David Snyder

Whole Child Blogwatch: Are arts holding steady?

Public School Insights, the blog of the Learning First Alliance, continues to be an excellent source of analysis when it comes to looking at news through a whole child lens. Recently, an Education Week headline read, "NAEP Finds Schools' Offerings in Arts Hold Steady," and the story noted that while there are limitations to the data, the NAEP findings seemed to push back against fears that schools were scaling back arts in the NCLB era.

Claus von Zastrow fills in some additional context

Do recent NAEP results showing arts education holding steady in eighth grade suggest that No Child Left Behind has not narrowed the curriculum? Not really.

Most evidence points to a decline in arts education at the elementary level, which the NAEP results don't directly address. (See, for example, the Center on Education Policy's 2008 study on the matter.)

Von Zastrow also points to studies showing the curriculum narrowing in other areas such as foreign language and civics. He views the concerns over curricular narrowing not as a "zero-sum game" pitting some subjects against others, but as an opportunity to explore how best to integrate content across the curriculum.

Is your school narrowing or broadening the content of the curriculum? 

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