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Tune in: The Common Core, Who Cares?

Tune in on APRIL 7th at 7PM to the CTC Studio, where arts education research, policy and practice meet through dialogue.In this studio CTC discusses the Common Core Standards and their relationship to Arts in Education.

How do we find a way to talk about the Common Core Standards and the arts in a way that people care?

Who needs to care and why?

What does the Common Core tell us about what’s important to teach, in what sequence, and on what timetable?

Join Steve Seidel, Program Director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Arts in Education program and current students in the program as they continue the conversation from the Arts in Education course joined by alumni working in the Arts in Education field.

Join the conversation by commenting here or tweeting with #AIECTCChat

Taylor Morris
 (AIE 2014) is a violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona who aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for music students by encouraging them to arrange, compose, and improvise.

Liz Woodbury (AIE 2014) is a playwright and interdisciplinary performance artist coming from a teaching artist background. She is most interested in the role of the arts as intervention and prevention tools and in developing new assessment and evaluation tools for arts experiences and the learning that occurs during those moments.

Talia Gibas (AIE 2006) is Arts for All Manager at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission where she is responsible for arts education professional development programming for school district leaders and manages grant programs that support those leaders and connect school districts with teaching artists and arts organizations throughout the County.  She is also Associate Editor of, an arts policy and research blog and serves on Americans for the Arts’s Arts Education Council.

Aliza Greenberg (AIE 2007), moderator, is an arts educator in New York City. She currently works for the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

AiE CtC Admin

AiE CtC Admin Continuing the Conversation (CtC) provides opportunity and inspiration for substantive dialogue on the issues facing the arts in education community. An initiative with roots in the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, CtC brings together professionals and supporters of the field from all over the world. | Website

4 Replies to "Tune in: The Common Core, Who Cares?" Subscribe

  1. Aliza Greenberg Permalink  | Apr 08, 2014 01:57am

    Thank you so much to everyone for such a great conversation! It was really interesting to see a conversation about the Common Core framed in a way that explored why all educators, even those outside the school setting, might care. I am in NYC where if you step anywhere near a school or a student you have to care about the Common Core. That is because it is so tied up in the evaluation of both teachers and students in the city. Students and teachers are caught up in the Common Core – really caught when it comes to testing and evaluation – and we have an opportunity through the arts to leverage the Common Core to make it something vibrant and engaging (i.e. not test prep). As Talia said, the Common Core brings a holistic approach and that actually creates an opportunity for the arts. But I think to see that opportunity we need more people to separate the Common Core itself from the assessments and evaluations that go along with it.

    If we could separate it, we could, as Talia and Steve proposed, look at the common core as a document. As a document, the Common Core gives language to how we think and how we communicate (how we read, write, speak and listen). And that is what we engage in as artists. It is there that I find great ways for the Common Core to help my work.

    Also, as artists working with young people, it is nice to have a common language with those who work with young people in other ways, to focus on the “common” part of the Common Core. It is a real bridge for me when talking with schools and it is a great way way to bridge a young person’s in-school experiences to their out of school ones, too. It gives us a way to talk about student learning across different groups of people, opening more doors so more people, as Elizabeth mentioned, can sit at the same table. We need that common foundation to build and elaborate on. But I do wonder: if the Common Core weren’t driving evaluation, would anyone care to use that common language, elaborate on it, and build on it?

    Another challenge is that we are scarred (we are in NYC, anyway) from ever-shifting policies and no time for anything to get passed the initial storm and build to something usable. It’s the politics side that Talia mentioned. Our common language could have been a totally different document given a different administration, but the Common Core is what we have right now, so how can we use it. And maybe it will stick around and we, as artists, can make its application artful, and create that more connected/coherent experience with young people. And I also wonder, how do students perceive the Common Core? Has anyone had any conversations with young people about the standards and what have their thoughts been?

  2. Aliza Greenberg Permalink  | Apr 08, 2014 03:53am

    One more thought/question: Has anyone found wonder and curiosity in the Common Core? In other words, if we think of the Common Core as a set of skills students should learn and develop over time, where can we locate wonder, imagination, and curiosity in them? They are so much about text, understanding what a text is saying and citing evidence from the text, I struggle to see exploration and wonder in it except maybe through the act of writing. I am curious how others have co-located these ideas with the Common Core.

  3. Aliza Greenberg Permalink  | Apr 10, 2014 12:39pm

    Tis article adds a lot to our conversation:

    “Over the past few years, as higher stakes have been attached to the tests, we have seen schools devote more time to test prep, leaving less time and fewer resources for instruction in music, the arts, social studies and physical education.”

    This teacher supports the Common Core but cites testing as the problem.

  4. Bruce Taylor Permalink  | Apr 28, 2014 03:10pm

    Common Core is more beneficial to the arts than any previous school reform effort. This is because its primary goal is to have students “think.” The foundation of Common Core rests on relatively few cognitive processes that are represented by what I call “key action terms.” They include analyze, support, interpret, infer, evaluate, develop, and demonstrate understanding. Most works of art demonstrate what the artist understands, feels, or believes.

    The necessary shift in mind set from Common Core ELA to the arts is a simple one; substitute “text” with “work of art.” Indeed, substitute “text” with “content.” A piece of music, a painting, choreography, a script, etc. all constitute content. Thus, when Common Core says “read,” we should think “study a work of art.” Where it says “write” we think “create a work of art.” When specifying “speak and listen,” we substitute “present/perform a work of art or be an audience for a work of art.”

    It’s not that hard.

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