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
Judging 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.
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.