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[Susan notes: Here you have a perennial education problem. Is it better to build a sophisticated complex for students of exceptional talent in the arts--or to provide and improve arts education for all students?]

Published in Los Angeles Times

To the editor

Re "District OKs Downtown Arts School," March 8

As a music teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I am extremely disheartened that the school board supported this school. I don't understand why we are opening an exclusive school for the most talented artists when there are so many schools without full visual- and performing-arts programs for everyone. The district has a performing arts magnet at Hamilton High School to serve the needs of the cream of the crop, but most high schools in the downtown area don't even offer choral music.

The $208 million would be better spent creating and improving all performing- and visual-arts programs to serve the needs of all students.


Los Angeles

It is exciting to read that L.A. Unified is planning to build a special high school dedicated to the arts. Many thousands of young visual and performing artists go wanting because our city's schools cannot offer the programs they need. As a social scientist, I know the importance of the arts in the fulfillment of personal potential and the enrichment of our communities. As a parent of children whose creative genius compels them to work with image on the page and voice on the stage, I empathize with students who cannot find a place to develop and display their talent and passion.

Bravo to the district for bucking the "three Rs" tide in education and putting up the money to build a school where a select group of young people can get a full-scale arts education. Next, let's find matching funds to rejuvenate arts education in high schools across Los Angeles.


Rancho Palos Verdes

Scott Burstein and Anthony L. Rose

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