Art Education Down Since NCLB

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

A new study conducted by the Center on Education Policy shows that art education has declined almost 35 percent in schools since No Child Left Behind was implemented in 2001.

Here's at look at how that Act has affected schools in the Valley.

Dr. Donald Ford, Superintendent of Harrisonburg City Schools, says the opposite. The art program at his schools is thriving. However, they have squeezed down minutes for academic time. Ford says they'll even discuss extending the school day by 25 to 30 minutes to accommodate subjects like art, music and physical education.

Dr. Robin Crowder, Superintendent of Waynesboro City Schools, says they've started doing just that. They now offer "zero period" classes, which occur after the school day and accommodate the subjects that students may not be able to fit into their regular schedules. He says such classes include choral music, drama, art, and even photography.

In Augusta County, School Board member David Shiflett says not only has NCLB led to a decline in the arts, but also in vocational education. He says many students learn by doing and just aren't good test takers.

"What happens to these students is very simple. They have trouble in some of their classes," says Shiflett. "They have to take remediation classes in order to pass the No Child Left Behind test. Well, when that happens, then they cannot take the electives that they would like to take."

Shiflett says there are a lot of students who want to pursue a career in agriculture and the F.F.A. in Augusta County, but they are limited by NCLB.


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