Topic

arts education

39 petitions

Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Bensalem Township School Board, Rachel Fingles, Kim Rivera, Heather Nicholas, Marc Cohen, Stephanie Ferrandez, Kathleen Lesnevec, Anand Patel, Pamela Strange, Vanessa Woods

Keep Arts Charter Out of Bensalem

The Arts Charter is not needed in Bensalem Township, or Lower Bucks County, PA.  We, the undersigned parents and guardians of students, together with teachers and other community stakeholders of Bucks County School Districts petition the Bensalem School Board Directors to reject the application for Charter from TLC Arts Schools, LLC or any other corporation that may apply with the same intent.   The aforementioned community members petition the Board to reject the above charter application on the following grounds: Public schools in Bucks County already offer the following programs for academic credit: Creative Writing, Journalism, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theatre, Vocal Music, Visual and Graphic Art. The students who have graduated from these programs have gone on to successful careers—on Broadway, on International News Stations in a top 4 market—as playwrights, and as authors and musicians who have received awards for their outstanding work in their fields (including a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy). They have also gone on to successful political careers, professorships, entrepreneurial endeavors, and countless other professions which continue to shape the next generation and positively impact our global community. This short list is not all encompassing and does not even begin to scratch the surface of the thousands of success stories that have been born out of these programs in our public schools.The “majors” offered by the proposed charter are duplicative of the well-established programs that have existed for generations, and which continually evolve to embrace new technology and trends. Put simply, this charter school is utterly unnecessary. If the proposed charter enrolls 400 students then it would, at a minimum, drain $6,000,000 from the taxpayers of Bucks County (this number does NOT consider any special education costs which would more than double the cost of any student who attends the school).   Charter schools are paid approximately $35,000 per student with special needs, regardless of the actual cost to educate that individual student.  Any student who requires special education can get those accommodations at the public schools in the arts programs they desire. In fact, students who attend a public with an IEP MUST have their needs met, while a charter school may not be equipped or inclined to do so. As a charter school, the teaching staff is not held to the same certification standards as our public school teachers; they do not need to be highly qualified, or even certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When charter school teachers are contracted on a year-to-year basis, those teachers have no job security. As a result, there will always be an air of instability for students, teachers, and parents.  Continuity of programming will depend on whether or not teachers are offered a better job in any of the surrounding public school districts. Like many others, this charter school claims to be “non-profit.” However, inadequate oversight and a lax law have allowed some charter school operators to defraud taxpayers.  Charter management organizations are permitted to spend unlimited taxpayer dollars on expenses that are unrelated to educating children including political lobbying, 7-figure CEO salaries, and advertising. Thomas S. Lubben, the man who is leading the charge to open this charter school, appears to have no allegiance to quality education or the arts. Instead, he seems intent on making money on the backs of taxpayers.  In 2000, he left his job as Executive Director for Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts BEFORE it even opened for a more lucrative position with for-profit charter management organization, Mosaica Education.  Mosaica Education was responsible for opening the first charter school in Bensalem, Mosaica Academy Charter School. In 2001 Mosaica Academy chose to sever ties with Mosaica Education due to poor management, and the school was reopened under its current name, School Lane Charter School.  More recently, Mr. Lubben’s last four petitions to open Charter Schools were REJECTED.We don’t want to give Mr. Lubben the chance to make his next fortune on the backs of Bucks County residents at the EXPENSE of our children in public school. We, the undersigned, respectfully request and DEMAND that the Bensalem School Directors hereby REJECT the application of TLC Arts Schools, LLC. They are not welcome and not needed in our communities.

Leann Hart
1,323 supporters
This petition won 7 months ago

Petition to Julia Jasken, Academic Planning Committee

The Future of the Theatre Department

UPDATE FROM PROVOST: "I am not given the authority to offer any tenure track appointments until the early fall, so no department, regardless of the pressure that is exerted, can be hearing definitively that they will receive one of those positions. I will, however, assure you once again that you have made a good case for what you believe the department needs. The Theatre program is very valuable, both to our students and to the College. Please let me know if there is any additional information I can provide to you.​" Ira Domser, the main technical professor for the McDaniel Theatre Department is retiring. We need a replacement because we do not have a professor to teach technical theatre classes, including ones required to complete the Theatre Arts major. The Academic Planning Committee's current plan to replace Ira is to have two part-time positions fulfill the needs next year. However, the Academic Planning Committee wants to replace Ira's position with two part-time positions PERMANENTLY. This is not a sustainable solution and we are working to share our concerns with the Provost about this. Concerns include (but are not limited to): Part time instructors would be only required to work 13 hours a week outside of the classroom; not enough time to produce a department performance. Tech week takes 12 hours per day, so they would not be able to attend tech week for more than one day. There is a high turnover rate among part time professors, so hiring two part time instructors in permanent positions does not guarantee consistency, and there may end up being new instructors coming in every year, needing to be retrained about the specifics of our department. McDaniel College prides itself in teacher student relationships. Without consistency it is difficult for students to form meaningful relationships. This is essentially depriving students from one of the fundamental principles of this institution. Tech focused students would have not have academic advisers with familiarity in their focus, and no one to serve as a mentor. Elizabeth van den Burg will be the only full time professor in the theatre department. What will happen when she retires?  Elizabeth and Gene' Fouche would be the only two advisers for a department with over 30 majors, and would have a lot of strain from this  

Jennifer Willard
179 supporters
Update posted 9 months ago

Petition to Kirk Schultz

Immediately re-instate the theatre program at Washington State University

Washington State University President Kirk Schultz has targeted the self-sustaining theatre program at Washington State University and cut the positions of well-liked and respected professors Ben Gonzales and Mary Trotter. The theatre program has already been cut down over the years, and operates on a budget so small that it doesn't have a large impact on the WSU budget. Without the presence of the theatre, not only will the theatre building be an empty wasteland, but so will the soul of WSU be empty. Theatre has an amazing impact not only on the students who choose it as a major, but on the campus community and greater community as a whole. Theatre teaches students the importance of empathy, diversity, problem solving, communication, working to a deadline, narrative, group leadership, and is now an area that the business world is seeing as a well-spring for adaptable employees who can work with complex issues and meet deadlines and budgets. Groupon purposefully hired actors and comedians for customer service, sales, and account management positions within the company. Even top team leaders and managers come from the arts world in that company, and several others. Several graduates for the program have worked in Hollywood, New York and Chicago. The program has also brought in incredible guest artists, and former students like Ted Tremper who now works for comedienne Sarah Silverman. Theatre also enriches the educations of students in the Pullman area from kindergarten through grad school by providing performance opportunities, educational opportunities that teachers can add to their lesson plans, and opportunities that are sorely underserved in the Eastern Washington State Community giving children their first glimpse at the arts. President Schultz is selling the Washington Community short by eliminating this program in such a narrow-minded cynical fashion. In this era of devisiveness, theatre can heal divides, but that takes foresight, support, leadership and care, which the Washington State University Administration seem to be lacking. I will make it my personal mission to let the world known about corporate bottom line administrators like you, President Schultz who are undermining the well-rounded educations of liberal arts and state universities everywhere. President Schultz this is your chance to correct a wrong. Save the artistic soul of WSU.     

Christopher Plummer
2,327 supporters