On a Website's Reprinting a 10-Year-Old Attack on Aesthetic Realism from that Bastion of Integrity, the New York Post
By Devorah Tarrow
Now a certain website has given us the definitive refutation of Aesthetic Realism! Where does it come from? A scholarly journal? No. A trustworthy source? No. It comes from a tabloid that's known in New York and elsewhere to be a place wherein one can read lurid gossip (who cares if it's untrue as long as it's sufficiently lurid) about the figures of the day, and other articles geared to shock people. This tabloid is known also for attacking virulently whatever doesn't go along with its right-wing agenda, including unions and other progressive organizations and causes. (Again, what do the facts matter?)
It's clear the 10-year-old article's sources are those same few individuals who have been trying to discredit Aesthetic Realism for a long time. The Post jumped on their “story” and did what it could to damage the reputation of a respected teaching method and those who use it—including two highly esteemed New York City teachers, science teacher Rosemary Plumstead and art teacher Donita Ellison. (By the way, this tabloid has consistently shown its desire for education to be privatized, and its contempt for public education and for the teachers' union.)
And what came of its oh-so-penetrating exposé? Including the Post's urging the NYC Board (now Department) of Education to investigate—which the Board of Education indeed did?
Nada, zip, zero. Except that the two teachers are even more highly esteemed than ever! That's because it's generally known throughout the NYC metropolitan area that teachers using the Aesthetic Realism teaching method enable there to be such successful learning in their classrooms; and that through this method students become less angry, less prejudiced, kinder to one another.
In fact, teachers are hired because they use the Aesthetic Realism teaching method. These teachers receive citations, accolades, awards, letters of thanks from grateful parents. They're invited to give staff development. They're invited to give presentations at regional, statewide, and national education conferences.
Further about Mrs. Plumstead and Ms. Ellison 10 years later. They're more widely published and have given more workshops in the Aesthetic Realism teaching method as it works in teaching the arts and sciences. Their Regents exam results have been exemplary: their Regents averages being in the 80-90% range—amazing for New York City.
Aesthetic Realism itself? Also stronger, more widely respected than ever.