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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Harvard President & Jazz Legend Speak up for the Arts

Please share this with music and art teachers in your kid's schools. They deserve to hear, again & again, that they are valued and add value to the lives of our children!


It seems that the President of Harvard University disagrees with corporate education reformers. Like all halls of learning, Harvard is a mix of academics with various points of view. Some (especially in the business schools) like the idea of privatizing our public schools and the high stakes testing that produces data, while others see it the way many parents, educators & concerned citizens see it. 

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, and Wynton Marsalis, master musician, wrote a joint article for USA Today about the importance of arts education.



Wynton Marsalis and Drew Faust

Marsalis and Faust suggest, "As we lament the discordant tone of our national conversation, perhaps we should focus less on that which we can easily count. Let's instead look to the longer run as we teach our children how to practice until it hurts, to bravely take the stage, to imagine, create and innovate and — after hitting that wrong note — follow it up with the right one."

It is good to know we have Drew Faust and Wynton Marsalis on our team.

They wrote:

"We hear widespread calls for "outcomes" we can measure and for education geared to specific employment needs, but many of today's students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined. We not only need to equip them with the ability to answer the questions relevant to the world we now inhabit; we must also enable them to ask the right questions to shape the world to come.

"We need education that nurtures judgment as well as mastery, ethics and values as well as analysis. We need learning that will enable students to interpret complexity, to adapt, and to make sense of lives they never anticipated. We need a way of teaching that encourages them to develop understanding of those different from themselves, enabling constructive collaborations across national and cultural origins and identities.

"In other words, we need learning that incorporates what the arts teach us."



The musically gifted Marsalis family is from New Orleans, where Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan called Hurricane Katrina, "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans." The Marsalis family knows NOLA, and it seems they disagree. Public education in NOLA (and all over our country) is under attack. The issue of vouchers there has made it to the Supreme Court. Stayed tuned.
We must remember that education for all children must be multifaceted and stimulating. All children deserve to love learning. There is much more to it than being "college and career ready." Don't let your community fall into the PR trap being marketed to us. All of our children deserve what is offered to kids at elite private schools. We can afford it, if only our nation would get its priorities straight.


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