For all those who have been asking, CHiaRts (not sure what the upper-and-lower variations signify) is scheduled to open this fall, 2009, with an incoming class of 150.
The school's website is lush and slick, loads 'o visuals. Its newly hired department heads, Lisa Johnson-Willingham (LinkedIn, Facebook, and curiously, the school left her hyphen off its hiring announcement), Betsy Ko, Rob Chambers (Facebook, LinkedIn...), and Diana Stezalski, all seem like accomplished artists but none are certified teachers, though Ko is studying education at DePaul. In fact, on its FAQ page, in answer to the probably often-posed question, "Who will teach at CHiaRts?" the school glides past the question of education and credentials and describes a faculty of "full-time academic educators and artist-teachers" (huh?) and "part-time artists-teachers" (sounds like...saving money?).
Too bad. There is actually quite a lot to learn about education, through education. Places that value what education offers hire the most highly educated people they can. I wish the school would acknowledge that, as a model for its students and as a nod to and appreciation of the work of teachers who study pedagogy as well as poetry, performance and painting. My students have fully engaged themselves in both; who's hiring out there?
Also oddly, the CHiaRts website notes an anti-discrimination policy that is out-dated—“handicap” anyone?—and incomplete—where is sexual orientation? I guess this is what happens when folk who aren’t actually all that concerned about the details of education set up schools. Yet, language matters, policy matters, laws and history matters—get it right; it’s important.