ArtsUSA.org Blog

  • Arts Teacher Evaluation and Support in an Urban Reform Context
    I serve as the Educational Specialist in Visual and Performing Arts for the Baltimore City Public Schools, where I oversee implementation of curriculum, assessment, and some aspects of teacher evaluation. The district is concluding a six-year period that has been marked by several large-scale reforms that included the implementation of a funding model that placed […]
  • Arts Teachers Respond to New Evaluation Systems
    Arts teachers across the country are currently scrambling to cope with new teacher evaluation systems. Teacher support and evaluation systems have long been recognized as important means for improving teaching and learning, but states are increasingly requiring local districts to link evaluation to student growth, assign numeric ratings, and ratchet up consequences, such as using […]
  • The Kansas City Chiefs Tackle the World of Art
    Recently, I attended the opening of the Kansas City Chiefs’ new art installation at Arrowhead Stadium.  Initiated by Sharron Hunt,  and developed with assistance from local experts Jacqueline Chanda, President of the Kansas City Art Institute; Barbara O’Brien, Director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Julián Zugazagoitia, Director and CEO, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and […]
  • Kindergartners, Stage Fright, and Educator Effectiveness
    Here in Pennsylvania, we are currently mired in educator effectiveness. Before I left the elementary music classroom in 2007, my effectiveness as a teacher was measured by variations on these steps: 1. Around May 1, I would meet my principal accidentally in the hall. That person would inform me that he/she had forgotten to observe […]
  • Blind Appraisal
    What if your child (or a friend’s child) was told that because his music teacher doesn’t have a way to conclusively assess the way he plays the French horn, his seat in the orchestra would be determined on how high he scored on his spelling test?  How could you explain to him his value as […]
  • The Trifecta of Standards, Accountability, and Assessment
    Last February, when my fellow Arts Education Council members and I agreed on “the trifecta of standards, accountability and assessment” as the topic of AFTA’s September arts education blog salon, I noticed how ominous those words sound. Sitting in the council meeting, I pictured a pitchfork stuck in the ground, with the three prongs of […]
  • Standardized Testing for the Arts? Yes, Please!
    I have been teaching instrumental music in the same small inner-city elementary school district for going on six years.  I’ve worked at several schools in the district, some of which have been supportive of the arts, and some have been less than supportive.  Even in the most supportive schools, however, my classes have always been […]
  • Square Pegs: Assessment, Evaluation in Community Arts Education
    Assessment?  Let’s get real. Bringing this word up with colleagues in community arts education is like dropping a tadpole into the lemonade. They start checking status updates on their phone or make an exit to “feed the meter.” If this is you, take 5 minutes to read this. It might help. If not, you are […]

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