Must it be tied to a career?

Schools are political institutions, and politicians can be unclear about their intentions and their messages.  Former Washington, DC, schools chief, Michelle Rhee, and Sacramento, CA, Mayor, Kevin Johnson, are currently promoting education reform that calls for even tougher standards.  Rhee says of her own children, “They suck at soccer.”  She says this to support her argument that, even though they play soccer, they are not good and they will not play soccer as a career; why would we promote students in the education setting if, in fact, they are not achieving those academic standards.  Her associate, Johnson, suggests that there are collaborative ways to address reform options, including collaborating with other community agencies to provide services (Harrington, 2011).

The message of Rhee and Johnson appear conflicted, though.  On the one hand, the children are having an experience – soccer – at which they are not proficient, according to Rhee.  She acknowledges that they will not play as a career, yet she allows them to have the experience of playing soccer.  Does this mean that she values the experience of soccer, even though there is not, in her estimation, a direct link to future employment?  If so, then it seems that she does place some value on experience.  Dewey supported the experience of art education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Participation in art, in this perspective, was to allow the child to do what he or she wanted without teacher intervention or direct instruction.  He believed this lent to the development of a creative intelligence, whereby an art education fostered other creative abilities.  It was a concept of the wholeness of one’s experience: humans’ feelings and thoughts worked together to help a child learn both values and facts (Eisner, 1972).

Eisner, E. (1972). Educating artistic vision. New York: MacMillan.
Harrington, T. (2011). Notable pair push education reform. Contra Costa Times. April 24, 2011, p. A19.


About mundyviar

Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a newly relocated music teacher in the Palm Springs Unified School District of California, USA. For the past 18 years, he served the students and families within the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. In this role, he discovered the need for a reevaluation of the roles, purposes, and directions of scholastic music in a changing community and in a changing economy. The direction of his doctoral work was largely influenced by this experience. He researches the attitudes, levels of satisfaction, and lifelong learning effects of music training both inside and outside of the traditional school experience, with an eye on the roles that community based organizations may play in this. Prior to his assignment as a public school music teacher, Dr. Viar served as a Program Director for the Blue Devils, an internationally revered youth organization dedicated to performance excellence, also based in Concord, California, USA. During his time with the Blue Devils, the "B" Corps was reinvigorated and performed with renewed excitement, proficiency, and levels of success. Under Dr. Viar's guidance, BDB performed in the 1997 Drum Corps International World Championships in Orlando, Florida, and the 1998 World Marching Band Festival in Kanagawa Prefecture Japan. Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a graduate of the Transformative Inquiry Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies (PhD) in San Francisco, California, USA. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley; Single Subject Teaching Credential from the Bay Area College of Chapman University in Orange, California; and a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Community and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University of Richmond, Virginia, USA.
This entry was posted in Arts Education, education, Music Education, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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