Remedial Systems Thinking 101
Nancy Sebring can have a free, signed copy of SWAT - Seize the Accomplishment if she wants it.
I think she could use it.
On Saturday, the Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools was put on the defensive. The district is forced to make some unpleasant budget cuts; however, a disproporationate number of jobs cut came from elementary music and fine arts. (Didn't see a single athletic position take it in the jock strap, though.)
Sebring explained her position of the situation as follows (compliments of the Des Moines Register):
Superintendent Nancy Sebring expressed frustration with having to make the cuts. "Those courses are absolutely essential because they enhance learning," she said.
But, she added, the district also has a commitment to making sure students pass core subjects and meet federal requirements. This year, nine schools in the district were identified as persistently low-achieving schools.
Has Sebring perhaps overlooked the well known correlation that music and art CONTRIBUTE to higher scores at core subjects? Simple cause and effect.
It amazes me when those in the position of decision-making power fail to see the obvious connections, the proven relationship between inputs and outputs, when they are right under their noses. It happens in business all the time, so this one isn't surprising either. Managers make short-sighted decisions because the almighty dollar says so. There must be other creative solutions to allow their elementary students to continue in the arts and music so they WILL get higher scores in math, English, and science.
If you have 20 minutes, watch the following video. You'll see what I mean. If you have children in the Des Moines school district, perhaps you should attend tomorrow's school board meeting and let them know what you think.
(One note: it is not wholly up to schools to educate children in the fine arts. Those children whose parents are committed to the arts and/or can afford to supplement the school's shortfalls will do fine. The others? Hmmmm.)
And, Nancy, your book is waiting.