LETTER: ‘Why are we sometimes so blind?’


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[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Why are we sometimes so blind?

Last night I testified advocating increasing the study of music and the arts, in front of the Highline School District Board.

Before I testified, there were several local teachers imploring the district to change legislation requiring very focused test procedures, limiting the curriculum to virtually eliminate time for anything but reading, writing and arithmetic. These teachers cited studies and research all pointing to the harmful effects of such limitations, along with a total lack of research to support what the federal government is requiring.

I came armed with research and studies as reported in Scientific American, showing the overwhelming benefits of teaching music to young and old alike, the very thing being cut in favor of teaching to the required testing.

We spend time and money and a great deal of effort to find out what works, then we do the opposite. Very strange creatures are we.

– Pete Daigle
Owner, d’Aigle Autoharps And Folk Instruments

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Comments

5 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Why are we sometimes so blind?’”
  1. eric says:

    Pete,

    Arts are a win-win for students and schools. As cited in this report:

    Research conducted between 1987 to 1998 on young people working in the arts for at least three hours on three days of each week throughout at least one full year, demonstrated the following:
    4 times more likely top have recognized for academic achievement
    Being elected to class office within the schools more than 3 times as often
    4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair
    3 times more likely to win an award for attendance
    4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

    http://www.americansforthearts.org/sites/default/files/pdf/get_involved/advocacy/research/2013/artsed_dropout13.pdf

    And as noted at the link, for students with low socio-economic status there is a significant decrease in the high school dropout rate. For all students the dropout rate is 7%. For low socio-economic status students with a low arts involvement, the dropout rate is 22%. And for low socio-economic status with a high arts involvement, the dropout rate is just 4%.

    Why not fund things that work?

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  2. Chris says:

    The board isn’t interested in facts. They are sycophants to Susan Enfield and her cronies. What they are interested in, is fast-tracking an enormous capital improvements bond down the taxpayers throats. Look for this bond this spring.

    BTW, I wholeheartedly agree with you about the arts. It is a very important part of education and the availability of art-related programs is so valuable.

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  3. Doug says:

    Sadly, this is all part of the Common Core State Standards, or the dumbing down of our kids, that quietly being shoved down our throats. If you are not familiar, then please do some research. Common Core is an untested, unproven system. There is not much time before it is fully implemented into HSD!

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    • Chris says:

      I’ve been researching the Common Core Standards during the last few months, and I am undecided about them. One thing I do know, is that with most hot topics these days, the issue of the CCSS has been highly politicized and some people/groups seem to be extreme in their positions.

      Some people are for them, and think they’re the best thing ever, while others view them as an instrument of the anti-Christ himself.

      It seems there’s no meaningful discussion about the pros/cons. I’ve read through some portions of the standards, and I frankly haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that it’s dumbing down anything. In fact, I feel that certain standards are fairly rigorous.

      I’m still uncertain about them, and will continue to do some additional research on them.

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      • Doug says:

        I understand what you are saying. Keep doing your research. I am no expert, so dont take my word for it…

        Look into who was involved in the development of CC. Actual educators or Special interest groups?

        Look into who funded the development of Common Core.

        Look into who is currently promoting common core. How many are government people or special interest groups with a stake in the success of CC?

        Look into how each state was financially coerced into adopting the standards before they were even finalized. We had to adopt the standards before we knew what was in them!

        Look into what the standards are based on? Is there any historical evidence the standards will acheive what promoters are telling us or are the standards based on an unproven theory?

        Politicized or not, people need to understand what is coming and how it could affect our kids, as they are the guinea pigs.

        For kicks I just did a quick YouTube search simply using “common core” and got hundreds of results that explain the issues that we should be concerned about. Videos from parents expressing their frustration and concern at school district meetings, as well as teachers taking issue with aspects of common core. The few videos I found spring common core were from people with a stake in CC success. That is pretty telling…

        Again, dont take my word for it. I just want what what is best for my kids. I am not sure what to think about the announcement of government funded Preschool!

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