Saturday, November 25, 2006

Arts in the Schools Paint Masterpiece: Higher Scores

In an era when school arts programs often have been considered expendable as budgets were tightened, the first comprehensive study of the effects of such instruction shows a statistical rise in student achievement, especially among low-income students.
The study found that art programs have a dramatic influence on elementary and high school students’ performance—not just in painting a still life or playing the trombone but also in standardized test scores. The study looked at programs across the country, including one currently used in 30 Chicago public schools.
"The people who run our schools have been looking for some hard evidence that what happens in arts classes impacts on learning. Well, here it is," said Dick Deasy, director of the Arts Education Partnership, a sponsor of the study along with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
James Catterall, a UCLA professor and co-author of the report, found that, "high arts participation makes a more significant difference to students from low-income backgrounds than for high-income students."
For the complete article


LegalBeaglette said...

Great. Except that this train seems to have left the station already…at least for the next high school being built in this county!

Is school planning centered around student needs, or Mr. Richmond's "Want" list? I'd really like to know -- because I certainly expect something more of my elected Board members than rubber-stamping whatever Mr. Richmond wants.

LegalBeaglette said...

"When well taught, the arts provide young people with authentic learning experiences that engage their minds, hearts, and bodies. The learning experiences are real and meaningful for them."

Champions of Change, Executive Summary, Page 11

"When well taught...?" I'm perusing the report, which makes some good points...but this little zinger stopped me cold.

OF COURSE "when well taught..." It's a truism that doesn't apply only to the "arts." And it's one of the reasons the "highly-qualified" requirement under NCLB is important to parents. It DOES NOT guarantee a great, or even good, teacher in the classroom, but it's a step in the right direction. The math/accounting major shouldn't be teaching language arts, the biology major shouldn't be teaching physics, etc.

Heather Brooks said...

I am *SO GLAD* for articles and studies that help show how important arts programs are. Arts make us well rounded.

I am curious as to when the *real* decision about the new high school will happen and who is going to approve the money and building of the school.

Could you maybe blog us a run-down of how it will work and when it will be decided. As in how it's supposed to be officially requested and then who approves and how exactly much is being requested and HOW it is being paid for and what forward-funding is and such?

Your blog is the perfect place for people to come and get all of the BOE info they want and seem to have a hard time getting!!!

Also, how do we, as citizens, work towards getting the school system to spend more money on the arts programs?

Do we send in letters with ideas?

Jennifer Abell said...

3291asiber - I for one don't just rubber stamp, if anything I get accused of asking too many questions. I like coming into an important decision with a clean slate, receiving all the data, processing, polling the public, and then making a decision.

Heather - I will work on the blog you suggested this weekend. As for the arts programs, I don;t know of any sure fire method. I would definitely write letters though. Send to Mr. Richmond with a copy to all Board members. It's always best to offer ideas and solutions rather than just criticize. It gives us a segue to the desired final result.

LegalBeaglette said...

I think I made my point badly...

You do ask questions (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and I wish other members of the elected Board would do the same.

This high school vision issue seems to have put the elected Board in the position of not being able to do anything BUT rubber stamp Mr. Richmond's "space and science" school.

Which reinforces the importance of Ms. Bartlett's questions -- this should be a process. What IS the process? Is it set out anywhere? Mr. Richmond entered into the 10-year Coca-Cola deal all by himself, did he not? So what prevents him from all but dictating such things as the vision for a new school?

Your approach -- to make an important decision after receiving all the data, processing, polling the public -- is what I want, too, but what I'm seeing is an elected Board that cannot do that: it isn't even involved until after the actual decision has really been made for you.

For example, the "quick, let's vote on this substation/land transfer issue -- gotta do it now -- gotta do it this way -- time is of the essence." So you vote because you got (innappropriately) pressed to do so...

The cell phone policy change of this past year? Who would you say was more in control of that -- the elected Board or Mr. Richmond? Ms. Abell, that was a circus act!

I'm looking for that kind of Board conduct to stop.

Elected Board members SHOULD ask questions. They SHOULD discuss issues in public session. They SHOULD be part of the process of directing policy, school planning, etc. They SHOULD be able to ask for reports and data -- and not be told, or made to feel, as if they are being bothersome.

LegalBeaglette said...

Re: my previous post --

The cell phone policy -- can you name another policy, originally established by the elected Board, that had language requiring Mr. Richmond's Rules to be subject to the approval of the Board?

Did that policy change at all significantly after Mr. Richmond took control of it and imposed his own? [No.]

Was the policy language "subject to the approval of the Board" maintained? [No.] Why?

And the school visitation policy? No "subject to the approval of the Board" there, for sure!

2007 will bring a change of faces. Will it bring a change in how Board business is conducted? It won't if the new Board is trained by the "This is the way we've always done it" method!

Anonymous said...

Well "3291asiber", I agree with your the wrong teachers teaching classes.
However, do you see how many teachers are leaving our county?
Why are we having to recruit from so many far away places?

If Ms. Abel is so kind, please provide us with data that would compare teachers with no experience being recruited into the county,
versus the number of teachers that stay in our county, and the number of years of these teachers that continue teaching in the county.

This doesn't include teachers that didn't like teaching so they went into administration.


Jennifer Abell said...

I have received your request and I am working on gathering the requested information.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to congratulate the administration on Radio Station Road as well as at North Point for an absolutely disgusting display of the animalistic behavior that took place at the North Point Coffee House this past weekend.

The "talent" rapping and using vulgarities galore in front of adults, parents, other students, etc. was unbelievable.

Who was in charge of this?
Is this what Richmond wants to "represent" the technology school of the county? It was extremely offensive and upsetting that these type of "acts" would be allowed to participate in a coffeehouse.

Jennifer Abell said...

For those of you unfamiliar...North Point held three coffee house performances Thursday through Saturday. All acts had to try out, were screened and then had to practice. NOt all acts made it into the show. I can only assume that "Anonymous" is refering to the go-go band that performed Friday night at the end for about 12 minutes and on Saturday night right after the intermission. I was not in attendance at these performaces but Ms. Kim Hill, the principal at North Point and other administrators and staff members were in attendance. They stated the the band was loud, but no profanity was used and they did not witness any vulgar acts or language. In addition, they said the kids loved the music, which was the loudest of the night, and got up and danced and were waving their hands, the way that teens do at a concert.
They have not rreceived any parents or spectators complaints about any of the performances or music. Please feel free to contact the school directly with any issues about the performance.

Anonymous said...

The Go Go band that performed Saturday night did use vulgarities, and had to be cut off.
They blew out one of the speakers of the lent sound system during a previous night due to how loud they were. Even though these thugs waved their hands in the air, it added zilch to the cultural aspect and zilch to showing any type of talent. It was a joke.

Ms. Hill should be ashamed that she allowed this disgusting exhibition of animalistic behavior.

There were several kids throwing things at other kids, high tension close to causing fights, threats, etc.

They obviously need someone with an inkling of what artistic talent is to screen these acts to verify that they are "appropriate" for a coffee house. These go go band were far from appropriate.

It certainly isn't shouting obscenities in full-voice screaming into a microphone, acting belligerent, and embarrassing themselves and the North Point administration.

But, what can you say, this school is going down the toilet just like the others (minus La Plata).

Jennifer Abell said...

Anonym9o9us - Thank you for expressing your concerns, they have not fallen on deaf ears. I have contacted the staff regarding the concerns and they stand by their original assessment. I would again like to encourage anyone that was in attendance and feels differently to contact the administration at the school. 301-753-1759

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ a parents opinion has fallen on deaf ears. I wasn't there but if I had been I would be the first to write a letter to the editor about it. Anyone???

Anonymous said...

This whole North Point thing is just another example of how the facts get skewed by rumor mills. Who among us did not listen during their high school it Rock and Roll, Rap, Go-Go, Pop, whatever. Many people on the island of Chuck County need a huge dose of reality and a major shot of perspective! I hear my parents come out in me more each day as I deal with my own children...we all do. With that said, even though times have changed, our standards should not. Shame on the blogger who referred to the behavior as animalistic! Even if it happened the way the blogger wrote (WHICH APPARENTLY IT DID NOT!!!), is that behavior any more animalistic than what happens at some Rock concerts in mosh pits? Could the bloggers comments be, um, "shaded" the his/her perception of a music genre (or people that like it) he/she knows nothing about?

I wonder...

Anonymous said...

This is an example of the bafoonery at the coffeehouse:

So who was the airhead that picked this as "talent"?

This type of mentality allows us to have 30 person marching bands when other states have 375 in marching bands.

I'm happy to know that the North Point administration approved of this wackery out of control "talent".

This was a COFFEEHOUSE! Not a concert, not an outdoor barbeque.

Ms. Hill and her gang of talent seekers should consider either taking this kind of raucous behavior outside, not in an $8 per person coffeehouse.


Anonymous said...

To 3291asiber:

Maybe Mrs. Abell can share with us the percentage of teachers that have core degrees in the subjects in which they teach?
How about the teacher turnover rate in Charles County?

These two items certainly have a huge negative impact in the material that our children learn, as well as AP scores with an average of a "2" across the board.

Jennifer Abell said...

I watched the You Tube clip but it is dated as last year. I assume they performed at the coffee house last year also. I searched for a video of this years performance but couldn't locate one. Just from watching last years clip, I can say it's probably not what I would choose to listen to but I didn't see or hear vulgarites or acts of vulgarity. IF you come across of video of this years performance I would love to view.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, this was just a taste of what that was like that evening.

It was disorganized mayhem, and there were vulgarities.

I say what's the big deal? Put the principal and the guy that auditioned the acts on notice.
If they are having adults, parents, grandparents, etc, clean up the act or don't allow it in.

It's a wonderful thing to exhibit the county's talent, but it has to be clean in this venue. If there is anyone in the administration that has had their senses "dulled to zero", then they don't belong in the guidance of our schools.

Isn't this a school-sponsored activity? We shouldn't have to pay $8 to hear offensive acts.

We're not talking about multiple acts. We are talking about one act during the whole evening.

Anonymous said...


I am still interested in how many new teachers are hired, how many leave the county after one or two years, as well as how many teachers are teaching a subject in which they do not have a major in that subject.

Could you get us that data?

Jennifer Abell said...

Sure I could try again, all they can do is say NO. I've been asking for this information ever since 2004, but I want it broken down by school. I have been unsuccessful in my attempts thus far. (That is too much information and too much detail and board members don't need to know). However I do recall the board getting some of the information you requested during a presentation/report...I've searched BoardDocs and can't locate it. I have sent an email requesting the information, we'll see what happens from here.

Anonymous said...


The new teacher turnover is obviously a huge problem. I wish the county and the school system would address this with as much vigor as they have attempting to build schools we don't have money for.
There is a huge housing affordability issue that little is being done about. Workforce housing threatens our school system's viability as much as anything. If teachers can't afford to live here, they will not stay.

Even in the current housing market, our county's average home sales price is over $300,000....teachers make about $ the math. There is not a healthy housing mix here in the county.

I wish there was more discussion about this.

Jennifer Abell said...

I just posted the answers to your question on teacher retention and highly qualified teachers in a new thread. Here's the link