From Dewey to No Child Left Behind: The evolution and devolution of public arts education

Vasquez Heilig, J., Cole, H. & Aguilar, A. (2010). From Dewey to No Child Left Behind: The evolution and devolution of public arts educationArts Education Policy Review, 111(4), 136-145.

This historical narrative tracks the evolution and devolution of visual arts education from Dewey’s progressive era pedagogy and the theory of the arts as experience through the modern accountability movement. Archival material, state curricular documents, and conversations with policymakers show an increasing focus on core subject areas of reading, writing, and mathematics at the expense of arts education. Texas House Bill 3, the third generation of accountability legislation in the Lone Star State, provides a case study of the status of arts education after more than fifteen years of high-stakes testing and accountability. Policy considerations are offered for arts education and its future standing within the public educational curriculum.

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Categories: Accountability, High-Stakes Testing

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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  1. Are you ready for a new idea? | Cloaking Inequity - October 17, 2012

    [...] One example of the focus on the process of education instead of high-stakes testing outcomes is San Antonio’s Café College resource centers. Mayor Julian Castro funded these college-knowledge information centers because the community made higher education enrollment and graduation a priority. As a result, the city has placed its resources and will behind that goal. This focus on process rather than outcomes is a stark contrast to the current approaches observed in urban Texas high schools focused on high-stakes testing. Due to the current testing regime, high schools are spending their resources on double-blocking students in test-prep courses to focus on multiple choice worksheets for high-stakes exit exams instead of the arts, band, PE and other important courses that build 21st Century skills (Vasquez Heilig, 2011; Vasquez Heilig, Cole & Aguilar, 2010). [...]

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