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A Stop to the Hip Hop


A performing arts charter school in Hawthorne, Calif., that many struggling students saw as a saving grace may be closing as a result of a bureaucratic snafu, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Media Arts Academy Charter School, also known as “Hip Hop High,” received notice July 1 from the Centinela Valley Union High School district that its charter had expired and had not been renewed. Principal Jennifer Murphy says she thought charter ran through 2009 and suspects the district intentionally neglected to warn her about the expiration. "They literally have been lying in wait to do this," she said at a district school board meeting

Many of the students at Hip Hop High had failed out of other schools but were inspired by the charter’s music-based curriculum and supportive environment. “You’re shutting our dreams down,” one student stated at the board meeting. "This is the only place we can be ourselves and express ourselves," said another.

The district’s superintendent insists that the closing was not part of an agenda against the school but simply a matter of regulations. "Their application expired. They basically ran the clock out," he said. Media Arts’ staff is exploring legal options, but may have to apply for a new charter.


It is important to note that the Media Arts Academy at Centinela opened for its first day of instruction in 2004. The charter should not expire until 2009. The district is basing their case on an old agreement under which the academy was to begin instruction in 2003. State education officials agree that the Media Arts Academy at Centinela was acting responsibly in preparing to renew/write a new charter beginning next year.

I hope that the Media Arts Academy Charter School aka "Hip Hop High" has a clear understanding of what hip hop actually is. A sub-culture of 4 equal parts; The DJ (back bone of hip hop), Breakers or bboys/bgirls (not break dancer), Graffiti Writers, The MC (story teller of the culture). A school with a music program where kids can make and produce beats doesn't equal hip hop. A school offering classes in each one of the elements could be properly deemed as a hip hop school. I personally haven't seen the cirriculum offered at the Charter School so if they do offer the full aray of hip hop classes that is awesome!

Now is not the time to shut down ANY school particularly public schools where a large percentage of students depend on public education. Teenagers have an especially high need for acceptance and "trendy"approaches to education to keep them interested as they go through a time of uncertainty and need for understanding and patience. Not a wise decision to close due to a "technicality"when there are approaches to "necessitÿ" in a vulnerable economy.

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Recent Comments

  • ylondra: Now is not the time to shut down ANY school read more
  • Johnny Castro: I hope that the Media Arts Academy Charter School aka read more
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