Visual Arts Chair: Dennis Inhulsen, President, NAEA and Principal, Patterson Elementary School, Holly, Michigan Visual Arts Model Cornerstone Assessments Chair: Dr. F. Robert Sabol, NAEA Past President and Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue University, Crawfordsville, Indiana
The arts have always served as the distinctive vehicle for discovering who we are. Providing ways of thinking as disciplined as science or math and as disparate as philosophy or literature, the arts are used by and have shaped every culture and individual on earth. They continue to infuse our lives on nearly all levels—generating a significant part of the creative and intellectual capital that drives our economy. The arts inform our lives with meaning every time we experience the joy of a well remembered song, experience the flash of inspiration that comes with immersing ourselves in an artist’s sculpture, enjoying a sublime dance, learning from an exciting animation, or being moved by a captivating play. The fact that the arts provide important touchstones confirms their value to the development of every human being. Nurturing our children, then, necessarily means that we must provide all of them—not just those identified as “talented”—with a well-rounded education that includes the arts. By doing so, we are fulfilling the college and career readiness needs of our students, laying the foundations for the success of our schools and, ultimately, the success of our nation. The central purposes of education standards are to identify the learning that we want for all of our students and to drive improvement in the system that delivers that learning. Standards, therefore, should embody the key concepts, processes and traditions of study in each subject area, and articulate the aspirations of those invested in our schools—students, teachers, administrators, and the community at large. To realize that end goal, these new, voluntary National Core Arts Standards are framed by a definition of artistic literacy that includes philosophical foundations and lifelong goals, artistic processes and creative practices, anchor and performance standards that students should attain, and model cornerstone assessments by which they can be measured. The connective threads of this conceptual framework are designed to be understood by all stakeholders and, ultimately, to ensure success for both educators and students in the real world of the school. The framework is being developed in the complex, evolving context of local, state, and national educational practice and public policy. Therefore, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) expects that this guiding document will evolve as the standards are brought to completion. This conceptual framework is intended to serve as an entry point into the further refinement of the standards through feedback and discussion with a broad range of stakeholders. In addition, while extensive research has been done in support of the standards revision (ranging from international standards and to alignment to the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts), the research phase of the work is far from complete. To further refine and develop this new generation of arts standards, NCCAS is committed to seeking out and gathering input from a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in arts education. Teachers, students, parents, and decision makers all have a stake in the work of creating coherent standards that will shape policy and classroom practice, helping arts education to solidify its contributions to the students of America.