Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Very Special Advocate....

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz is a huge supporter of fine arts education.

I had the pleasure of talking to Indiana Superintendent of Education Glenda Ritz this evening and I can tell you one thing, she is acutely aware of the importance of fine arts experiences in the lives of children.  I am very confident that Supt. Ritz will be one of our most important art advocates for the coming years. I look forward to visiting with her and many of our Indiana State Lawmakers very soon. Please consider joining us on Feb. 14 for Arts Advocacy Day. Check with me at campak14@yahoo.com if you are interested in this event or you can register here at the Indiana Coalition for the Arts website.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Said....

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. "

You can read Dr. King's essay on education here:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Will Indiana State School Funding Keep Pace With Inflation?

If newly elected Governor Pence believes it is ok to cut public education further by offering a meager 1% increase in school funding, a 1.1% decrease when one takes into account the 2012 average rate of inflation, then Hoosier school children's opportunities for fine arts learning and imaginative and creative growth will certainly be at risk across the State of Indiana.
Send Governor Pence a message that we cannot afford future cuts to education especially since the $300,000,000 shortfall from 2011 has not been made up.

Here is the link for Governor Pence.
Here are a few talking points you can copy and paste into your message:
  • Please reconsider your education budget. Many of the State of Indiana's public school fine arts programs were marginalized or cut due to the $300,000,000 shortfall from 2011. Their are so many reasons to keep the arts strong in Indiana schools. I urge you to reconsider your budget proposals.
  • Fine arts education and the creative thinking skills learned in the art room and the music room is related directly to economic development. According to a 2010 IBM survey of over 1500 CEO's of major corporations from across the world, creativity is the number one factor in the success of their companies. The art and music programs are the centers of creativity development in our schools.
  •  Education funding must include consideration for the preservation of existing fine arts programs. 
  •  The creativity of our children is a national resource we cannot afford to waste.
  • Children need fine arts educational experiences that empower the imagination and enhance the capacity for creativity and invention.
  • Creative thinking skills fostered in music and art transfer directly to STEM professions. STEM learning in our schools should not be a "fill in the blank" experience. The arts epitomize hands on learning in our schools and are critical for developing problem posers and problem solvers.
  •  Neural networks within the brain’s operating systems are stimulated, strengthened and expanded when children are engaged in high quality art and music education experience. Visual arts learning experiences strengthen children’s attentional memory and music educational experience trains the brain’s capacity for working memory. 
  • There are three basic skills children need if they want to thrive in the knowledge economy: the ability to communicate effectively; the ability to collaborate, and the ability to do critical thinking and creative problem-solving. One cannot make the claim that quality, world class educational experiences are being provided for Hoosier school children if subjects and programs specifically designed to foster creative problem solving are removed from the curricula.
  • Fine Arts education experiences are critical for a well rounded education.   Human beings are hard wired to think and dream in visual images. Ideas and intellectual property dependent upon visual thinkers will become assets in the new economy of the 21st Century. The refinement of the imagination as developed through the visual arts will provide future designers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, professionals and others with the creative edge they will need to compete in an increasingly competitive and uncertain future.
  • Students thrive in schools where art and music are present in the curriculum. When educational experience is monotonous and based on tedious pencil and paper seat work, learning often times goes’ into one ear, and out the other. This fact is extremely important for policymakers to consider.  Results from the latest High School Survey of Student Engagement, conducted by researchers from Indiana University with over 350,000 high school students participating from across the U.S. reveals 67% of students did not feel engaged during their school years. Upon further examination of the survey, students reveal subject areas like art, music and drama provide them with significant opportunities for personal engagement with their learning. Disengaged individuals frequently drop out of school resulting in higher crime rates, lack of unemployment opportunities and a myriad of other wicked socio economic problems. Public schools are the backbone of our communities. The health of our public school system affects us all.
  • We  know that children thrive in schools that provide regular quality fine arts experiences.

A boy alters the design of his cardboard glider.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Subverting Indiana Voters....

When Glenda Ritz was selected as new Indiana Superintendent she garnered more votes in the state than any other candidate running for public office except for President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Legislators in the state are trying to shamelessly subvert the will of Indiana Voters by marginalizing her position as chair of the Indiana State Board of Education.
If House Bill 1251 and House Bill 1309 are passed in the Indiana General Assembly, over 1,332,700 voters in Indiana who sought stability and support for their public schools will be marginalized.
Indiana citizens should be appalled by this outrageous meddling.
After reading Karen Francisco's article, you can contact your legislators here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What is the number one attribute business leaders say is critical to their success?

Thinking about cutting the arts? Think again:

IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success

ARMONK, NY, - 18 May 2010: According to a major new IBM (NYSE: IBM) survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, chief executives believe that -- more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision -- successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity. Read the rest of the report here.

Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein on Creativity

The authors of "Sparks of Genius" discuss the importance of fine arts education in the development of human creativity and why it is important for the future of science.

Education is not just about what we are putting into the brain, it is how it is done. What is happening to the brain while we are involved in the learning process is just as important as the content we are putting into it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Where are fine arts program cuts happening in Indiana?

I am collecting general information of fine arts program cuts that have occurred in the last few years. Any info you share with me will be confidential. If you are interested in sharing your info, please contact me at campak14@yahoo.com. Thanks so much! Clyde
A second grade boy expresses his ideas in a large drawing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Arts Advocacy Day February 14th

The Indiana Coalition For the Arts will hold their annual Arts Advocacy Day at the Indiana State
Capitol on February 14th. I will share more information on this important event soon.
Please consider joining me and other arts advocates as we communicate the importance of fine arts experience in our schools and in our communities to members of the Indiana General Assembly.

Clyde Gaw speaks with Senator Brent Waltz of Greenwood during the 2012 Arts Advocacy Day.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arts Education At Risk Again....

Back in 2010, Robert Sabol published the results of a study from a national survey he conducted in which 3412 visual art teachers responded to qualitative and quantitative questions regarding the impact the No Child Left Behind Act had on their art programs. To my knowledge, Dr. Sabol's study, gives us the clearest picture yet of the affect NCLB has had on programs devoted to the development of creativity in U.S. Schools. The results are not pretty:
  •  Respondents reported that NCLB has had negative effects on scheduling, workloads and funding for their visual art education programs.
  •  NCLB has had limited negative consequences on the areas of staffing, teaching loads and enrollments.
  • Respondents reported that NCLB’s focus on assessment has had unintended secondary consequences on student learning, including a narrowing of students’ interests in learning and
    exploring a broad range of content.
What has changed since? Race to the Top.

From my perspective, RttT emphasizes teaching to the test and the narrowing of the school curricula even further than NCLB.

Now, to complicate matters: According to a recent U.S.D.O.E. report on arts education, program funding devoted to creativity development in U.S. schools has stagnated. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan states: "... there have not been significant national declines in the availability of music and visual arts instruction in elementary and secondary schools."

 Secretary Duncan states we are not experiencing significant declines from a vital area in education that has already been marginalized? This is not good for children.

Add to this situation the state and federal funding dilemma schools face in this age of austerity and children are at a higher risk of having their fine arts learning opportunities reduced even further.

Let me just say that as schools are charged with the immense task of developing the future inhabitants of civilization, children's creative capacities are an aspect of their education that should never, ever be neglected.

If you have not communicated the importance of arts education funding in our schools, I urge you to contact your Indiana Legislators here:

Not sure who to contact? You can find Indiana and U.S. Legislators here.

Need advocacy talking points? Find them here:

Your efforts are critical for the preservation of creativity development and fine arts learning opportunities in our schools.

Best wishes....Clyde

5th Grade boys and their 12th Grade mentor collaborate on a kinetic sculpture in art class at New Palestine Elementary.