As an avid supporter of CHUH schools, as a mother and as an artist I feel that it is important to comment on the current art staff reduction at Cleveland Heights High School. The public statement says that it is reducing the art staff by 1 position. The reality is that two art teachers would be losing their jobs. Outside of elementary education, each aspiring teacher is qualified to teach specific kinds of art. Ms. Raack is a ceramics teacher. Ms. Skehan is a drawing and painting instructor.
To the school board all the studio arts are lumped together, but I ask you, would you want to learn calculus from a english teacher? Or violin from a drummer?
Some kids find their voice with a paintbrush, some on the pottery wheel, some with metal, others with wood. As a budding artist myself, I sought refuge in the photography darkroom and behind a lens.
The tactile art forms help to shape a young persons view of their own world. Finding confidence in an art keeps kids interested in learning, and coming back to school. I know for many young people the art room becomes a safe place to be different while still fitting in.
Cleveland Heights is the “Home of the Arts.” We must keep arts education strong so we can compete with other systems and keep the Arts here.
I encourage future parents, current parents and community members to engage in this conversation. Research the impact of the arts on young minds and learn more about the plans to continue to educate our children in the future.
The High School students have been organizing themselves creatively to voice their concerns. You can lend your voice to their movement by attending the next CHUH School Board meeting. It has been scheduled for immediately after Spring break on Tuesday, April 5 from 7pm – 9pm.