NEW YORK, April 10, 2008 — Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Tom Chapin will offer 3,000 educators and other professionals a musical message Friday morning, performing his new song, "Not on the Test," at New York State United Teachers' annual Representative Assembly.
In many ways, however, Chapin will be, well … singing to the choir.
"Like Tom Chapin, NYSUT members believe very strongly that a complete education – a rich and varied curriculum – must include music and the arts," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Tom's new song cleverly sums up one of the great challenges – and frustrations – teachers face every day: getting students excited about learning in an age of testing, testing and more testing."
Iannuzzi added: "It's detrimental to the overall educational experience when music and the arts are sacrificed along the way. We welcome Tom Chapin's superb voice to this important debate.''
Chapin has said he wrote and recorded "Not on the Test" to raise awareness about the importance of music education in all classrooms and to express his concerns about what children are missing during the current emphasis on standardized tests.
In a press release introducing the song, Chapin said: "These enrichment courses (music, art, drama and sports) that make the experience for both teachers and students more rewarding are the very ones that are being cut from curriculums across the country… In an age where an increasing number of American jobs are being outsourced to other countries, why is American public education discouraging creativity? Now is the time to encourage 'out-of-the-box' thinking in the classroom."
Iannuzzi said convention delegates are eager to hear from Chapin, not only because of his views on arts education – for which NYSUT is a long-time advocate and has a standing committee that regularly addresses the issue – but also because he's a product of New York public education. He attended PS 46 in Greenwich Village, PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Technical High School and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
"Not on the Test," with music and lyrics by Chapin and long-time collaborator John Forster -- and produced by PST Records -- can be downloaded at http://www.notonthetest.com/.
NYSUT represents more than 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.