Thursday, December 18, 2008

Planning for Meaningful New Year's Resolutions

In the past 24-hours alone, I've watched Dick VanDyke (on Tavis Smiley) and President Clinton (on Spectacle) each speak at great length about the value of a rich music and arts education for every child. Both men and their hosts lamented the reduction in such opportunities due to misplaced budget priorities and NCLB. (although threats to arts education proceed NCLB and even computers by decades)

A few nights ago I was moved to tears by a sappy "Mr. Holland-style" 20/20 documentary about a high musical production. I could spend my entire life collecting similar testimony.

If everybody knows that art and music education is critical to realizing one's human potential, why do our actions contradict such self-evident truths?

'Tis the season for looking in the mirror and taking stock
If you are a school teacher or administrator, you may make compromises occasionally or everyday that violate what you know is in the best interest of learners.

• What are those compromises?
• What are the consequences of those compromises?
• Why don't you "do the right thing?"

For 2009, make a resolution to do only that which you know is good for children first and foremost. Who knows? You might just change the world!

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  • Hi Gary – it’s wonderful to see your thoughtful side. I was beginning to think otherwise after your wisecrack about my company in your Huffington Post piece. ;)

    New Year’s resolutions can be a wonderful way to strengthen our commitment to the causes we share. I honestly think we’re on the same page when it comes to helping kids. To that end, I hope you’ll join me in resolving to teach a child to read in 2009. Art and music education are certainly important, but I hope we agree that reading is where it all starts – if you can’t read, you can’t learn very well.

    If you go to and make that pledge, my company will donate a learn to read system in your name to First Book, a non-profit that has given more than 60 million new books to at-risk kids since 1992. We’ll make a donation on behalf of the first 15,000 pledges, so I hope you’ll help us spread the word.

    Thanks so much for this thoughtful post and for reminding us to think about kids in the new year. I truly hope we can work together on this.


    Judy Harris
    CEO, Smarterville (The makers of Hooked on Phonics®)

    By Anonymous jharris, At December 19, 2008 3:21 PM  

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