Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Beat Newsletter: Fall 2015

Education Leaders Hear Call to Action to Bring Arts Education to All NJ Students.

Education Leaders Hear Call to Action to Bring Arts Education to All NJ Students.

Unite on Important Role Arts Education Plays in Educating the “Whole Child”

More than 100 arts education leaders and education officials gathered in October at the Arts Ed Summit 2015 to plot the future direction for arts education in New Jersey. The group reflected on the passed and planned for the future inspired by the impassioned words of former Governor Tom Kean who urged the group to fight for arts education’s rightful place in the lives of New Jersey students.

Reflecting on his own strong support for the arts and arts education Governor Kean stated, “I guess what I’m telling you is don’t accept that something will get done in a good cause like the arts. Work for it. Do what you have to do to get it. Be a little militant if you have to be militant,” he said to the gathering held at the conference center of the state’s principals and supervisors association.

While the recent school performance reports tells us arts education is available to most students in the state, a variety of challenges remain: the majority of schools fail to offer instruction in all four mandated disciplines, per pupil arts spending has decreased and educators across the state are grappling with the rising tide of common core standards and state-mandated tests leading to the unintended consequences of displacing the value of creative work and decreased time and access for arts education.

These issues and more were addressed at the summit by leaders of the state’s top education organizations including: Mark Biedron – President, New Jersey State Board of Education; Dr. Richard Bozza – Executive Director, New Jersey Association of School Administrators; Dr. Larry Feinsod – Executive Director, New Jersey School Boards Association; Dr. Mary Reece – Director, Foundation for Educational Administration and Wendell Steinhauer – President, New Jersey Education Association.

One of the major revelations from the meeting was the total agreement that arts education is, and must remain, a key component of a complete education. Each panelist spoke of the importance of the arts in educating the “whole child, “and that both local schools and state leaders need to make sure arts education requirements are being met.

Mark Biedron, president of the State Board of Education, said a serious review currently underway will reinforce such priorities.

“This is really a tipping point right now in the area of education, and where we are with our curriculum and where we might be going in the next 10 or 15 years,” Biedron said. “Children need to be more than just college and career ready…arts education speaks to the necessary new habits of mind.”

New Jersey School Administrators Association’s Executive Director Dr. Richard Bozza noted, “We need to remember that these important parts of our curriculum — including the arts — are on par, have the same standing, as those subjects that are tested.”

During the afternoon, attendees heard from assistant commissioners of education Dr. Bari Erlichson and Kimberley Harrington. Both acknowledged the need for better communication with district and school leaders regarding the role of the arts in meeting both the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, Common Core State Standards and incorporating the arts into STEM.

The goal of Arts Ed Summit 2015 is to address current issues and develop long-term plans to ensure all New Jersey students may participate in a quality education that includes the arts. To that end, attendees met in breakout sessions to devise strategies and action steps to create the agenda for arts education in New Jersey. Many of the ideas will be incorporated into the upcoming campaignArtsEdNow.

The meeting also paid tribute to the work of former Governor Tom Kean in honor of his efforts to support robust arts education programs in New Jersey’s schools through his creation and ardent support of the New Jersey Literacy in the Arts Task Force nearly 30 years ago.

Watch the video from the Arts Ed 2015 Summit

Read the NJ Spotlight article on the 2015 Arts Ed Summit
The Arts Ed Summit 2015 was presented by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R Dodge Foundation, and the Foundation for Education Administration. Additional support was provided by Art Educators of New Jersey, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, Dance New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association and the Speech Theatre Association of New Jersey.


Blog: The Impact of The Arts A Mother’s Perspective


Submitted By Diane Jansen

Diane Jansen, mother of a sophomore in high school, weighs in on her son Davids life-changing experiences in the arts.

The arts and its world of creativity opened my son’s mind to exploring endless possibilities, not only in school and in our community, but also as a global citizen. His involvement in the visual arts has made his life infinitely richer; what I didn’t expect is that his experience would impact our entire family in incredibly positive ways as well. The arts have opened all of our eyes.

It has been amazing to watch his development as an artist – his visualization skills have enabled him to think in multidimensional ways. David looks and sees below the surface, viewing people as individuals with hopes, dreams and challenges. He has become increasingly sensitive and compassionate, and is able to understand, relate and communicate with people wherever we go.

The arts have significantly impacted his growth as a person. Through the arts, David learned first hand that our diversity is a celebration. He was first introduced to Japanese SAORI weaving and creating tapestries at the age of five. Throughout the past ten years, David has shared this art form with others in many venues. A tapestry of David’s has even been shown in Japan, and another appears in a book co-authored by Misao Jo, the founder of SAORI weaving.

These experiences have taught David to be a supporter of fellow artists and students, rather than a competitor. At Loop of the Loom/SAORI NY, the Arts Students League of New York and the Emerging Artists Creativity Hub, which is a Program of Young

Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, David has enjoyed working with people of varying ages, ethnicities, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. He always enjoys how peoples’ differences contribute to their uniqueness, and make life more

interesting and fuller for everyone.

As a mom, I find it extremely fulfilling to watch David at community events with the Emerging Artists Creativity Hub. It’s priceless to see him teach young children — especially those from inner city environments — how to weave colorful tapestries, help make mosaic quilts, and create clay sculptures. Giving back by exposing others to the art of creativity and new worlds is very rewarding for all who are involved.

David’s practice in the arts has made him a more engaged student too. Through this work, he has become fascinated with Asian Studies, learning Mandarin in school, and even teaching himself Korean. He thoroughly enjoyed being a host family for a Chinese student, and has a great interest in studying abroad. That confidence has spilled over into other areas. In the Junior Statesmen of America Club, David has had an opportunity for public speaking. Through the Model UN Elective and activities, David’s used his ability to understand complex issues, allowing him to see varying perspectives and participate in conflict resolution and developing solutions. His arts learning has also increased his deeper understanding of language arts, creative writing, and even his construction of well-crafted papers in Science and History.

I could not be more overjoyed and humbled by the impact the arts have had on my son, his work, and his development as a wonderfully multifaceted human being. And I am grateful every day for his relationships with the arts — they are truly allowing David to see not only his potential, but also a world filled with exciting opportunities.

NJ School Board Candidate Survey Results

1800 school board candidates share their views about arts education with voters in their district as a public service.

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