Enter the arts community into the ever-escalating debate over high stakes testing in Rhode Island. The Providence Student Union is holding a “talent show” in front of the Department of Education on Friday, and several prominent artists are supporting the student group’s effort.
“The Providence Student Union’s Citywide Talent Show is a great venue to show the world that young people aren’t the leaders of tomorrow, they are leaders today,” said Elia Gurna, executive director of the New Urban Arts. “While the current educational culture seems to value only that which is easily measured by scores and grades, PSU is giving young people a chance to find and raise their voices through collaboration and creativity, which we should value just as much (or more) as any academic skills or achievements.”
The show starts at 4 pm on Westminster Street across from the Department of Education. According to a press release, members of the Board of Education have been invited, as well as other public officials.
“Providence students will take an afternoon off from standardized test‐taking to appreciate another important component of education: the arts. The Providence Student Union will hold a free variety show adjacent to the Rhode Island Department of Education to showcase the talents of students from across the city. The event, held in the middle of three weeks of NECAP testing, features more than twenty performances by Providence public school students.”
What do the arts have to do with high stakes testing, you ask? Well, this is what AS220 founder and artistic director Bert Crenka said:
“Art is about self expression, a sure path to self realization. We need more of it in our schools, not less. Enough said.”