Here we are once again. Another year has come and gone. There is a chill in the air, all the leaves have fallen from the trees, and holiday music fills the air. As has been my tradition for the last five years I would ask you once again for forego any gifts for me (sorry but the hair club for men membership just didn’t pan out!) and instead bring these gifts to those who is in greater need than I based on the year that was… and the one that will be:
For Barack Obama #1 – The wisdom of all the prior presidents combined! Based on all he will inherit (a couple wars, a world economic crisis, a domestic economic meltdown) he will need the all the strength and wisdom he can channel to navigate these treacherous waters. Failure… is not an option.
For President Bush - A new tractor. Now that he is on his way out as President he will have lots of free time for brush clearing down in Crawford Texas. A new tractor is just the thing to keep him busy.
For John McCain – A way-back machine. It is clear the John McCain of 2008 was different from the John McCain of 2000. The 2000 model year was a better year for the Senator from Arizona. With the campaign now over and his chance for the presidency come and gone and the nation in crisis we could use his leadership to help bring bipartisanship to Washington… one can hope.
For Sarah Palin – A new stage manager. Anyone who allows their boss to do an interview “pardoning” a turkey in front of hundreds of other turkeys who are being slaughtered deserves to be SHOT (figuratively speaking that is!)
For Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Mike Huckabee – Lifetime Membership in the Music/Arts Education Hall of Fame. As the first presidential candidates ever to inject the importance of music and arts education into a national campaign - all have helped elevate the role and importance of these programs in the lives of our children. Now it will be up to us to keep the pressure and visibility up.
The great folks over at ArtsJournal are hosting a weeklong national debate on arts education with a tremendous cast of guest bloggers. Here is the premise:
For decades, as teaching of the arts has been cut back in our public schools, alarms have been raised about the dire consequences for American culture. Artists and arts organizations stepped in to try to take up some of the slack. Foundations funded programs to take art into the schools. But producers of art aren't primarily in the education business. Schools increasingly focused on meeting basic skills benchmarks have less and less time to make room for study of the arts. And technology has spawned a vast, crowded, and alluring marketplace of creativity competing for attention. New research Cultivating Demand for the Arts: Arts Learning, Arts Engagement, and State Arts Policy by RAND and sponsored by The Wallace Foundation suggests that a generation of Americans has not developed the knowledge or skills to engage with our cultural heritage. Without that engagement, the arts as we know them are unsustainable over the long run. Can anything be done?
The guest bloggers are:
Sam Hope, executive director, The National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA);
Jack Lew, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent at EA;
Laura Zakaras, RAND;
James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago;
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education;
Eric Booth, Actor;
Bau Graves, Executive director, Old Town School of Folk Music;
Bennett Reimer, Founder of the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, author of A Philosophy of Music Education;
Edward Pauly, the director of research and evaluation at the Wallace Foundation;
Moy Eng, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
John Rockwell, critic;
Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group;
Jane Remer, Author, Educator, Researcher
Michael Hinojosa, General Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Peter Sellars, director