New Superintendent Needs Support to Invest in Arts Education

Stating the long-term goal should be for every school to have art and music, Dr. Diana Greene made the strongest statement of the three finalists for our next DCPS superintendent in support of arts education as essential in educating the whole child.

Acknowledging short-term adjustments may have to be made considering the $62 million shortfall, she nevertheless put an early stake in the ground for her priorities. She bragged that as soon as Manatee County had a fund balance over 3 percent, she began investing in the arts.

Dr. Greene will be walking into a community eager for investment in the arts. She will be walking into a community rich in educators and community partners eager to serve.

That said, no superintendent is a miracle worker. Dr. Greene needs more than her and our community’s good intentions; our children deserve more.

Dr. Greene and our children need elected leaders, especially at the state level, to adequately invest in public schools and give them similar flexibility given to charter schools.

Dr. Greene and our children need everyone at all levels of our district to consider that lower-income students who regularly participate in the arts have a 96% graduation rate, compared to only 76% among their peers, when making resource allocation decisions.

Dr. Greene and our children need business leaders to take to heart the fact that arts education creates tomorrow’s leaders – empowering them to analyze, problem-solve and innovate. If we really want to equip students for the jobs of tomorrow – many of which haven’t even been imagined yet – we’ve got to do more to cultivate creative thinking and truly engage students in learning.

Responding to a question about the growing school choice movement, Dr. Greene shared how she brought students back to public schools in Manatee by working with principals on curriculum to make their schools the most attractive school they could and engaging students once they enrolled so they would want to stay there.

If Dr. Greene wants to do the same in Duval County, there is simply no better way to attract and engage students than through the arts.