Arts leaders who fear that testing is squeezing out creative learning may find some hope in an after-school program in the Hill–and the reaction of one 4th-grader who refused to leave the classroom, the New Haven Independent reports. Elena Brennan was one of 11 students who stayed after-hours at the Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy last week to take part in an arts program run by a local not-for-profit called Arte, Inc. When her mom showed up 40 minutes early to pick her up, Elena refused to go–she was having too much fun penciling in the eyes on a self-portrait in the style of Chuck Close. The art session at the K-8 public school at 360 Columbus Ave. came on the heels of a discussion two weeks ago among 200 artists and arts convened at the Congregation Mishkan Israel. The group raised concerns that standardized tests dominate more and more classroom time and drain arts funding in the era of school reform, hurting kids’ chances to learn about the arts and grow into well-rounded adults…

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