Pioneer Choir Parents Support 7th Hour!!!
Dear Members of the Ann Arbor Board of Education, I am the parent of a Pioneer High School Choir student and I strongly urge you to continue AAPS' traditional support of the arts. In particular, I ask that you preserve the seventh hour of academic instruction at our AAPS high schools, and that you preserve the positions of teachers needed to maintain our various arts programs. This year, 47 percent of PHS choir students took a seventh hour. For many of our music students, this is the only way they are able to fit in the required courses for graduation and continue to study music. Many of these students also take advanced foreign language or AP classes, so the extra hour is critical. Cutting the seventh hour of academics would severely disrupt our nationally recognized music programs. We would see a drastic drop in the number of students who are able to take choir or any other music class, such as band or orchestra. The proposal to charge $500 per semester for the extra hour is not a solution. That would lead to less diversity in the arts and to an even wider achievement gap. We are extremely proud of the excellence our choir students demonstrated in performances this year. All of our curricular choirs participated in district-level Choral Festival performances and all of them were selected to move to the state level. Additionally, Pioneer had four events (groups and soloists) selected among the best in the state to perform at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, held last month at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Our strong music education program helps draw families to the district and helps keep them from leaving. In order to continue the excellence of music programs we need to continue 7th hour and also to maintain the excellence of music instruction at our schools. We realize that budget cuts are necessary, but the elimination of 7th hour, and the distribution of pink slips given out last month, disproportionately targets the arts. Arts programs are as important as other academic programs. Not only can they stand on their own merits, but they have repeatedly been shown to correlate with success in other academic programs. Please support the arts by supporting seven hours of instruction for our students. Thank you for your consideration.