I am who am, and I'm proud of the experiences that shaped me. No regrets. But sometimes when I think about art education today and how it's being removed from our public school system I wonder how my life might have been different if the arts were encouraged when I was in grade school.
When I was 8 and in the third grade I was in a "challenged" reading group. This supposedly meant that the students in this group had a hard time grasping the material or just couldn't learn. In this group much wasn't expected from us and we were in an environment that made us feel inferior to the other students.
As a third-grader I was extremely savvy, stylish (I designed my own outfit for my birthday party that year), and I loved reading and writing stories. I impressed adults with my words, my questions and innovative ideas. I had lived abroad, could speak Portuguese and traveled on airplanes by myself. I was a smart cookie, and very enthusiastic about learning.
So how did this little girl who spent play-time reading and writing stories, painting and dancing end up in a "challenged" reading group? It was standardized testing. Somewhere along the way I tested poorly and according to some lousy numbers I ended up in low-level reading group of children who "couldn't learn" or "grasp the basics." [[read on]]