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Culture at the Core at Lincoln Center

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    April Hattori

At a gathering of more than 50 arts and cultural organizations in New York that participated in Lincoln Center Education’s Culture and the Core initiative, Chief Academic Officer Ron Berger noted that their work is critical for the aspiration of the Common Core State Standards to endure.

“The aspiration of the standards is to enable every kid to be prepared for success in college, career and life,” Ron said. “If implementation of the standards is shallow and weak and doesn’t include arts, culture, history and science, then we’re in trouble. To be enduring, they have to be nested in your work,” Ron said.

He added that the integration of the standards is successful when they create deep and rich experiences for students.

“If you take the Common Core standards and go deeply and narrowly in certain case studies of complex text, then it will add value,” Ron said. “I’m not talking about just written complex text. Complex text can be anything that matters to you - video, art, dance, a theater performance or section of the High Line park. The important thing is that you focus on fewer pieces of artwork that you can go deeply with to create quality experiences and quality work for kids.”

A final, finished product should not be the end goal when asking kids to create something great, Ron noted. “Create a model and work with the kids on analyzing it and creating criteria that make it great. Then have them apply it to their work to make prototypes and concepts that they can be proud of and share with their fellow students. Transformational products can change kids lives.”

He added that this deeper learning focus even applies to institutions where students may only spend a short amount of time. “What we remember from our lives is the quality of experiences we have, not things we did for a long time. When you have people for 45 minutes to see a concert or visit your museum, it can still be an experience they can remember for the rest of their lives when you don’t pack too much in and provide a deep, rich experience.”