(And yes, I realize I'm oversimplifying and that the educational choices are actually far more complex than that.)
So I find what Lansing School Districts are doing with the magnet schools to be refreshing and a cause for rejoicing. In particular, I'm excited about Pleasant View Magnet School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Last night I listened to the principal describe the educational program they have in place. How's this for exciting?
The morning is primarily a two-hour literacy block working on reading, writing, and spelling. The rest of the day also includes math, science, and social studies. Then in the afternoon, all children have the following classes:
- Music twice a week
- Dance once a week
- Art once a week
- Drama once a week
- Gym once a week
- Library once a week
- Computer once a week (or more for older kids)
They also have a resource teacher that works with the art and classroom teachers to help integrate art into the entire curriculum. The examples given were that multiplication facts are set to rap and math concepts to other songs; when fourth graders study Michigan history, they design and then sculpt lighthouses out of clay.
The children also have numerous opportunities to perform throughout the year, including a holiday program in December and an all-school spring dance production.
This year they have more than 580 students enrolled in the K-8 program. Think of that--580 students getting daily education in the arts. I get goosebumps just thinking about the positive force something like that can have on our community. That's a world I want to live in.