April 17, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 3

Colorama Hoe Down is history?

Letters to the Editor

So, the administrators and staff of Center Elementary school have decided to do away with the annual Colorama “Hoe Down” that has been taking place in our community for at least 25 years that I know of. This decision provides yet another example of how our local schools continue to erode in the Arts department and demonstrates a narrow-minded approach to the development of a well-rounded student that will function in the 21st Century with global intelligence and the ability to “think outside the box.”

First, the elementary school decided to eliminate their weekly “sing-along” time which exposed students to traditional folk music from around the world and taught such things as counting, rhythm, and cultural awareness. Next, they eliminated the children’s Christmas program. Now, to top it off is the elimination of a community event tied to our town’s annual festival that was enjoyed for decades by students, parents, grandparents and friends, and had educational value and a lesson in civics to boot.

There is plenty of research and overwhelming evidence to show that an understanding of music helps lead to enhanced knowledge in the math and science fields and aids in the development of creative thinking and problem solving. Music, dance, and other performing art forms promote self expression and give students a medium to create, imagine, and invent. These skills need to be developed at an early age.

I appreciate the fact that our teachers are being required to focus more time on the 3-R’s in order to be compliant with the NCLB Act. Of course, academic subjects must come first. However, that doesn’t mean that music should be left in the dust. I would hope that with a little creativity and a team approach including the involvement of the District’s music teacher, a solution could be found to better round out the school’s curriculum.

The total elimination of music and performing arts at the elementary level is hurting our students and they are not shy about voicing their disappointment. If more time is needed for these offerings, perhaps we could do away with the every other Monday early dismissal, or the mid-winter break (on top of a Spring Break, Christmas Break, and Summer Break.) Give our kids a break! Provide them with something to look forward to and a way to be expressive. You likely will find academic test scores improving in the process. I hope the community will join me in asking that the school reconsider their decision to cancel “Hoe-Down” and hopefully re-introduce music offerings as well. Thanks.

Diane Babler

Grand Coulee

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