How Accessible is Art Education in Oregon Schools? (by A.G.)


The Research Question:
How Accessible is Art Education in Oregon Schools?

The Public Writing: A Letter to Governor Kitzhaber

Governor Kitzhaber
Attn: Citizens’ Representative
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-4047

Dear Governor Kitzhaber:

As a current student at Marylhurst University pursuing a degree in art with the intent to teach art education in Oregon, I am displeased with the current state of affairs, particularly concerning access of art education in the Oregon School system.

Despite the fact that Oregon has a set standard for art curriculum; art education is still often in danger when budget cuts are proposed creating a contradiction within federal and local standards.  Art education has a secure place written within the law or in the state standards and yet there is a disconnect because in reality art education is so poorly funded.

I realize that in the times of economic uncertainty it seems a good idea to cut the seemingly less important classes. And I know you know how important art education is to encourage students to think creatively and solve complex problems.  While math and reading are undoubtedly important subjects for the children, what good is it really doing if they are not able to interpret what it is that they read or come up with creative ways to problem solve in math?  With so many technology jobs being created and becoming available, it is even more important that creative thinking should be as encouraged as reading and math.  Technology is a field that needs creative thinkers just as much as mathematical skills.

The Oregon art tax passed on the ballot which shows us that the general public also sees the importance for arts to be in our schools.  I find it disheartening that the school district will need to compete with organizations like the Portland Art Museum for funds.  The tax will not improve art accessibility and will continue leaving the poorer schools without adequate funding.

My concern is loosing art accessibility in Oregon, especially in the poorer schools as well as in our elementary schools.   I am writing to understand what is being done to solve the problems with art access in education and possibly to know the best way I could advocate for better art education in Oregon schools.

Sincerely,

A.G.

The Research Collection

Portland Public Schools. Portland Public Schools. PPS, 2012.Web.15 Nov. 2012.             <http:/www.pps.k12.or.us/>

Summary of site:

The website is an overview of all things happening in the Portland Public School system.  The site provides news updates as well as statements from Portland Public School’s superintendent Carole Smith.  There are pages dedicated to students and families that provide different opportunities that extend past school, like health care and food opportunities.  The website provides a lot of different information some of it gets very extensive.  The information in the curriculum section is unbalanced, writing seems to have a lot of informative curriculum information but other subjects lack a lot of information.  The art page has a lot of links to other art related sites and lists the standards but not much else.  They have a brief statement about wanting to improve art access for all children but provide no more information on how they would like to solve that problem.

How it is useful to my research:

The site gave me an understanding of how the Portland Public School system works and what issues take president. They had limited information or explanation on their stance on art education and what they plan to do to try and provide more access to it. This all helped me to understand where art education was in the scheme of things.

2. Oregon arts commission. Oregon arts commission, 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.             <http//www.oregonartscommision.org/sites/www.oregonartscommission.org

/files/access_to_the_arts16%20final.pdf>

Summary of the site:

This is a link to a document found by doing an internet search for art education access in Oregon.  It is data collected by Sarah K. Collins who’s released another document that I used for essay two.  The previous document exceeded 20 pages and was dense to read. This document essentially provides the same information but presents it in a shorter and easier to understand format.  This pdf has color and graphics in the design.  It provides us with numbers that show what arts programs are available in what schools.

How it is useful to my research:

It provides me with concise information of access to arts education in Oregon schools.  Access to arts is limited at all levels of education (K-12) but is most absent in elementary schools.  This was interesting since those are important developmental years for children it seems like it would have a larger impact on their overall performance in school in the years to come.

National Links:

3.  National Art Education Association. NaeA. National Arts Education, 2012.Web. 22             Nov. 2012. <http://www.arteducators.org/advocacy&gt;

Summary of the site:

Founded in 1947, the National Art Education Association is, like it implies, a national association for art educators.  To be a member one must be a teacher of visual arts at any level elementary to university; however they can also be researchers, scholars, teaching artists, administrators as well as museum educators.  Even students who are members of the National Art Honor Society or a university student preparing to be an art educator can also join.  The organization is on a mission to continue to educate students with art.  They believe that access to art education, and more certified art educators will benefit the students making sure they received a well rounded and comprehensive arts education.  Anyone perusing the site will find easy access to news and events as well as advocacy for arts education, research and grant opportunities.

How it is useful to my research:

It is useful to my research by providing me links to other articles that have influenced my research.  The site itself gives more insight in to how important art is in developing critical thinking and the importance arts education should have in our schools.

4. Common Core. Common Core, 2012. Web. 25 Nov.2012             <http://www.commoncore.org/ourreports.php&gt;

Summary of the site:

The web site for Common Core provides many resources.  They support the idea of arts education continuing to be placed in its rightful position, as an important core subject.  They have many articles and news links to other articles or organizations that continue to fight for arts education.  The site is in opposition of the No Child Left Behind campaign because they feel that the testing (That No Child Left Behind has supported) is too rigorous and may create situations that discourage children from continuing to achieve in school.

How is useful to my research:

This web page provides me an understanding how the school system works.  It shows me how other people have alternative views on education.  Education is a huge conversation with a lot of conflicting ideas on what needs to be done to fix a problem.  It also provides me information about how the No Child Left Behind act focuses to heavily on test scores and the adverse affects on children’s development.

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