Alumni Note

A note from 2014 BSW Graduate, Kathy Rawdon: 

The first annual Sooner Mosaic Social Justice Symposium was held on Saturday, March 1, 2014 - it was a fantastic experience not only to present my own research, but to hear presentations from other students around campus pertaining to a variety of social justice topics. My presentation title was "Advocating for the Arts in Authentic Education of Disenfranchised Children and Youth."

I presented with recent MSW graduate Jackie Ledbetter in a one-hour workshop. I presented the research surrounding the benefits of arts education in connecting to core curriculum areas, school funding disparity on the basis of property tax revenue, and the need for social and legislative advocacy, as well as the need for programs that create opportunities to participate in the arts for students whose schools have lost such programs. Jackie presented on the therapeutic benefits of the arts, as well as the role of the arts in prevention, inspiration, and as a profession.

Here's a brief description of our presentation (from the Sooner Mosaic program):
Arts education can have a remarkably positive effect on academic development and achievement, which can lead to higher graduation rates and application to post-secondary institutions, improving students’ chances for economic success in adulthood. Unfortunately, when budgets must be cut, the arts are often seen as superfluous. As a result, students from low-income school districts are frequently denied access to programs that inspire creativity and teach critical thinking skills. We will discuss the importance of arts education for students in elementary and secondary school and emphasize the need for legislative advocacy to ameliorate the disparities that exist in the funding of public school education. We will also explore creative solutions for addressing the inequities in public school arts education, including one after-school program (Bring Back the Music) that is working to address the absence of music education programs in low income schools in the Oklahoma City metro area.

More information about Sooner Mosaic can be found here.

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