A fine article in the New Statesman (Junk cinema) got me thinking about arts education. As the article notes, it’s usually limited to literary criticism (and even then, it’s limited to “classics”). But what about criticism of the other arts? Don’t kids have a right to go beyond books? State and federal education programs assume that kids need to be taught how to read and appreciate literature and that’s a noble goal. Why do they stop with books though? In a media-saturated culture, shouldn’t they also be taught to think critically about TV, movies or even music? Music programs are usually the first to get slashed in school budgets but any kind of media courses about TV or film aren’t offered until college and there of course, it’s optional. Political science does take up some slack in terms of deciphering the wily ways of public servants but grade school kids deserve more background and training in the ways of the media. Otherwise, they stand more of a chance of absorbing everything (or nothing) and not thinking critically about it.
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