Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Youth Art Month at the Indiana State Capitol!

Lots of families with their student-artists today! A great crowd I'd estimate around 600 or so!
Proud parents take snapshots of their student-artists!
A great group of artists from all around the State of Indiana pose with 2013 Indiana Teacher of The Year Suzanne Whitton!
Indianapolis Public Schools art teacher Ms. Said poses with her student.

2013 Indiana Teacher of the Year Suzanne Whitton addresses the audience.
Mindy Stephenson and Kheira Adda are co-chairs of Youth Art Month and preside over this years event.
My sincerest thanks to Mindy Stephenson and Kheira Adda for putting together an outstanding exhibition and advocacy event! Everything was just wonderful! My sincerest thanks to AEAI President Sidney Allen for her stewardship of AEAI during troubled educational times. Also my sincerest thanks to Bev Staub for her guidance and support in facilitating another outstanding YAM event! What a great time had by our artist-learners and their parents! Just a wonderful event!

Here are my comments to the audience: I wanted to talk to you today about the arts and the formation of the mind, but my students at New Palestine Elementary tell me I take up too much of their art time because I talk too much so I will try to be brief.

200 years ago, in the town of Dole, France, there was a boy who was born to poorly educated parents.

Early on, he was not very astute in academics, however, he showed an immense interest in drawing and painting. He devoted much of his early life to art and at one time considered work as a professional portrait painter. 

As he grew, his interests turned to science, and later he decided to use his powers of imagination in science laboratories. This former art student would go on to a spectacular career in bio-chemistry and is responsible for developing numerous scientific breakthroughs in germ theory, the science of vaccination and pasteurization. 

Of course I am talking about Louis Pasteur. Pasteur credited his early art training as providing him with the capacity to envision cellular activity at microscopic levels. On the relationship of art and science Pasteur said, “The illusions of the experiment form the greater part of my power!”

Art making has immense psycho-dynamic power to imbue in children the attributes of imagination, observation, intellect and perception that will serve them well into their adulthood. 

Think about it. The only subject in school that is a bonafide medical therapy is art. Art is powerful stuff. Art is science! 95% of the World’s top STEM professionals all have fine arts backgrounds. 

High quality art education programs for Indiana children is a good thing!

Unfortunately, I leave you with sad news today. Throughout Indiana schools we have witnessed art program cuts. Children’s creativity development opportunities have been reduced. High quality art programs are at risk across this state. Real dollars reaching Indiana classrooms have declined since 2002 by at least 20%. 

As a powerful parent or citizen advocate, I urge you to advocate for your children’s art program, please contact your state legislators at WWW.IN.GOV. Send your federal legislators, your governor and your president a loud and clear message either by telephone, snail mail or email to adequately fund Indiana public schools and preserve fine arts programs for your children and our future. 

We cannot afford future failures of imagination! I thank you!

Here is video of the presentations: 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Network for Public Education Calls for Congressional Investigation on Overuse of Standardized Testing

Is there too much standardized testing taking place across the country? Absolutely! The affect of the overuse and mis-use of standardized testing is having an absolutely devastating affect on education in this country. Standardized testers are all about test performance but don't care at all about the process and complexities of learning and what that means for individual children. This is problematic because it means children are objectified and their unique capacities as human beings are marginalized. There is no reason to utilize creativity in the classroom with the emphasis on standardized testing because test data is all that matters. Art programs have been marginalized or cut since Indiana adopted the test-first-ask-questions-later approach to education policy making. I urge teachers, parents and concerned citizens to consider supporting this call for US Congressional investigations of the mis-use and over-use of standardized testing. Contact your congressman here: