A group of intermediate school students on Staten Island, New York are fighting the school system’s plan to slash art, music and foreign language classes in the coming school year. Principals want to devote more classroom time to "hard-core academics".

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!! Band, choir, orchestra, and the visual arts are not extras, frills, supplements or "fun stuff". They too are "hard-core" classes that should be part of every student’s schedule every year. Unfortunately, whether it’s because schools want more time to drill kids on standardized test questions or because of money problems, art and music programs are being eliminated or reduced all over the country.

I’m repeating myself in this space but it’s still true: what good are kids who know lots of facts but have no soul, no appreciation for the humane side of life?