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Arts High conflict is a rift too far

June 24, 2007

Re "Racial, economic rift opens at Arts High School," June 20

Not knowing any participants in this little drama, I am prompted to make the following observations from my experience of raising three successful citizens. Parents at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts are doing a disservice to their children by not sharing with them the fact that there is more than one way to do anything. This is certainly true in the arts.

Just because their hired personal agent gives an answer different from that of teacher Lois Hunter, head of the school's dance and theater departments, does not mean that Hunter is wrong.

These children will need to learn to not only be excellent at what they do but also how to win and lose gracefully. These parents are setting a poor example for their children.

JEAN SOLOMON

Los Angeles

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The racial and economic rift at the High School for the Arts is directly tied to the lack of support in public elementary and middle schools for a strong arts curriculum in dance, theater, visual arts, voice and music.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on raising test scores and the lock-step reading and math programs that teachers are forced to implement have resulted in less time and funding for arts courses; increased time for test preparation at the expense of authentic reading, writing and math applications; and limited numbers of students who are well prepared for a rigorous arts and academic curriculum in high school.

Research consistently demonstrates that arts education enhances students' knowledge of traditional academic content and contributes to their knowledge of cultural traditions in the arts.

However, we have to be willing to support the funding of the arts in the lower grades for all students and for teacher training.

SUZETTE COMEAU

GOLDSTEIN

Altadena

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Marcia Hobbs, the Arts High School's foundation president, said, "I object to the idea that people equate diversity with loss of excellence." But let's be realistic. As soon as you consider anything but talent, you lose a certain amount of excellence.

ANDREA STEINMAN

Palm Desert

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