatical/format errors. Blerg. I really do wish it had turned out to be fake!

  55. 55
    chigau (違う)

    O Brave New World.

  56. 56
    David Wells

    Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but I always found some of the more “traditional” subjects: reading, writing, history, science, and even mathematics, a far better outlet for creativity and wonder than I ever found art. Art as a class always makes creativity seem incredibly forced, whereas decent teachers in other areas can find amazing ways to foster creativity and imagination in students while fostering interest in those other subjects as well.

    Among the subjects where I actually truly found anything creative happening, art and art-like classes are pretty low on the list.

  57. 57
    nich

    Among the subjects where I actually truly found anything creative happening, art and art-like classes are pretty low on the list.

    I never found a creative outlet via the core subjects you just listed so put Math on the chopping block! 2+2=Ewwww!

    See how that works?

  58. 58
    plainenglish

    Well, shucks… We don’t need any more Art than our Lord gave us in His Holy Bible. In fact, we don’t need any other book than that one real real good one, our King James Version, of course. And as for Science: That bunch thinks the world is billions of years old when the Bible has been clear as a blue sky!
    We don’t need books. We don’t need any other schools than our holy sanctuaries full right up with the truth of God.
    (I would like to ask the most intelligent and gifted among the Harley Ave. P.S. lot what is needed for education. Ask the KINDERGARTEN what they want and try very very hard in your big brain educator head to LISTEN. They will not lie to you as you do to them.)

  59. 59
    nich

    @David Wells

    Art as a class always makes creativity seem incredibly forced, whereas decent teachers in other areas can find amazing ways to foster creativity and imagination in students while fostering interest in those other subjects as well.

    As can a decent art teacher. Did you have a point beyond ragging on subject’s you didn’t find particularly interesting? A great many people are inspired by traditional art in the same way you are inspired by math and science, and a great many more believe that a grounding in the arts and humanities makes an individual well rounded. I agree with them. Also Google “Charles Darwin sketches”.

  60. 60
    ekwhite

    Christine @15:

    Apparently, this letter has been confirmed as authentic by the Washington Post. They got a reply from a spokeswoman for the Superintendent of Schools who confirmed that the letter is indeed genuine.

  61. 61
    chigau (違う)

    I enjoyed classes that I liked.
    huh

  62. 62
    Inaji

    David Wells:

    Among the subjects where I actually truly found anything creative happening, art and art-like classes are pretty low on the list.

    Well, that certainly settles matters for all people everywhere!
     
    Signed,
    A lowly artist

  63. 63
    chigau (違う)

    I also enjoyed classes that I was good at.
    huh

  64. 64
    nich

    Some Dumbass@59

    …beyond ragging on subject’s you didn’t find…

    Subject’s? SUBJECT’S? Let me guess…you didn’t find English particularly inspiring?

    I hang my head in shame…

  65. 65
    rq

    I’m so sad for the children, who probably enjoy expressing themselves in all forms of art, without the constraint of math or language practice placed on their imaginations.
    Yes, other subjects can also be creative. But this is kindergarten, where they learn all kinds of important things (like fine motor control, bodily control and spatial awareness, among other things) through art, not through math class or English or history. Especially if it’s a performance show, there’s probably music involved. And music does wonders for children’s ability to understand things like counting and fractions and timing and co-operation.
    I’m just so sad about this. :/

  66. 66
    chigau (違う)

    Come to think of it, what I was taught as ‘history’ really was pretty creative.

  67. 67
    plainenglish

    @rq…. Children are brilliant and malleable and magically aware. Fine motor control is learned in all things from math to toilet, as the need arises, (praise his hole name). Please do not suggest that these magicians cannot learn certain things within the limits of certain subject areas. WE arbitrarily assign those areas and demarcations but kids just live and learn. If we protect them. love them and allow them, they will be brilliant. Long live History and English and Art and Toilets! Which of them would you give up if you had too? Ask the children!

  68. 68
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I too think Art Class is over-hyped. There is so much emphasis on mere techniques, they don’t teach how to be creative! /sarcasm

    How is it even possible to Teach Creativity?!? Art teachers don’t *teach* creativity, they teach How to express one’s creativity in artworks. They teach What the artist was trying to convey with his work of art; to show how to express one’s creative ideas in art form. What is important is giving people the time and tools to be creative and create their own piece of art. THAT is what trains the brain to use its own resources to investigate and solve tons of “real world” problems, aside from trying to create a “masterpiece”. errm, they *do* teach more than techniques, they do teach the student to “let it flow, don’t over-analyze your output, just do it, regardless…”. Those are the precursors to creativity, and those *have* to be taught. Indirect teaching is difficult…. :-|

  69. 69
    Desert Son, OM

    David Wells at #56:

    Among the subjects where I actually truly found anything creative happening, art and art-like classes are pretty low on the list.

    Senior year of high school I took a fine-arts class. One of the things I did in that class was very low-tech print-making. First, take a common polystyrene plate and trim the raised, corrugated edge so you have just the central flat surface. Use the circular component to stencil/trace the same shape on a separate piece of tracing paper. Set the plate section aside.

    Next, in the circular frame newly rendered on the tracing paper, draw an image, whatever image you like, lightly in pencil. In my case, I drew a woman’s face with flowing hair that seemed to emerge from a crescent moon. So on one arc of the perimeter was the crescent moon shape, and flowing from that across the remainder of the circular drawing space was the stylized rendering of the woman’s face, nose, eyes, mouth, ear, and her long hair in waves as though wind-blown. I also added some stylized stars.

    Third, place the tracing paper over the polystyrene plate disc set aside earlier. Using a stylus, impress the areas around the light pencil lines over the plate disc several times to create an impression. Remove the tracing paper, and go back over the areas that were lightly depressed on the plate section with the stylus once more, this time applying greater pressure to compress the material foam material. The plate disc should now have raised areas that correspond to the traced pencil lines from the drawn image, and lower areas where you used the stylus to compress.

    Fourth, choose a single paint color. In my case, I selected a hushed gold (this was about 22 years ago, so I don’t now recall the exact name of the paint). You can do the next part in one of two ways. Either use a selection of brush sizes and carefully paint over the raised areas of the disc, or use a paint roller to paint over the disc which should apply paint to the raised sections. If you use the roller, you need to be careful not to crush the raised areas of polystyrene on the plate disc, so don’t apply too much pressure.

    With the paint still wet, take a piece of construction paper in the color of your choice. I chose black because I thought it would contrast nicely against the gold of the paint. Turn the disc over and set the wet paint side gently against the construction paper, and then use a broad weight to set on the back of the plate disc. This portion of the process is very delicate. You need to be careful not to shift the plate as it will smear the paint (or shift the paper, same issue). You also need to be careful of the amount of weight and pressure you apply so as not to crush, once more, the raised areas of polystyrene disc that are acting as the “wood block” (this process is similar to that one in terms of printing). Leave the disc for a moment, then lift off the weight, and very carefully, very deliberately lift off the disc.

    The construction paper should now show a printed image in the paint color you chose of the block drawing you did. You can keep applying paint and keep pressing prints as long as you have paint and paper. Eventually, with enough wear, the quality of the printing will decline, and you will need to make a new polystyrene disc, which almost certainly will not last as long as a wood block, but that was the material we had at the time.

    I made a run of 10 prints, calling the image “The Moon Woman,” and I carefully signed and numbered each one, and gave them to loved ones, including the woman I was dating at the time. Our relationship did not survive graduation and going off into the world. We moved to different parts of the U.S. and lost touch. I later learned she got married, had a daughter, and then divorced, but it turns out that, 18 years later, I ran into her again where I now live. She works at the university where I am trying to get a graduate degree, and in a total chance meeting I recognized her on campus one day, reintroduced myself, and we had a lovely moment of shared nostalgia and laughing recollection. Then, just this year, she was cleaning house in preparation for a possible move as her now-grown daughter prepares to graduate high school and leave for college.

    So one night, a couple of months ago, she knocked on my apartment door in a surprise visit, and said she had found the print that I gave her when we had dated in high school, now 22 years gone. She still had it: black construction paper, gold paint, numbered, signed. She was returning it to me now after all these years, in preparation for a move as her daughter starts an exciting new phase in life.

    I was absolutely stunned, not only that she kept it, but that she thought enough of it—and me—to return it to me as a shared memory, a marker of a time that reminds us of what has happened and makes us think about what may yet come.

    But, yeah, after all, what could I have possibly learned about things like process, patience, refinement of operations, media qualities and interactions, collaborating with others about designs, problem solving when things did not go as expected, the value of perseverance, finding some confidence in expressing myself creatively, learning to take criticism, or the surprising joy that can come from providing a meaningful gift to someone else through a work of art.

    So yeah. [sarcasm] Why do we keep art programs around, again? [/sarcasm]

    Still learning,

    Robert

  70. 70
    Amphiox

    A day may well come when all or nearly all math, science, engineering, reading, writing, etc will be done by or heavily aided by computers and machines, and the most important job skill for humans will be that which the machines cannot do, ie creativity, ie ART.

    Abd if is evenremotely possible that that day will arrive around the time these kindergartners enter the workforce….

    It’s lind of like insisting that 5 year old be taught to weave to prepare them for jobs in the textile market, 5 years before the invention of the spinning jenny…

  71. 71
    chigau (違う)

    Robert
    Beautiful story.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  72. 72
    Maureen Brian

    Lovely story, Robert. Thank you.

    As for you, twas brillig, yes indeed, art can be taught badly – as can history, as can maths. But the fact that you were taught art badly and I was taught maths in a way that took all beauty out of it is not an excuse.

    Not an excuse at all to deprive a 3, 4, 5 year old of the change to learn how to use a paint brush and several sorts of needles, how to coil a pot, how to make prints with leaves and sunlight, how to recognise and manipulate colour, how to work in two dimensions and in three.

    Fortunately I had all that and several textile crafts under my belt before I set off to the “big school” where results mattered more than enjoyment.

    If you were deprived of that then I’m sorry but, please, don’t take it away from tiny children, the pattern of whose working or not working life over the next 65 years you cannot possibly predict.

  73. 73
    plainenglish

    Robert,
    what chigau said

  74. 74
    Inaji

    Desert Son @ 69:

    I was absolutely stunned, not only that she kept it, but that she thought enough of it—and me—to return it to me as a shared memory, a marker of a time that reminds us of what has happened and makes us think about what may yet come.

    That was a wonderful story, and thank you for sharing that small piece of your life, Robert.

  75. 75
    plainenglish

    About the neutering thing now being advocated by the gawdlessite, PZ Meyers: Isn’t that an extreme solution to the PROBLEM of these little bipeds? Perhaps it would be more humane (and more likely to be approved for funding!) to remove the tongues first and do some scientifical watchies before going whole-hog and doing what-we-educators-know-is-best?

  76. 76
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Great story Robert. My experience with art was brief, some lessons after school, but sponsored by the school district, back in fifth/sixth grade. I barely made it past stick figures. But, I may have shared the room with a certain Redhead. We don’t recall meeting then, which definitely came later at a city-wide musical competition where we both were playing flute solos in Jr. High (or Middle School). I’ve noticed a lot of scientists have some musical background.

  77. 77
    brett

    The administrators probably have someone breathing down their neck about prepping students in higher grades for testing, and so they got suck in a hard place where they have to cut money and time spent on other stuff to do that. At least that’s my interpretation of what happened.

  78. 78
    timpayne

    It’s amazing, but only one person out of 70 (congrats to woozy@45) caught PZ’s (calculated?) error – this is not about an ART SHOW – it was a kindergarden performance for christ sakes. But PZ waves a rubber fish, and everyone dives in like trained seals and starts barking about the school officials being lackeys of the capitalist dogs. Crushing creativity under their jackboots.

    The truth is, a kindergarten variety show, no matter how treacly sweet, may not be worth the effort it takes, and the school officials may have made a very rational decision. I wonder if all the posters pontificating about the demise of art, will also right a few words apology.

  79. 79
    timpayne

    write

  80. 80
    chigau (違う)

    timpayne
    You have a really stupid hobby.

  81. 81
    Inaji

    timpayne @78:

    I wonder if all the posters pontificating about the demise of art, will also right a few words apology.

    I won’t, because in spite of your need to sneer at a kindergarten performance show, you conveniently glossed straight over the actual contents of the letter, which are grim indeed.

  82. 82
    Desert Son, OM

    timpayne at #78:

    I wonder if all the posters pontificating about the demise of art, will also right a few words apology.

    I wonder if some of the people who wrote about the importance of art also consider things like performance, theater/drama, music, dance, and writing, to fall under the category of art. I’m pretty sure that is at least the case for the person who posted at #69, but wouldn’t presume to speak for others here.

    ••••

    Inaji, chiagau, Maureen Brian, plainenglish, and Nerd

    Thank you.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  83. 83
    Desert Son, OM

    In re: my post at #82:

    That should have been chigau, not “chiagau,” as I incorrectly typed. Apologies to chigau for that error.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  84. 84
    J B

    MARRY AND REPRODUCE

  85. 85
    Inaji

    Desert Son:

    I wonder if some of the people who wrote about the importance of art also consider things like performance, theater/drama, music, dance, and writing, to fall under the category of art.

    I certainly do. I think it’s important to note that for many kids, art may be their only refuge. That was the case with me, and I grew up before everyone thought it was okay to cut one art class out after another, in favour of things like sports programs.

  86. 86
    Maureen Brian

    So what’s in a kindergarten variety show, except costume and set design and make-up and music and lighting and, if they’re lucky, sound systems?

    And what do they learn except give and take or confidence or working to a deadline or diction or voice projection or singing or dancing or working creatively with others?

    Nah! Total waste of time! Send them down the mines!

  87. 87
    Inaji

    @84:

    MARRY AND REPRODUCE

    Gee, there’s an off the script, creative comment. :eyeroll:

  88. 88
    nich

    timpayne@78:

    It wasn’t drawlin’ art but the purformin’ kind? Well shee-it on a shingle! That makes it OK! I’m saaaaawwwrrry!!!

    But seriously, did you read the fucking letter before you shit your thoughts on the thread? Now go study for that Turing Test. You might pass one day.

  89. 89
    robertbaden

    wonder if the school system is getting rid of sports as unnecessary for college or employmet as well.

  90. 90
    unclefrogy

    they may indeed be under budget and time constraints and decided that instead they would De-emphasize this show in favor of a more academic approach. That is not what I took away from that letter.
    What I understood was that they did not see any benefit from a show, like being at ease in front of people and learning to do things. there was little regret for the choice expressed about it in fact it is rather easy to hear disdain toward this kind of activity.That is what people are replying to it is the casual brushing off of the whole idea of creative endeavor in favor to “academics ” seemingly without acknowledging the importance of such activities in academic achievement.
    One of the purposes of such a thing as a kindergarten variety show and kindergarten in the first place is to help the little kids transitions into the larger world of people outside of their immediate family without Mom being right by their side all the time.
    a variety show in which they have to stand up in front of strangers and do and say something that they learned for that very purpose is indeed a monumental undertaking and a great accomplishment, even if it is sickeningly sweet and silly to a grown up it is not to them.
    The things learned in such activities will get much use in doing presentations or doing a job interview if you have to connect it employment later on.
    uncle frogy

  91. 91
    Desert Son, OM

    Inaji at #85:

    I certainly do.

    I had a feeling you did ;)

    I think it’s important to note that for many kids, art may be their only refuge.

    Excellent and very important point. I once attended a poetry slam competition in Chicago where all the performers were economically disadvantaged individuals from some of the poorest sections of the city’s west and south sides, including areas rent by violence and neglect. Almost all were people of color, and for a few English wasn’t their first language. They had gathered together to work on creating art, and then gathered together to put it on display to make the world a better place, and asked the city to stop by and see what they could see, hear what they could hear.

    Mind-blowingly awesome event, standing ovations, call-and-response, cheers, tears, laughter, triumph. It was breathtakingly beautiful human rockitude.

    And, of course, it was performance. Poetry is a wonderful written form, but much of its power really emerges when it is rendered orally. Hell, even the act of hanging a painting on a wall in a gallery is a performative act.

    Thank you again. Cheerful scratches under chins for the rodentia. :)

    ••••

    Maureen Brian at #86:

    Thank you for that post. Excellent points about the diversity of skills and applications that go into putting together a performance, as well as the benefits of the performance itself for participants and audience alike.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  92. 92
    imthegenieicandoanything

    It’s a dumb world – and today’s America sucks beyond belief, from root to leaf – but I’ll hold off believing this is real for a bit longer. It may well be, but the writing doesn’t ring true, despite the evidence so far presented that it’s legit.

    May I not be wrong in distrusting my cynicism, for once.

  93. 93
    gijoel

    CONSUME
    CONFORM
    SUBMIT

  94. 94
    plainenglish

    @unclefrogy
    “That is what people are replying to it is the casual brushing off of the whole idea of creative endeavor in favor to “academics ” seemingly without acknowledging the importance of such activities in academic achievement.”
    And perhaps an even more fundamental issue, like being alive and full instead of maybe half-dead and empty high-grades kid… it ain’t all about being a great performer in the American dream/scary dream/nightmare. Perhaps you are allowing that in your comment. My kids have helped me learn that the ‘normal’ concerns of parents regarding their children (academic achievement, for instance) are often really about the parents’ needs. Do we love our kids enough to let them lead us in their learning? Or do we simply know better… Can we listen?

  95. 95
    unclefrogy

    let try again to see if I can say it more clearly not something I am very good at I know OK.

    One of the ideas expressed in the letter was the need for the children to succeed in the academic world in order to have a successful future. By the way they so causally dumped the show and there by all artistic work was to imply it was unimportant to academic success that is a profound mistake and if that attitude persists and comes to dominate education it may well spell the end of the U.S. being a leader in the path of human history going forward.
    These studies are of great value for the individual students and our civilization as a whole.
    A very good way to listen to the children as you suggest is to encourage self expression through the arts!
    uncle frogy

  96. 96
    lorn

    Better yet, if you fire the cafeteria and janitorial staffs you can put the children to work learning valuable life lessons suited to their job opportunities, slinging hash and scrubbing toilets.

  97. 97
    eternalstudent

    I am an engineer. I knew that was what I wanted to do ever since elementary school. I am currently in a field that requires a great deal of rigor and analysis. My math and science training is serving me well.

    However one thing I notice is the very best engineers have a significant artistic bent. The best are also quite good at art. It outwardly manifests as a hobby because engineering pays the bills better.

    But engineers with an artistic bent figure out innovative, effective ways to solve problems. Which not only advances the state of technology but also reduces costs and increases profits.

    Cutting art is stupid.

  98. 98
    Ing

    Ironically, this pressure to use school for job training is self defeating. The machine has a surplus of cogs- labor in pretty much every industry is over-supplied. Our solution to this problem is to spend more time and energy training our children to be cogs for a machine that doesn’t need them.

    I think you miss the point. The machine of neoliberalism REQUIRES a vast surplus of cogs. There needs to be a plentiful supply that can be easily swapped in and out so as to keep costs low and ensure employee sorry I mean, Cog, obedience.

  99. 99
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The machine of neoliberalism [conservitism] REQUIRES a vast surplus of cogs.

    FTFY. Neoliberalism requires people able to make a living at what they find appealing. Be it art, finance, management, or science.

  100. 100
    carlie

    Learning how to perform in front of people is crucial to succeeding in most jobs. You don’t just get to sit at desk by yourself all the time – you have to perform for clients, you have to perform for your boss, you have to perform to get a raise or get a promotion or seal the sale or get the investor etc. and etc. and etc. Knowing how to stay composed while people are staring at you and still get across the message you need to get across is vital. You can be a fine engineer if you can’t deal with people. But you’ll never be a manager in your department. You’ll never own your own company. You’ll never move up.

    I’ve noticed a lot of scientists have some musical background.

    I lost myself in joy in the things I did in science class. But my life revolved around choir and piano. That was where I got all my friends, that was where I loved being, that was where everything was good. My best school memories aren’t of dissections, they’re of being in school musicals. I don’t remember cramming for tests, but I remember practicing over and over for state competition.

    I just spent all evening watching a family of amazing professional musicians do a concert with the local high school students. Choir, band, orchestra, high school, middle school, the next school district over. They came in and spent two days with them, practicing and teaching and getting these kids excited about music. I have never seen such energy and dedication. The kids have been over the moon in how impressed they are with these people. Watching them in concert tonight, you could see on the kids’ faces that this was something these kids will never, ever forget. They spent over an hour in line after just to meet the artists and get autographs signed, and they were amazing and talked with the kids and took pictures with them and just kept on going. There is simply so much value in things like this that it boggles my mind to think that there are people who count it as unnecessary and nonvaluable.

  101. 101
    woozy

    It’s amazing, but only one person out of 70 (congrats to woozy@45) caught PZ’s (calculated?) error – this is not about an ART SHOW – it was a kindergarden performance for christ sakes. But PZ waves a rubber fish, and everyone dives in like trained seals and starts barking about the school officials being lackeys of the capitalist dogs. Crushing creativity under their jackboots.

    Um, what?

    The truth is, a kindergarten variety show, no matter how treacly sweet, may not be worth the effort it takes, and the school officials may have made a very rational decision. I wonder if all the posters pontificating about the demise of art, will also right a few words apology.

    Um, what?

  102. 102
    Donna Gratehouse

    Oh no, we can’t neuter them! They have to produce more serfs and cannon fodder at some point.

  103. 103
    chris61

    At first I thought this was a hoax but since apparently it isn’t, I wonder if it’s an effort to garner public support for many educators’ objections to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

  104. 104
    anuran

    Any but the most simple-minded problem-solving requires creativity, mental flexibility, expression and the ability to think non-linearly. Art develops these and other important mental attributes. Any educator worth his or her salt knows this.

    The school is lying.

  105. 105
    DanDare

    Flowers are Red – Harry Chapin

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeJJOjb7fj4&feature=kp

    The little boy went first day of school
    He got some crayons and he started to draw
    He put colors all over the paper
    For colors was what he saw
    -

    And the teacher said, “What you doin’ young man?”
    “I’m paintin’ flowers” he said
    She said, “It’s not the time for art young man
    And anyway flowers are green and red”
    -

    “There’s a time for everything young man
    And a way it should be done
    You’ve got to show concern for everyone else
    For you’re not the only one”
    -

    And she said, “Flowers are red young man
    And green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than they way they always have been seen”
    -

    But the little boy said
    “There are so many colors in the rainbow
    So many colors in the morning sun
    So many colors in the flower and I see every one”
    -

    Well the teacher said, “You’re sassy
    There’s ways that things should be
    And you’ll paint flowers the way they are
    So repeat after me”
    -

    And she said, “Flowers are red, young man
    And green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than they way they always have been seen”
    -

    But the little boy said
    “There are so many colors in the rainbow
    So many colors in the morning sun
    So many colors in the flower and I see every one”
    -

    The teacher put him in a corner
    She said, “It’s for your own good
    And you won’t come out ’til you get it right
    And are responding like you should”
    -

    Well finally he got lonely
    Frightened thoughts filled his head
    And he went up to the teacher
    And this is what he said
    -

    And he said
    “Flowers are red, and green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen”
    -

    Time went by like it always does
    And they moved to another town
    And the little boy went to another school
    And this is what he found
    -

    The teacher there was smilin’
    She said, “Painting should be fun
    And there are so many colors in a flower
    So let’s use every one”
    -

    But that little boy painted flowers
    In neat rows of green and red
    And when the teacher asked him why
    This is what he said
    -

    And he said
    “Flowers are red, and green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen”

  106. 106
    Maureen Brian

    And here’s the lovely Sir Ken Robinson on that very topic. He’s a real teacher and this is what we need all teachers to be –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY – though each in an individual way, please.

  107. 107
    carlie

    I have learned to not pick on people for spelling and grammar mistakes, as some people have learning disabilities that affect their ability to get everything correct, and I’m impressed with those for whom English is a second or fifth language and don’t expect them to get everything correct.

    However, given timpayne’s (at 78) condescending attitude and insulting tone about how variety in learning styles via art is unimportant, and given that clear communication is part of what performance art teaches, and given that subjects such as writing skills and other liberal arts generally get lumped in with fine arts by people who make such comments, I have no problem pointing out that in addition to his homonym error that he did correct, he also had a sentence fragment, an incorrectly placed comma, and misspelled christ’s sake. That makes me think that the importance of the arts may well fall into the category of “things he doesn’t know he doesn’t know”.

  108. 108
    consciousness razor

    That makes me think that the importance of the arts may well fall into the category of “things he doesn’t know he doesn’t know”.

    That’s one possibility. On the other hand, his comment may itself be a sort of performance art, so we should probably treat it with reverence. It may be that its pointless inanity is ironically and self-referentially provoking us into conceiving of all performance in those terms: a devastating criticism of humanity’s limitations, if there ever was one.

    The truth is, a kindergarten variety show, no matter how treacly sweet, may not be worth the effort it takes, and the school officials may have made a very rational decision.

    How enlightening the truth may or may not be.

    I wonder if all the posters pontificating about the demise of art, will also right a few words apology.

    I don’t know about you, but to me, that just screams “look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

    We are despairing, timpayne. I’m sure we’ll get to the apologies one of these days.

  109. 109
    Quodlibet

    Marcus Ranum @ 30 and
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam @ 35

    Thank you for the links! I will enjoy those.

    —————

    Relevant to this discussion: Today (4/27) is the birthday of Roger Tory Peterson, the American artist who created the first field guide for easy identification of living birds in the field (as opposed to shooting first and examining at leisure, as had been previously done). He utterly transformed how people perceived birds and was a catalyst in making birdwatching popular, a factor that helped us understand our environment and take steps toward better protection and stewardship. The Peterson Field Guides also helped people learn about trees, flowers, and all sorts of living creatures in addition to birds. My mother’s old battered copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds was my childhood bible. My own copy, now superceded by newer field guides, nonetheless retains its place as the first of my many field guides.
    .
    With Peterson, art was his means of perceiving, understanding, and analyzing birds and bird behaviour, AND his means of communicating his understanding to the world. His life story, particularly his early years is very interesting, and is just one example of how and why the arts need not, nor should not, be partitioned from other fields of study or endeavors.
    .
    The Peterson bird guides include pages of silhouettes, a useful aid for those learning to ID birds at a distance. Currently at the New Britain (CT) Museum of American Art is Wondrous Strange, an exhibit of works by James Prosek in which the artist includes Peterson-style silhouettes as part of his commentary on how we perceive nature. From the museum website:
    .

    James Prosek’s work takes its inspiration from the long tradition of natural history painting; from animal depictions on cave walls to the works of Albrecht Dürer, William Blake, and John James Audubon. His contemporary influences are wide-ranging, from Lee Bontecou and Mark Dion to Martin Puryear and Eero Saarinen. In particular, Prosek’s work is conceptually focused on how we name and order nature, including the limitations of language in describing biological diversity. His art challenges us to reflect on how our culture, our priorities, and our values are manifested in systems we use to classify and harness nature. The paintings, monumental watercolors, and sculptures in the exhibition range from realistic to fanciful, though all are rendered with meticulous precision and detail. Many are the result of extensive travel, collecting trips and biological expeditions to places as distant and diverse as Suriname and Kyrgyzstan. Ultimately, it’s the realms that science cannot quantify or solve and the power of personal experience that are Prosek’s fertile ground.

    It’s a very interesting exhibit, provocative and beautiful at the same time. Well worth a vist. The exhibit closes June 8.

    http://www.nbmaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=56#prosek

  110. 110
    David Marjanović

    FTFY. Neoliberalism requires people able to make a living at what they find appealing. Be it art, finance, management, or science.

    No, you’ve misunderstood the term. Neoliberalism has next to nothing to do with the peculiar American meaning of “liberal”. It’s about being liberal on economic matters, meaning laissez-faire. It’s the economic policy of Clinton, Blair and their successors: privatize, deregulate, remove barriers to free trade, outsource.

  111. 111
    johnstumbles

    See also many of Teacher Tom‘s blog posts, e.g. this and this.

  112. 112
    Inaji

    Quodlibet:

    Today (4/27) is the birthday of Roger Tory Peterson, the American artist who created the first field guide for easy identification of living birds in the field

    I have two of his guides, they are indispensable.

  113. 113
    eigenperson

    #100 Carlie:

    However, given timpayne’s (at 78) condescending attitude and insulting tone about how variety in learning styles via art is unimportant, and given that clear communication is part of what performance art teaches, and given that subjects such as writing skills and other liberal arts generally get lumped in with fine arts by people who make such comments, I have no problem pointing out that in addition to his homonym error that he did correct, he also had a sentence fragment, an incorrectly placed comma, and misspelled christ’s sake. That makes me think that the importance of the arts may well fall into the category of “things he doesn’t know he doesn’t know”.

    Talk about argumentum ad homonym….

    … Thanks for coming, aisle bee hear all weak.

  114. 114
    saganite

    Momo was right, I tell you. The Grey Gentlemen are transforming the kindergartens into child depots.

  115. 115
    Jason

    Capitalism.

  116. 116
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    … and we now take you live to:

    Special Meeting of the [Board of Education] April 28, Executive Session 7:30 p.m. Public Discussion 8:00 p.m. Middle School Auditorium

    The Board will be meeting in executive session regarding negotiations[,] followed by a public discussion at approximately 8 p.m. regarding the kindergarten spring program.

    http://www.elwood.k12.ny.us/news/#17549

    Stay tuned!

  117. 117
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Apparently no-one else but me stayed tuned. (Hmmm.)

    Today:

    District Statement Regarding Kindergarten Show

    The district certainly recognizes and appreciates the concerns of those parents who object to the replacement of the Harley Kindergarten performance with Game Day. However, we support the decision of our educators and believe it is important to recognize the rationale at work in this decision.

    Elwood Union Free School District only offers a half-day program for our kindergarten students due to financial constraints. But that does not mean we do not have significant goals for our youngest learners. In fact, one of the key goals established this year is to ensure that every student is reading at least at grade level by third grade, which will prepare them for the newest rigors of learning and assessment they will experience. Our educators believe that the traditional kindergarten performance requires multiple days away from classroom work for preparation and execution, and together with the lost instructional time this year due to poor weather, is not the best use of the limited time we have with our youngest learners.

    http://www.elwood.k12.ny.us/schools/harley_avenue_primary

    Rather ironically for the OP and everyone who characterised this as corporate conformity imposed on America’s vibrantly creative young, if you actually watch last year’s show (link upthread), it’s pretty much Greet Our Important Special Guest! Stand Up! Sit Down! Sing in Unison! (Repeat!) ;-)

    I’m also pondering culturally-specific lyrics to The Wheels on the Bus. At Harley Avenue, the kids go “bump, bump, bump”, “all through town”. Here in Blighty they go “chatter, chatter, chatter”, “all day long”. Coincidence?!

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