None-the-less, at times, he talks a pretty good talk. For instance, below are some excerpts from a talk a year ago to the Arts Education Partnership. I encourage you to read the entire speech. Not only would I agree with his remarks, but I've made many of these statements already in this blog. The disconnect comes when you compare these statements with his conclusions, or his understanding of the causes of the problems. A tongue-in-cheek way of looking at it may be found in Aaron Pallas' comment in the Washington Post.
How bad is NCLB? Arnne's own assessment in May of this year is that 82% of the schools in America will possibly fail this year. Our educational system is not working. In addition to all the other ways that it is failing, it doesn't provide a content-rich, arts-rich education which he states is a vital part of an education, and needed desparately in our schools today. So what should we do about it? Well, remember that Sir Ken Robinson called for completely overhauling our mass-education system in a way that isn't based on an 1800's industrial model, with antiquated ideas of what it means to be intelligent, or educated. Mr. Duncans prescription however is to prescribe more NCLB, but with waivers rather than reform, hoping that if we ignore the problem long enough, it will go away. It won't.
Education Secretary - Arnne Duncan, - http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2010/04/04092010.html
The Well-Rounded Curriculum
Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum
April 9, 2010
First, the arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college. Second, arts education is essential to stimulating the creativity and innovation that will prove critical to young Americans competing in a global economy. And last, but not least, the arts are valuable for their own sake, and they empower students to create and appreciate aesthetic works.
It is not surprising that visual arts instruction improves reading readiness, or that learning to play the piano or to master musical notation helps students to master math. Reading, math, and writing require students to understand and use symbols--and so does assembling shapes and colors in a portrait or using musical notes to learn fractions.
Is it any surprise then to learn of the large impact that arts education has on student achievement and attainment, especially among disadvantaged students?