The Ford Foundation is one organization that is investing in efforts to integrate the arts into classroom instruction in urban schools. Read Ford Foundation: Deep In the Arts of Texas .
Madison Schools have a fine arts curriculum with standards and benchmarks in place. In addition to fine arts curricula, Madison’s public school children attend performances and there are artists-in-residences, for example. Many of these relationships were nurtured by the district’s fine arts coordinator, a position that has been vacant for nearly 9 months. Two arts issues require immediate attention:
- First: Last fall, the District’s fine arts teachers asked that the Fine Arts Coordinator be reinstated (which the school board voted to do). These same teachers also asked for personnel to be hired that could help them out in the interim, which has not been done. This has left a void in the district’s relationship with the community’s arts organizations. The Fine Arts Coordinator had served on many local committees and boards to foster the relationship between the District and the community’s arts organizations. We need to get back on track with these relationships. This is an important first step.
- Second: As a next step, I would like to see a collaborative effort form among the City, University, community arts organizations and the MMSD to explore models for strengthening an arts infused education that further supports learning in the classroom – and raises children’s test scores, especially for low income and minority children. Test scores from various parts of the country are showing the positive links between arts and test scores.