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Friday, December 10, 2010
Random Act of Culture
There were 650 singers milling around Macy's Saturday in Philadelphia pretending to be shopping. At a signal from the Wanamaker organ they all broke into the Hallelujah Chorus! This is the first of 1000 "Random Acts of Culture" over the next three years in various major cities, intended to promote the fine arts.
Happy Holidays Everyone - and Support the Arts in Schools!
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How awesome was that???? Thanks so much for sharing. So inspiring!
When are they coming to Atlanta?
Wouldn't we all love to see DSA do something like that!
I know I would.
DSA has some awesomely talented students.
Keep in mind that some of what is being taken away from the latest round of international testing is how little Arts, athletics and other extracurricular activities the schools in the highest scoring countries offer.
All high schools in DeKalb county have students that are awesome in the arts. Some are even better than DSA.
Regarding how little arts, athletics and other extracurricular activities the schools in the highest scoring countries offer...
In countries where college admission is based only on test scores, families will naturally put their emphasis on many hours of study. In our country, a student applying to an elite college is expected to have some combination of arts, athletics, and other extracurricular activities (particularly leadership). Families who are in the know will push extracurriculars as much as academics.
It's not just admission or elite colleges. Consider the criteria for "the premier merit-based scholarship at Georgia Tech." The President's Scholarship program is looking for students who "have strong potential to become leaders on campus and in the community," not the ones with perfect SAT math scores who spend their free time doing computer programming rather than sports and community service.
I'm not saying that the US colleges are misguided: those "well-rounded" students who demonstrate a lot of leadership are probably more likely to make a lot of money, then donate generously to their alma mater. It's just different from the system in Asia.
I was helping a student fill out an online scholarship application the other night. Most of the questions were not about academics. In fact, this very strong academically student has very weak extras and probably won't receive this particular award.
Referencing Anonymous 12/10, 3:32 pm How unfortunate for this student! I do think sports and extracurricular activities are important; however, I think we are very misguided in this country when our primary focus is NOT on academics.
We Americans have a long standing tradition of harboring an inferiority complex when it comes to academics and fine arts. And while most of the syndicated entertainment products that come out of USA are often cited as evidence of our low culture, those who really know our country know it is one of the most rich and varied in its culture - high and low.
Above comments contrasting the American emphasis on "well-roundedness" are very on point. I'm not one to bash pure academics nor one to decry the emphasis on athletics and extra-curriculars. The important distinction I would like to note about "American" public education and values is that we have a subtle theme running through our culture that is not found everywhere else - team work!
Not just on the athletic fields, nor only in clubs, we emphasize team work even in our classrooms and curriculum. I don't think we can over-estimate this distinction. It was first pointed out to me by a Turkish businessman who was educated both in Turkey and in the United States and has had a life-long, successful private sector career.
He marvelled at how well American "teams" worked together in every area of society. So, while we have to continue to strive to match the individual test scores of other leading peoples in education, I don't think we should concede the full point of whether our young people are prepared better or worse than their peers overseas because they lag in individual testing.
On the Random Acts of Culture, that is priceless! For those that were as moved as I was, here is the rest of the events so far, including one in Macon, GA:
It just makes me cry to hear such beautiful music presented so that so many people of all ages can enjoy the truest spirit of the season. I am truly hoping I find myself in such a wonderful spot this Christmas!
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