Attempts at articulating and instituting socially responsive programs in art education are heartening and long overdue. The work of the Caucus on Social Theory and Art Education and the Bulletin as a reflection of the issues dealt with by the caucus, are laudatory and provocative. I seek to further these efforts in this essay by: 1) elaborating the social context within which schools function, and detailing how the political, economic, and ideological interests our educational system serves affect school policy, organizational structures within education, and school practice generally; and 2) suggest how the arts may be an effective force in countering the socially useful practices which schools embody. By situating the study of the arts within the literature on schools as agents of social reproduction we may see more clearly both the problems and possibilities for education in the arts that is socially responsive, politically sensitive, and ethically just.


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