I’ve just returned home from an Artist to Artist Meeting at Eastern Suffolk BOCES on Long Island. I found out it’s National Arts in Education Week, so let’s celebrate with some Arts in Ed great news!
Ding, Dong, No Child Left Behind is Gone!
My poor kids were both victims of this test-frenzied policy, which left the arts behind. (One on a list of reasons why the policy was destructive for our youth.)
Welcome Every Student Succeeds Act! (ESSA)
This new act embraces the arts as part of a well-rounded education.
(I’m so happy!)
STEM has been amended to STEAM, meaning that the arts have been integrated into STEM.
We also learned that New York has taken its own specific steps toward the advancement of the arts in education, even recommending an Arts Pathway for graduation! (I so would have loved that!)
I hope other states are taking similar steps. If you know of any, please share. We need to spread good news in this country!
I’ve offered school programs since my first book came out, and I’m fortunate in that my Revolutionary War theme ties to the Common Core. Still, I found it challenging to book visits with schools when the poor teachers and administrators were under pressure to prepare their students for a deluge of standardized tests.
We cannot standardize students! Each expresses himself in his own unique way.
It’s so wonderful to learn of this movement for creativity and individuality. Hooray for ESSA!
And hooray for Arts in Education!
I hope to be invited to more high schools, because those are the students who suffered doing No Child Left Behind. Their school budgets and curriculums were stripped bare of art in some cases. These students are in need of stimulation, and they’re at the age where they’re searching for some kind of way to express themselves in this world and make a difference. They want to make their marks, but they don’t know how. This is what happened to me when I was a teenager. I knew I was a writer, but had no idea how to make it happen — and I thought, Who am I to think I can be a writer? This is the biggest reason why I reach out to students of all ages: to show them that I’m a regular person who had a dream and set out to live it.
To learn about my school programs, please check out my “author visits” page.
I’m BOCES registered in Nassau, Eastern Suffolk, Westchester and Albany, NY. If you have a BOCES and would like me to register there, I will!
If you would like to use my books in conjunction with Arts in Education at your school, please contact me for ideas.
This is my mission, to helps people — most especially young ones — be their change. And that change will shine through with the arts.