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witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

Smart Talk: Arts and Education Symposium

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and witf Host | Oct 28, 2013 6:38 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, October 28, 2013:

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Guests today on Smart talk include participants and organizers from the upcoming Arts and Education Symposium taking place on Wednesday at the State Museum of PA in Harrisburg. With them we’ll explore a number of questions and topics that will be a part of the different sessions at the day-long symposium.

What is happening to the arts in PA public schools? What new system is being considered to evaluate teachers of the arts? What is the data and the research about the value of arts education and how can this research be used to advocate for the arts? What do the new national core standards mean for PA arts educators? And what has the new Arts and Culture Caucus in the PA legislature been up to since it was established less than a year ago?

Guests include the keynote speaker at the symposium, Ian David Moss. He is the research director for Fractured Atlas, an organization which supports artists and the arts. He is involved in using the power of data and research to help drive informed decision-making in the arts. He is also the editor of Createquity, an arts policy blog which is followed by thousands of arts managers and enthusiasts.

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David Dietz (left) and Ron Cowell (right) joined Smart Talk in studio.

Also joining us is Ronald Cowell, president of EPLC, the Education Policy and Leadership Center That’s a non-profit organization based in Harrisburg, which is one of the hosts of the upcoming Arts and Education Symposium.

We also welcome Mary Elizabeth Meier, the President of the Pennsylvania Art Education Association, and program director of Art Education at Mercyhurst University in Erie. And also with us will be  David Deitz, consultant at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and retired Professor of Music at Penn State University Harrisburg, who is very involved in a number of sessions at the symposium.

For more information on the Arts and Culture Symposium and a form to register, you can follow this link to the EPLC website.

Listen to the program:

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Comments: 4

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-10-28 08:34

    Dale from Lancaster emails:

    Okay, there’s been thirty minutes of chatter about the means. What about the ends? What about the outcomes and conclusions drawn from the culling of this “data.” For decades the arts in education have been on the chopping blocks of school curriculums, so what are the solutions that all this data collection leading us towards?

    • Dale img 2013-10-28 23:27

      Unfortunately, my e-mail (the first posted) was read on air rephrased. The problem is that the restated question did not elicit the answers that I had hoped. Admittedly, I did neglect to type the word "is" after the word "collection" which may have prompted the rewording of my remarks?

      At any rate, the guest Mr. Conwell hit close to where I was leading with his final remark, "Policy makers tend to be generalists, whether they be in Congress, the legislature, or on a school board, and so in the extent that we can provide them with good information, and passionate advocacy, I think we serve the cause." He is correct that policy makers are generalists, for which the indirectness of today’s conversation is nothing but gibberish. There are a multitude of folks who feel they have expert opinions simply because they have had firsthand experience as students, not excluding, I suspect, more than a few policy makers. Naturally, they can recall how the arts classrooms functioned, and what impact, import, or lack thereof, was made when they were students. So in the event of Arts Education advocacy, I think policy makers are anxious to hear something that differs form their own experience and something substantial. In this case, however, as in all those prior, I'm afraid they are still not getting the "good information" which Mr. Conwell purports. Educationists have been trying to legitimize the arts in education for many decades with the same results—the arts are the first programs to be slashed when budgets shrink, frankly, because the public is not convinced of their importance. A convincing argument has yet to be made.

      So now we're talking about collecting "data" and allowing that to inform decisions. Though I recognize the impetus, there is no assurance that from this there will be better answers. Moreover, at best this discussion was vague; not "good information." Having been an art educator myself, I understand how essential the arts are for the development of our youth, and I know how simple and eloquent a good solution can, and should, be. In my opinion the litmus test for a failed solution is an exhaustive, overly-intricate explanation, which may serve to dazzle some, but lacks true substance. Still educationists try to persuade the public with vagaries because they themselves truly do not understand how to create an unassailable formula that works. I believe experience holds the best answers, and the best place to look for those solutions is not among the theorists, but among the classroom teachers who can demonstrate consistent results for effective development of the general student—and every student, not only engaged talented, or non-traditional, learners.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-10-28 08:52

    Jeff emails:
    Is there any research associating decision makers with their own participation and experience in the arts.? In other words, are those making decisions like funding qualified? Negatively biased?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-10-28 08:54

    Stacey emails:

    There continues to be comment about how education funding has decreased drastically since a few years ago. A few years ago, districts were receiving funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which they knew at that time would decrease in a couple years. Why is it that the districts didn’t plan for this known and anticipated decrease in funding?

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