Monday, February 3, 2014

My personal political rant against a president for whom I voted

For those you unfamiliar with the President's most recent speech, please click here. Essentially, the President took a cheap shot at studying art or art history as "useless." Inspired by another blogger, I found the Kennedy speech an awesome place to start. I am tired of my profession and my life choice as being the scapegoat for the ills of this nation. I am an artist and an art teacher. So here is my letter to the President - for whatever it is worth.

Feb. 3, 2014

Dear Mr. President,

In response to your speech on the floor of a General Electric plant just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you  made some remarks on the state of education and employment in the US, bringing up an art history degree in the process. As an artist and art teacher, I must take offense to that comment.

First, let me remind you of John F. Kennedy's words at Amherst College in 1963, to honor the poet Robert Frost:

"I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well."

Second, I teach ART in an urban, low performing school district in New Jersey. (I am also a National Board Certified Early and Middle Childhood Art Educator with 14 years experience) My students love art because it is an opportunity for them to explore their creativity and discover their own voice. There are no tests to measure what I teach because I teach children:
creativity
critical thinking
resilience
motivation
persistence
curiosity
question asking
humor
endurance
reliability
enthusiasm
civic-mindedness
self-awareness
self-discipline
empathy
leadership
compassion
courage
sense of beauty
sense of wonder
resourcefulness
spontaneity

Aren't these characteristics good enough for success? Next time, you want to degrade my profession, please consider your words more carefully.

Sincerely,
Laura Petrovich-Cheney

UPDATE:
Hyperallergic reports that President Obama writes an apology letter!

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