I have had the opportunity to review the draft of Ohio’s Fine Arts Standards in their original and current form. I commend the committee for their hard work and dedication to complete their task. I am concerned, however, that there is a rush to complete the task without a national perspective considering the national model that is already in progress. This would be a great missed opportunity to align Ohio’s work with nationally developed work. This does not mean that we should disregard the work of the committee. It means that our standards would have greater impact on Ohio’s fine arts teachers if they were directly related to the national perspective. I write this based on years of working with Ohio’s fine arts standards, having been part of the previous team of writers. What I found when working with teachers is that they did not want to adopt Ohio’s standards because they did not think they aligned with the National Standards for Arts Education. Further, in keeping with the philosophy of 21st Century skill development, there is a lack of connectivity between the draft arts standards and those skills identified as important to the next generation of workers. There is a parenthetical under “REFLECTION” but I do not believe that to be straightforward enough for most teachers to embrace the integrative qualities the arts offer to most academic content standards.
I am a practical person. I plan to present teacher workshops to introduce the re-visioned academic content standards, especially Ohio’s Fine Arts Standards. I do not believe the draft standards for the Fine Arts, in their current form, will be embraced or used by fine arts teachers. The standards are very heavily skewed to the visual arts (Discipline Based Arts Education program developed by Elliot Eisner) and less inviting to the performing arts (music, dance, drama/theatre, media arts). My fear is that the draft standards are adopted and not used and therefore student learning in the arts is unable to be measured because the assessments will not align with the adopted state standards. It becomes a vicious cycle. We devalue the promise and the role of the arts in the schools when there are no common standards teachers use to measure against.