TALBOT / PERSONAL SCRAPBOOK
Activities in and out of the Studio
Keynote Address at Texas Arts Education Association Annual Convention
|In November of 2006 I was invited to give a keynote address at the Texas Art Education Association Annual Convention in Fort Worth. During my presentation to the audience of fifteen hundred Texas art educators, I created a collage (the process was projected via video on two large screens at either side of the stage) depicting the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on arts education. (continued below)|
I started with the image on the left above, a list of many of the wonderful things about art. I then smeared black paint (which, I explained to the audience, represented the NCLB Act) over most of the background, effectively blocking out the positive qualities that art has to offer. I further obscured the background with scraps of paper and then went on to add paper fragments and more paint representing the structure of the school system, the good energies and intentions of the teachers, money (always a necessary ingredient in education) and small brightly colored pieces representing the students. The result was the collage pictured on the right above. ///// Opportunities for young people to learn critical thinking have almost been completely obliterated by the NCLB Act. Important things about education, things like Creativity, Initiative, Excitement, Wonder, Quality, and Joy, cannot be measured by standardized tests. The No Child Left Behind Act has almost completely eliminated opportunities for students to make choices. For each problem in math class there is one right answer and an infinite number of wrong ones. In English class there is, for each word, one correct spelling and an infinite number of wrong ones. In Social Studies there is, for each event, one right date and an almost infinite number of wrong ones... But in art class there are an infinite number of right ways to do things and almost no wrong ones. Rather than be a stepchild to the so-called "core curriculum" subjects, what goes on in art classes should be a model for the rest of the school. Why? Because in art class students learn to choose between more than one "right way" of doing things. As a result, art classes are where students are most likely to learn the critical thinking skills that life requires. Photo of JT courtesy of Mike Hall / Photos of Art by the artist.