Spanish and art plan raises concerns

June 19, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Two parents appeared before the Waynesboro Area School Board Tuesday to protest a plan to cut art classes in fifth and sixth grades by half and replace them with introductory Spanish.

Board Member Stephen Kulla joined parents in opposing the plan.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting.

As explained by Assistant Superintendent Gloria Pugliano, about 100 high school students have expressed an interest in taking art classes next year.

The problem is that the district is short an art teacher. The staff's solution is to free up the elementary school art teacher by cutting classes there in half and substituting the time with Spanish.


"It sounds useful, but replacing art with Spanish is a travesty," said Dr. Lawrence Rogino, a local physician. "Kids need art for development."

Spanish is nearly a second language in many parts of the country, Pugliano said, and the primary language in a large part of the United States. "We hope to make the classes worthwhile," she said.

Parent Laura Shank of Waynesboro said she opposes the way Spanish classes will be taught - teaching it for half a year at a time, to the fifth grade in the fall and to the sixth grade in the spring.

The students won't remember what they've learned, she said. "This is a waste of money and time," she said.

Pugliano said children at that age are like sponges, that they would soak up the language and remember what they have learned.

Superintendent Barry Dallara said he agreed that Shank's argument had merit in the way the classes are proposed. "We will look into it," he said.

Kulla said he would not support replacing art with Spanish in the elementary school.

"Kids need art year round," he said. "They need it for creativity. We keep overloading kids. We keep piling it on."

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