Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts from the NYSAAE's Common Ground Conference

I have a love-hate relationship with conferences. I love that I always leave with a refreshed enthusiasm for striving towards an education system that serves every student creatively. I love meeting inspiring individuals from across the Empire State who are breaking ground and fighting to make sure students are given quality arts experiences. I love learning about existing organizations with successful arts-in-ed models. But, unfortunately, I HATE sitting still for 9 hrs. With a firey passion. Seriously- I have to move to think, and no matter how interesting and engaging a presenter is, I cannot sit still for extended periods of time... I'm sure my parents thought I'd outgrow it, but at 23 years of age, while attending a professional conference, I feel like a fidgety 5 year old. Maybe this is why I'm a good dance teacher? I'm very empathetic towards antsy kids...

ANYWAYS, I just attended the New York State Alliance for Arts Education's Common Ground Conference, and though I fidgeted the whole time, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the sessions I attended. I took approximately a notebook and a half's worth of notes (one way to curb my fidgeting...), and when I get a chance I have a lot of thoughts I'd like to share with you, but until then, I wanted to share a quote from David Steiner, the NYS Commisioner of Education. There was a lot of talk at the conference about the challenges facing arts advocates in light of the incredibly daunting budget cuts NYS faces; one of the most common-knee jerk reactions from people who don't understand the essence of arts education is that there's just not any money for implementing creative elements into education. David, quite succinctly, pointed out that "thinking, fortunately, is free".