The New York Times — Letter to the Editor

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In response to the 2/9/13 The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

 

To the Editor:

Arts Horizons applauds David Kirp’s recent article on the Union City, NJ school system, and believes that arts organizations like ours have contributed to the school system’s remarkable success. As an organization that introduces the arts to students throughout the New York metropolitan region, we know that the integration of The Arts into the school curricula is essential to turning around bad schools.

The arts engage and impact all ages, cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Music, art, dance, theatre, creative writing and now digital media inspire creativity, invigorate classroom learning and motivate students and parents alike. In school systems like Union City, our teaching artists work alongside classroom teachers to fan the sparks of creativity and encourage students to experience what we would like to see in all education – involvement, discovery, energy and direction.

Mr. Kirp could have added another example of a beneficial lesson that helped bring some Union City immigrant children into the mainstream. Middle school students recently interviewed their grandparents, wrote their stories and, under the tutelage of a professional painter, created paintings from the stories. Through this exercise they connected with their grandparents as they never had before.

Creativity and innovation are essential ingredients in today’s workplace, and have an important place in today’s classroom. Yet when school budgets are reduced, the arts are invariably cut first. All schools should follow the example of Union City. We cannot afford to put the arts on the back burner of education.

ELIZABETH HALVERSTAM

Executive Director

Arts Horizons

www.artshorizons.org

Englewood, NJ, Feb. 14, 2013

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About Arts Horizons

Arts Horizons is a premier not-for-profit arts-in-education organization that provides live professional performances and artist-in-residence programs to students and professional development for teachers throughout the entire tri-state region. Our commitment is to make music, art, dance, theatre, new media and creative writing an integral part not only of learning, but of life. Through the transformative impact of the arts, we reach young people through many dimensions, breaking down the barriers of language and culture, accelerating personal growth, and stimulating children’s full potential to prepare them for life in the twenty-first century.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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