Saturday, April 23, 2005

African Americans in the arts honored in youth essay contest - Not this year Erik!

Last year, my older son, Erik, won first place in this contest in his age group. He and a school mate were pictured in the PG's coverage.

This year, he didn't enter the contest. However, something much better arrived at our house this week. The cash prize from last year's win was very, very nice, but we'll take his report card grades over a win in the city essay contest. The big milestone, Erik got a "B" in his handwritting grade. Grandma had to come up with $10.

Students who entered the event -- and to the winners -- way to go. My hat is off to your scholarship and self expression, as well as research.

African Americans in the arts honored in youth essay contest This year's essay asked writers to look at contributions of African Americans in the arts.

Writting has become another hot area in schools in recent times. Some are taking handwritting classes, while in high school even. There has been a shift to a hand-written component in the standardized college entrance exams -- such as the SAT (or is the ACT?).

In China, there is a great bit of empahasis on penmanship, and brush strokes too. They use ink and paper in traditional forms. At parks there are often art salons areas for kids to do paint by numbers, coloring, brush work.

On our next trip, I hope we can get the boys some lessons.

In schools today, the pressure to do more writting is hard on the teachers. If you have 30 students, and need to correct spelling tests -- that is one thing. But, try to handle a three page paper and the challenge increased by 20 or more times.

I think that there could be more volunteers to work at the schools in reading and grading duties.

I think we could have more essay contests, more poetry contests, more public grading challenges, more community interaction on written elements. The volunteers would NOT even need to come into the buildings nor ever meet the children.

Just as peer review works in the research and higher academic settings, some style of group feedback among volunteers in the public would serve plenty of benefits among the overall educational missions and outcomes.

Do you think the teachers' union would care?

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