Video: Is Lafayette Parish Schools Selling a “Visual Strategy” or Common Core?
Let’s examine a program known as Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). They’ve been around for a while. It is important to note that VTS predates test-driven education “reform,” both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB):
VTS is a well-known program developed by Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine more than twenty years ago, used in museums both locally and internationally, as well as in schools, colleges and universities. The founders of VTS incorporated Visual Understanding in Education as a non-profit organization in 1995 with a mission to broaden the use of VTS, deepen our research, and increase the understanding of Aesthetic Development.
Today, VTS is one of the most significant art education and critical thinking programs with a national presence. We are a small staff with an active national volunteer board, along with regional VTS boards which support teams of trainers and consultants through out the country and the world.
VTS is looking to establish itself in the K12 classroom, and these days, VTS has found it useful to advertise that “VTS fits into the Common Core Standards puzzle.”
One school system that is posting a video ad for VTS is in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Watch Lafayette Parish teachers and admin in this four-and-a-half-minute VTS promo:<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/103155093″>VTS Works for Indiegogo</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/vtsvimeo”>Visual Thinking Strategies</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Lafayette Parish Schools is all for CCSS.
In their video promo for VTS, Lafayette teachers and administration pitch for VTS. They note that it helps students who are not good at reading and writing. They note that VTS works because test scores are high.
But I am confused.
First, if VTS predates CCSS and VTS raises test scores, why do we need CCSS?
Second, if the benefit of VTS is that it helps students who are not as good at reading and writing, how is it that these “not so good readers and writers” are producing high test scores?
Third, if CCSS is only now being fully implemented in classrooms nationwide and Louisiana has not even taken any supposedly-fully-aligned CCSS assessments, how is it that VTS is so surely raising scores on tests that are certainly connected to CCSS?
Fourth, what magic will VTS work in the light of highly-likely, ever-shifting,capriciously-set high-stakes-testing cut scores?
Fifth, how is it that teachers and administrators are pleased to value aesthetic learning based upon the narrow outcome of higher test scores?
Finally, if VTS taps into aesthetics– which has children discussing feelings– how does this promote that “text dependency” that CCSS “architect” David Coleman promotes as trumping those feelings that “people don’t really give a s**t about”?
I just thought I’d ask.