Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mr. Micciche,

I am one of your constituents and someone who voted for you, and a former art teacher in DISD. I have helped in the past to write secondary art curriculum standards in DISD for Art II, III, IV Jewelry, Ceramics, Printmaking, Photography and AP Art History. I am not a stranger to art standards.

I am concerned that the secondary art specialist Laura Sohm spent ten thousand dollars this summer for curriculum planning and as she is a cut and paste artiste I am concerned about how those funds were used. In the past she has used material from Art 21 (PBS) without proper attribution. She has cut and pasted directly from their website into the curriculum planning guides for the secondary art teachers in DISD.

New secondary art teachers in the district are being told to violate copyright laws by Ms. Sohm. The specific copyright belongs to the Disney corporation. Disney has very concrete use regulations. 

Part of the lesson plan states "To do this project, you will need to collect line images of many Disney characters. We recommend gathering these from the internet (or scanning coloring book pages) and creating digital files images sized to print out on 8" by 101/2" paper. These images can be printed out and then xeroxed for multiples as preparation for the project."

My particular issue with this lesson is the portion that states "A word of advice or warning: Do NOT make students draw these characters freehand. This a project about the appropriation of the images we encounter into our imaginations and identities, thus it makes sense that the project should be created artistically by using postmodern principles such as appropriation and layering. Instructing students to draw the characters freehand is bad art education because it wastes time and MISTEACHES the way in which such cartoons are actually drawn by professional cartoonists. "

I have 90 hours in art. We are supposed to teach the kids to draw, not to steal images from coloring books.

Ms. Sohm handed out materials this week that included coloring book pages to use as a resource for high school art students.

She has some kind of irrational reasoning that this is "postmodern" art instruction. She spouts nonsense that sounds pretty but has no substance. Sadly, there are people at the top who are unwilling to admit that they have no clue what she is saying. The Emperor has NO Clothes. This woman is a fool and she is cheating our students. Our students need art supplies. They should not be asked to make art from trash. I'm sorry, it is a sad excuse for art instruction to print out Disney coloring book pages to create a project for high school art in Dallas ISD.

The new teachers asked about art supplies and were told to go to grocery stores and ask for boxes that were being discarded. Some of the teachers were told they'd get cameras instead of art supplies. 

The kids need pencils and paper and brushes and paint. They could use a lot more, but they shouldn't have to dumpster dive for art class. 

What do you think?