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Re: “An Agenda for Memphis

Thank you Mr. Mayor for even seeing this as a priority to the longevity (and quality) of our city.
I would like you to consider that we have an incredible amount of home-grown talent within our public school system of future theatre practitioners, film buffs, musicians, artists, dancers, and writers who are not getting cultivated because the programs are non-existent for them to do so. The finest way to help children understand the artistic history of the city they live in is to make them a part of that history as it is written.
As a former Theatre teacher in MCS (and an actor in town) I can attest first hand that fine arts invest students into a school that they may otherwise feel disenfranchised from. Because of my theatre class, many students attended school with much more consistency and performed better in their classes because they were invested in their school and what happened there. I also had an incredible amount of genuine talent that I fear may never reach its potential because the programs that could groom it are not present.
With all of the pressing concerns about student achievement (I was a Teach for America teacher as well, so I know what a tough issue this is) I think it is important to consider how fine arts can solve many of those problems with its influence. Once a child has a passion for humanity, they become independent learners and this invariably strengthens their ability as a student. It also keeps them in a school that they may otherwise leave and become another number in our dwindling graduation rates.
Thank you for prioritizing the arts and helping to create an art-friendly city. I commend your forward thinking and realizing that the arts are the very heartbeat that maintains the vitality of a city and helps it grow. Now, I challenge the city officials to work with MCS to take it one step further in our public schools and ensure a human capital for decades to come.
Jaclyn S.

Posted by JaclynS on 07/16/2010 at 10:29 AM


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