The hijacking of art education for political purposes was highlighted 6 years ago.
Aristos is an online review of the arts and its April 2010 issue had an article entitled “The Hijacking of Art Education” by Michelle Marder Kamhi. This is the opening statement:
“Parents and others who think that children are mainly learning about painting and drawing in today’s art classrooms should consider this: a movement has for some time been afoot to hijack art education for purposes of often radical political indoctrination”.https://www.aristos.org/aris-10/hijacking.htm
After attending a convention of the National Art Education Association (US) she wrote her analysis. She describes some of the left professors who are forefront in the movement to use art education as a vehicle for social justice — a move linked to critical theory and critical pedagogy. This is not to be confused with critical thinking, she says, whose aim is to develop students’ powers of reasoning.
An abbreviated form of the article was published in the Wall Street Journal, with strong responses, mainly in support of the author’s views.
A follow-up Forum in Aristos months later provided a reasonable balance of opinions from teachers and professors in the field of art education. Some argued for integrity to art discipline and adherence to the understood principle that teachers should teach how to think, not what. Others saw them selves as “cultural workers” and felt that art could be used to “change the world”. (See Aristos archives.)
The author concluded in 2010: “Though a social justice approach to art education is not yet widespread in K-12 classrooms, it would be inaccurate to suggest that it is non-existent.”
Well, here we are now. Martin Robinson quotes from The Guardian that in the UK “in some schools, teachers are embracing . . . [the arts] . . . as a tool to teach the environment.” The children “learn the ‘compost and growing’ song and produce artwork in relation to it, too. The arts and other curriculum areas are continually connected. Teaching the children to be sustainable has nice science, humanities and responsible citizenship links.”
This is an issue that needs broad discussion. Perhaps that august lineup (EDHirsch, DChristodoulou, GAshman, KBirbalsingh) that is to meet in Nov in Amsterdam (topic: Shift from social-constructivism to science-informed education) might touch on the issue raised here.
[ My response to Martin Robinson’s blog post of Marco 03, 2018 https://martinrobborobinson.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/dumbing-down-the-arts/ ]https://martinrobborobinson.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/dumbing-down-the-arts/ ]