The July 27 editorial “Everett High: Drama over theater program” rightly shames Everett High School for cutting theater education from its curriculum in response to “intense pressures to improve academic achievement.” Apparently, Everett views achievement as scores on statewide assessments — tests that, ironically, incorporate plays to evaluate reading comprehension. If that is the school district’s measure, Everett should include more plays in the curriculum, not fewer.
Everett’s schools, and the officials who mandate the assessments, should appreciate that education is about providing the foundation and skills needed for a happy and productive life. Think about all the real-life jobs that benefit from a little theater in their execution. What presentation, client interaction, or sales pitch isn’t helped by skilled delivery?
Adults who remember the part they played in that school play, and the confidence and poise it gave them, should cherish that memory, because most of today’s students will never experience that joy. Over time, as our students grow up to become our teachers, they won’t have the background to even know that theater should be part of a full and rich life.
The writer is publisher of Plays, The Drama Magazine for Young People.