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The Arts and Education

This petition had 1,113 supporters

As a student at Durham School of the Arts (DSA), I have been continuously enriched by the joys and important lessons that the arts can bring. However, a new budget cut for the 2017-2018 school year that would affect the entirety of Durham Public Schools is proposing a loss of 24 teachers; DSA would be losing three of them. It is becoming clear that at least one of these teachers will be a teacher from an arts concentration (chorus, band, visual, film, theatre, writing, piano, etc.). As much as it seems like this would be the easiest cut to make, it is not as simple as it seems. Many students, including myself, have had their lives changed for the better by the arts; my peers and I have personal stories that show just how positive of an impact being a part of an arts program has had on our lives. Through the arts, students are able to learn self-discipline, communication skills, confidence, maturity, not to mention the scientifically proven cognitive and biological development of the brain that can be strongly assisted and positively affected by an exposure to the arts. These are all skills that are extremely valuable in all aspects of life. The arts give people, especially students and teachers, a place to go and be able to safely explore and experience the people that they truly are and want to be, as well as to just belong. This petition would mean letting the North Carolina Board of Education know that Durham Public Schools and the Durham community of students and parents care about the arts and that a budget cut like this would mean hugely negative impacts on the lives of countless numbers of students, and potentially allow the Board to ask for better funding. It is important to note that we are standing with the Durham Public Schools Board of Education in recommending that such a budget that would result in the loss of some the most influential people and programs within this community not be approved. The signatures below are all from students, parents, and teachers who believe that the proposed budget cut on our arts pathways would negatively impact their school environment and hurt their education. We firmly believe and will assist in finding new ways to bring in funds if possible. Embedded is a video of Durham School of the Arts' entire high school choral department in 2014 (nearly 400 students!) showing the capabilities that the arts can have to move people. However, this is just one of the many arts programs that have an influence on the lives of others; the amount of emotion, be it tears or laughter, that has been expressed through theatre productions, spoken word performances, film, dance recitals, and everything in between has moved innumerable amounts of people. The arts are an integral part of this diverse and beautiful community that needs to be preserved, but this can only be done with the help of everyone within this community. 

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