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Via Mike Klonsky, looks like Obama has been reading the ed blogs on curriculum narrowing. He said:

Part of the reason you’re seeing schools eliminate art and music – or at least diminish them – is because of No Child Left Behind, a law that was intended to raise standards in local schools but what happened was because it relied just on a single standardized test, school districts felt pressured to just teach to the test….in a lot of school districts, they just had to make choices, and they decided, you know what, if we’re going to bring our kids up to test level, all they can do is just study math and reading every day all day long. They’ve eliminated recess. They’ve eliminated art and music. So part of the solution then is changing NCLB so that the assessment is one that takes into account all of the factors that go into a good education, and is developed with educators, not to punish schools, but to improve schools.

Surely some blogger will hit Obama back with the "only 16% of districts reduced art and music" finding from the CEP report. It's worth noting that many schools that will struggle with NCLB's targets already eliminated or scaled back art and music pre-NCLB because of budget cuts. What we need to know is what proportion of schools reduced art and music of schools that had art and music programming before NCLB.

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You ask: "What we need to know is what proportion of schools reduced art and music of schools that had art and music programming before NCLB."

Why do we need to know this? I mean, I guess I can see, if you are interested in blaming or not blaming NCLB. But the trend (losing art) is worrying, no matter the proximate cause.

I think it is ok to identify NCLB as causing damage to our schools, and elimination/reduction of arts education as causing damage to our schools, and it is also ok to see the two working in concert causing that damage, as part of a worrying trend, without worrying too much about cause and effect.

It would be different if one were to argue that all would be fine without NCLB. It would be different if one were to argue that all would be fine with complete restoration of arts education, and expansion to places that never had it.

But I don't see opponents of the current trends as restricting their critiques to one or the other, even if their focus seems tightly on NCLB today.

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