Petition to Global Partnership for Education
Why schools are cutting music programs, and why we need to save them.
Music has been a crucial part of culture since the beginning of time. However, recently we have see a decline in the number of music departments at schools. Schools are receiving less funding, and in order to keep "crucial" programs and pay employees, the funds for music programs within the school are being cut drastically. As a result, many schools nation wide are loosing their music departments. While music seems like an easy, unimportant subject that can easily be cut, many don't seem to realize the importance of this subject. Studies have shown that students who play a musical instrument perform better in all other core subjects, as well as having better creativity, problem solving, and social skills. Music can help students express emotion and release stress. Schools districts need to stop cutting back funds for music programs, and they need to stop cutting these programs all together. Music is extremely important in culture, social settings, the community, and education. It is necessary that schools begin to teach music as a required subject in order to preserve its wonderful beauty and so that it may be enjoyed for many more years to come.
Petition to One91 School Board
Please support the growth of the One91 Strings Program
Please support our cause to build the One91 Strings Program with equity and vision by expanding the Strings Program to include all 5th grade students and provide unique, enriching educational opportunities for students at every stage of the Performing Arts Pathway. The One91 Orchestra Program is currently in its eighth year, serving over 200 students in grades 5-12. However, strings is only offered to 5th grade students in 2 out of 10 Elementary Schools. In order to sustain and strengthen the program, Strings needs to be available to all students in 5th grade throughout One91. The Strings Program is an essential part of our community which enhances the lives of our students and of all its community members. With your support, we can show that our district strings program is an integral and valued part of our community. It is one of very few string programs south of Twin Cities and unique in that students may start strings in Elementary School. One91’s orchestra program was featured in Kare 11’s "Cool in School." According to Kim Insley, Anchor/Reporter for Kare 11, “it is unusual to find that kind of commitment in elementary school, if you can even find one.” Notably, this program began during the great recession and is growing. If a program can thrive during a great recession, imagine the possibilities in times of abundance. Together, we hope to achieve a shared vision of One91 as the leading and preferred source of learning and education for its students and adult learners. Your support of the One91 String Program reinforces the belief in this shared vision. Thank you for your continued support. Sincerely, -- Students, families, educators and community members of One91
Petition to Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees, Liliana Carrillo
Please reinstate Ms. Harvey's teaching position.
On April 16, 2017, Cypress High School’s choral program learned that their new director, Ms. Melanie Harvey, was to be laid off due to budget cuts proceeding the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The district has ensured that the choral program will remain intact, but our director, Ms. Harvey, has lost her job. Ms. Harvey is the greatest thing that has happened to this program in a long time and we students believe that with the support of our community, the AUHSD Board of Trustees will hopefully acknowledge Ms. Harvey’s impact on our lives and education, and how essential she is to the program. With your participation in this petition, you are contributing to the fight to keep strong arts programs in the education system. We must emphasize the importance of music education and the fine arts as it is generally overlooked. Every signature helps us let our voice be heard. Thank you for your time and support for students, the arts, and a dedicated teacher. Thank you for using your voice to help a teacher that has allowed her students to find theirs. BACKGROUND Ms. Harvey is a first-year teacher at Cypress High School, and was vulnerable to the budget cuts due to her low seniority, but has grown the choral program to new heights. Ms. Harvey is the hardest working and most influential person we have ever had the honor to have as an instructor. Her impact on the Cypress choral program includes, but is not limited to: The number of students signed up for the upcoming school year (2017-18) has doubled in comparison to the current school year (2016-17). Ms. Harvey combines show choir and concert choir into the curriculum, giving students a strong background to classical music education, and a show choir (singing and dancing) experience. She is also dedicated to making sure students are proficient in music theory. Ms. Harvey offered to teach a separate music class to the Special Education students at Cypress High School, but since she has been terminated that class is no longer for sure being taught. Whoever replaces her has the decision to take it or not, and it is a difficult class to teach for some teachers. Ms. Harvey was actually excited and eager to teach and give this opportunity to the Special Education students. Ms. Harvey organized and directed four choir shows the past school year, as well as taking the advanced group, High Voltage, to four show choir competitions, and to one choral festival along with the beginning level group, Shockwaves. Ms. Harvey organizes after school and weekend rehearsals, taking time out of her own personal life for the students. Ms. Harvey teaches not only music, but life lessons and morals. She teaches integrity, teamwork skills, and confidence. The budget cuts by the State of California left Cypress High School without an on campus drama/theatre class, and threatened the existence of the dance program. They also completely cut the floral program. Students feel as if their arts programs are slowly diminishing. (As shown through the hashtag #savechsarts on Instagram) The arts is a calling to many students who are passionate about what they create. It is something that they can rely on for stability and communal support every single day when they walk into a choir, drama, or dance classroom. Cypress has had a different choir director every single year for the past three years. This has hindered the choral program from growing and stabilizing. If the teaching position is changed once again for the 2017-2018 school year, the program will repeat the cycle of having to reform and rebuild. Ms. Harvey was hired from outside of the district specifically for our class because there was no one else qualified for the position she took. If she leaves, then who will teach us? This causes emotional stress on the students, but also puts Ms. Harvey out of work. Every student deserves a strong music education. Ms. Harvey has provided Cypress High School with that, and could continue to impact more students’ lives with your support.
Petition to Carmen Farina, Fred Walsh, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bill DiBlasio
Bring Fame Back to the "Fame" School!
What if Jennifer Aniston, Adrian Grenier, or Robert DeNiro didn't have the chance to study drama at a high school for the arts? What if Ben Vereen or Desmond Richardson weren’t able to study dance; or Nicki Minaj and Pinchas Zuckerman, music; or Milton Glaser, art? The world would be a poorer place without their enormous contributions. Fortunately, they went to the best high school in the country for artistically gifted students - Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in NYC. Unfortunately, the next generation of talented artists may not have the same opportunity to develop their skills. Since the 2013 arrival of principal Dr. Lisa Mars, LaGuardia's admission process has been radically altered in favor of academic scores and attendance records. With these new admission criteria, talent counts for only 14% of the admission decision.* As a result, hundreds of qualified and gifted students have been denied admission. This change not only defies the 80-year-old mission of the Fame school, it also violates the Hecht-Calandra Act of 1971, which gives specialized high schools the unique power to choose their students based on a specific set of criteria. We demand that the Department of Education return the admission criteria to those consistent with the law and the original mission of the school. The Facts The Hecht-Calandra law provides that candidates for a specialized arts high school be required to “pass competitive examinations in music and/or the arts in addition to presenting evidence of satisfactory achievement.” However, since 2013, applicants who do not have at least a grade of 80 in every core academic subject are rejected, regardless of their audition score. So a student can receive a perfect 100 on their audition but be rejected because of a 79 they got in junior high school math. According to the 2015/16 Department of Education School Survey: - only 25% of LaGuardia's teachers say they trust the principal - only 28% of teachers say the principal communicates a clear vision for the school - only 32% of teachers say the principal understands how students learn - 73% of teachers feel disrespected by the principal According to the DOE’s framework for successful schools (which includes 6 categories) LaGuardia continues to decline in areas relating to leadership. In the most recent DOE School Dashboard, Dr. Mars received a stunning 1.76 for Trust and 1.2 for Effective Leadership (the scale is 1.00 - 4.99). LaGuardia is not meeting target in any of the 6 categories! Since the arrival of Dr. Mars, there has been an unprecedented exodus of teachers and staff. This year alone nearly 18% have left. Dr. Mars, who has had little experience in educating artistically talented students, has hired questionable replacements – for example, she replaced the Assistant Principal of Art with a middle school English teacher. The DOE and UFT are both aware of these issues, but have chosen to ignore them. The esteemed legacy of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts must continue. By our signatures below, we demand a return to admission requirements consistent with the Hecht-Calandra law and effective leadership for the school. * This percentage was for the 2013/14 school year, provided by a Freedom of Information Law request. Requests for subsequent years’ admission statistics have gone unanswered.
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.
Petition to Kayne
BRING BACK AP ART CLASSES AT MIHS!!
Bring back the AP art classes at MIHS! Admin has cancelled them ALL for next year. Sign the petition and share it to support AP arts. There has been a major change to the art curriculum at MIHS. All AP art classes have been cancelled. If you care about art, or you want the classes to be available to others, please take a minute to sign the petition. Thanks ! <3 *UPDATE: Puckett has agreed to "Stack" AP and regular classes. Lets keep showing our support for the arts!
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
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.