The Blue Moon
KAC HomePublicationsJuly / August 2003

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The Blue Moon is published bi-monthly by the Kentucky Arts Council. Please send comments, questions and information to The Blue Moon, Kentucky Arts Council, Old Capitol Annex, 300 West Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601-1980 or call 502/564-3757V/TDD Toll Free: 1-888-833-2787
E-mail: kyarts@mail.state.ky.us

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Message from the Director
Photo: Gerri CombsJudging from articles in newspapers, television interviews and other media reports, the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) is undergoing close scrutiny by members of the Kentucky General Assembly. The assessment of the arts and humanities is also in jeopardy.

I believe that, as arts education advocates, our best course of action beginning now and continuing through the meeting of the General Assembly in the spring is to build an arsenal of facts related to both the CATS and the role of arts in learning, and to use every opportunity on the local level to make the case by using these talking points with our legislators and other influential members of the community.

We must first know why our current CATS is an effective measurement tool. On the Kentucky Department of Education's Web site you will find lots of information, especially under Proof of Progress. Here are some key points: Kentucky's public school students are learning at higher levels than ever before. We know this because we have an accurate way to measure results. Kentucky's system of testing and accountability for public school improvement is comprehensive, fair and effective.

  • Comprehensive, because it measures the work of all schools and all students in all academic content areas.
  • Fair, because the Kentucky Board of Education developed this system with input from thousands of Kentucky educators, parents, business leaders and taxpayers with legislative guidance and with the help of a panel of the nation's top testing experts who make sure the system stays valid and reliable.
  • Effective, because it accurately measures school quality and school improvement, gives teachers the information they need to improve instruction and most importantly has resulted in higher achievement by Kentucky students at every grade level and in every subject over the past four years.

One of the most comprehensive resources for quantitative and qualitative evidence of the critical role that the arts play in the education of children is the Arts Education Partnership. Recently the AEP released a report, Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, that details the relationship between learning in dance, drama, music, multiple arts and visual arts, and the development of fundamental academic and social skills. This report presents compelling data that links arts education to success in school on both the academic achievement and social behavioral levels in such areas as reading and language development, mathematics, fundamental thinking skills, motivation to learn, and school environment.

Do your homework on these important issues. Educate yourself so that you can educate others about the importance of protecting our current testing system, CATS, and the continuation of arts and humanities assessment. Feel free to use any part of this column in correspondence or newsletters. These issues are critical to the success of this generation of learners and ultimately the future of Kentucky.

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