Students at a city public school district arts high school are unhappy about state and district budget cuts severely affecting their arts programs, and they’re not taking it lying down.
This YouTube video was made by students at the school to draw attention to cuts the school is currently facing. And it sounds like these kids mean business. Students who choose to attend School of the Arts in Rochester, N.Y., must complete a concentration in one of seven fine arts sequences in addition to the regular “reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic” courses expected of students at all high schools in the Rochester City School District. This requires commitment to an extended school day. Perhaps because of this level of commitment, the high school apparently boasts the best graduation rate in the district.
What I like is that these kids aren’t afraid to try. They care about their school and what happens to it. Maybe their efforts will make a difference, maybe — sadly — they won’t. But these students are members of the Millennial Generation, digital natives. And they’ve turned to their native “language” — so to speak — to promote a cause they are passionate about. And I think that’s cool.
I couldn’t begin to say what will happen to School of the Arts and other schools like it, or what the best way forward for the school is. I know there is some controversy over the place of the arts in public school education. It seems to me that if the arts get kids to care about their education, take pride in and responsibility for it, then arts in education can’t be all bad. And with Web 2.0 technology now the norm, surely it’s easier than ever to mix science and the arts in education.