While I have been slumbering, figuring out what to say/do with this blog, someone “liked it’ this morning: rereading it, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I am job hunting, and that has taken over most of my concentration. Today I have two interviews, both for Director/Manager of Education position in arts administration. This post already has helped clear some of the cobwebs I’ve laid in my own way. Thanks for the like, Isurrett2.


One of the most disturbing things that I have heard  from a student was:

“Why should I try? I’ll only be working at McDonald’s.”

I was an Artist-in-Residence for a year for a large school district in Westchester County, NY. Still early in my profession, that statement was both a shock and a revelation of a point of view I had never considered before: low expectations given, and projected; leading this student to live  that that is all they can do. The young lady who said that to me was in a ninth grade repeat class. Most of them, I was told much later, were on their THIRD repeat of ninth grade.

Yes: she was a third timer.

It was not that working at McDonald’s is such a negative job, but the expectation of that is all she could expect in life is. There are jobs that many would never…

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Creativity and The Machine (The Creativity Series)

NPR Studio 360: Are Computers Creative

“This week, Kurt Andersen asks: can computers make art? And if so, when?  Will it be any good?  We’ll meet a program named AARON that’s been painting for nearly 40 years, a filmmaker who replaced her editor with an algorithm, and professor who thinks what computers need is more Shakespeare.

It’s 4pm, and I’m in my car. I put on WYNC, the local NPR station, and the program Studio 360 begins. The question that starts the show is “Are Computers Creative?”, and the first thing you hear is about a computer named Brutus that is writing a novel.


Well, the creator of Brutus goes on to say that all Brutus is doing, through its algorithms and pathways and thingamajigs is a copy of what he and the other programmers have, well, programmed it to do. It’s aping the apes, so to speak.

Then there is the inventor of The Creativity Machine, Stephen L. Thaler, Ph.D. An A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) computer that he states that yes, machines CAN be original and creative, and they have the machine to prove it. They just send a jumbled signal through, and it produces music and more.

Then there is AARON above, that has been painting for almost 40 years (photo on the linked page); a machine named Darci that judges Art, and…well, the program link is above. Just click on the title and it will take you to the Studio 360 page. Well worth the listen.

So…what do you think? Welcome to the Machine?

What Constitutes Education?

“Our large schools)..are organized like a factory of the late 19th C : top down, command control management, a system designed to stifle creativity and independent judgment.” David T Kearns CEO Xerox

‘The guiding principle being put forward is that schools must be self directing.’ John Goodland

‘It is, in fact, little short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.’

Albert Einstein

Alternative Education Resource Organization

K-12 Academics: Alternative Education

I do not believe education happens in just a school setting. If we are open to new things and explore what is around us, there is a lot of real education available. There is a whole wide world at our fingertips now. what we learn from it, what we take from it, is up to us. Or just you. YOU need to find what is out there.

We mainly think in terms of our children in education (unless you are into Continuing Ed classes or going back, like I did, for your Masters/PhD later in life).  If you are not seeking out “formal” paths of paper certified education, don’t think you still can’t, or worse, don’t, have more to learn. Opening yourself to lifelong learning is, to me, a very important part of life.

‘Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it.’

Albert Einstein

I’m now involved in the planning committees of TWO proposed Performing Arts Charter Schools. My work in curriculum development is being utilized here, making arts integration  the main foundations of the schools. Yes, I want separate arts disciplines to thrive on their own, but the guidelines and rules of these Charter schools get in the way. Yes…the states mandates still get in the way.

If you’ve noticed, I have been somewhat quiet about educational subjects lately. Personally, it has been a frustrating period, and I have been trying to wrap my head around the restrictions imposed the two projects. If you look at the second link above, you’ll find a slew of alternative ideas out there. I am doing more research, so more on new(ish) ideas and thoughts to come.

The Bosch painting that heads this is how I see what is going on. My interpretation: we are fractured in our murky confinement. Boxed in, and boxed in again. Encased, closed off, separated, and just uneasily floating in a bubble that is waiting to burst.

What Constitutes Education?

In no particular order, MY answers to this are as follows (but, really, are not closed: I’m always open to a new idea, or simply one I forgot):

  • Inquiry Based Learning
  • Peer to Peer Mentoring
  • Freedom for Failure (learning from the “mistake”, not making it a negative)
  • Open ended process at times, to allow interpretations (doesn’t always work in Math & Science, but…)
  • Feeling safe in stating/putting out your ideas
  • Dialogue & exchange of ideas (see above)
  • Exploration of the world around us (parks, museums, historical sites, using the  internet properly, etc)
  •  LISTENING and focus
  • Not settling for mediocrity,
  • Not rewarding for least effort/what was required; only for going beyond what was expected
  • Drop all the PC garbage, which creates this new fear & loathing, and really teach the history behind something, to…
  • Allow ourselves the freedom to think, create and critique for ourselves.

What Constitutes Education For You?

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