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June 15, 2009

Nation's Report Card on the Arts for 2008 released

The National Assessment of Educational Progress released on Monday the Nation's Report Card on the Arts for 2008, the first such report since 1997.

Not surprisingly, the results reveal room for improvement in arts education. The League of American Orchestras reported that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that the results of the report card "remind us that the arts are a core academic subject and part of a complete education for all students. The arts are also important to American students gaining the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in higher education and the global marketplace ... This Arts Report Card should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America's children and youth ... We can and should do better for America's students."

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:17 PM | | Comments (2)


The new Baltimore Opera Theatre will have an outreach program and offer free lectures and free tickets to Baltimore area school children. The company will also engage local area performing arts students to participate in the operas in a variety of ways...Our web site is coming soon where there will be more information posted about this!

I would be shocked if the Report Card was any better, considering how the Arts have been obliterated from most public school curricula. Some of the worst cuts have occurred in middle schools in order to give more hours to tested subjects. The test mandates have held the arts hostage for more than a decade. If it's not on the test then it shouldn't be taught is the logic of most systems. Middle school music teachers are being removed at a very fast rate. The impact is then passed on to high schools that suffer trying to produce good ensembles.

It's probably too much to hope for, but maybe the pendulum will swing the other way one of these days. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

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