I received a response from the Osseo School District in response to my posting on Elementary School Teachers Please Stop
- For the printing industry- yes, Mark Mizen is correct and our students learn about these CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key [black]) colors when they begin to create artwork with computers/video/photography in our 7-12 Art programs…
- For K-12 painting and drawing experiences, we rely on materials- paint, chalk, oil crayons which exist in R, Y, and B colors.
- Our K-6 Art lessons:
- introduce students to the basics (the “magic”!) of Color and Color mixing which they can physically do and visibly see and therefore more easily understand, and
- provide a foundation for more complex color understanding when they begin “electronic” art applications at the Secondary level!
Candace Gordon, Specialist Visual Arts, Osseo School District 279
The Osseo School District apparently believes that primary colors work differently in the art department than in the printing industry, teaching that red, yellow and blue paints represent primary colors. I do not see anything wrong with teaching that yellow, red, and blue create different colors when mixed. They do create different colors, but they are not primary colors and teaching that they are is incorrect. The mixing of yellow, red, and blue cannot make pure magenta, green, or many other colors. The problem is that red and blue colorants absorb light much too broadly to serve as effective primary colors.
The only reason incorrect primary colors are more easily understood is that schools have allowed incorrect information to persist. Correct information is no more difficult to understand than the incorrect information that is currently being taught. If students learned about cyan and magenta in elementary school, they would have a far better better understanding of color when they learn more details in high school physics. Delaying this information until seventh grade does students a tremendous disservice.
As I learned from my original posting, Sesame Street has an equally poor understanding of color. Check out After seeing this video, read the comments and click dislike. Many people have done so and their comments reflect that fact.
Isaac Newton would be turning over in his grave if he saw how color is now being taught.