State of Ohio Educational Standards — Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Ohio_flagNew state standards for Ohio high school graduation replace basic skills testing in favor of a battery of academic subject area tests. I guess this is a good thing, but it remains to be seen. I was also heartened when I read that students may receive a high school diploma by “earning a state-approved, industry-recognized credential or license that demonstrates workforce readiness.”  I like this alternative path because it opens up the high school diploma beyond the classical-academic education. HOWEVER, when my wife read the standards she threw them down and exclaimed, Where are the arts? She is the director of a university dance department and choreographer. Yes, still the arts are an afterthought when it comes to defining what makes a quality high school education in the state of Ohio. Funny thing, the paucity of quality arts education was one of the motivating factors behind Howard Gardner’s formulation of the multiple intelligences. If we only value IQ-based skills then ‘intelligence’ in all those other non-academic intelligences – musical, kinesthetic, spatial, etc. – will simply be an “elective” and an afterthought. This is too bad. Creative and practical thinkers are still kept at the margins of the high school curriculum.