House Bill on Education Concerns Arts Advocates

by ekramer on March 2, 2009

The Kentucky House of Representatives will consider a bill this week to revamp the state’s student testing system. Some say it could weaken arts and humanities instruction. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

House Bill 508 is a response to Senate Bill 1. Both would overhaul testing in public schools to improve school, student and teacher performance.

Some arts advocates and educators aren’t happy with either bill because both do away with testing on the arts and humanities. They also say the House bill, which offers criteria for reviewing schools’ arts and humanities programs, is too vague.

David Cupps of the advocacy group Arts Kentucky says the legislation doesn’t ensure that students will get arts and humanities instruction.

“There’s so many issues that they’re trying to solve with this legislation that it’s easy for the arts to get lost or for them not to completely get all the language in there that they need to,” Cupps says.

Many educators and lawmakers say the current testing system is too time consuming and does not offer constructive information.

Cupps says instruction in the arts and humanities should be mandatory and that any program evaluation should guarantee schools are adequatly teaching these subjects.

“We are suggesting that if they’re not going to have it in the testing — of course, we would like some testing in there — but if it’s not going to be part of the testing, then this program evaluation could still be part of the accountability matrix that they are being held accountable for,” Cupps says.

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