At the hip-hop high school

By PHILIP EIL  |  March 14, 2012

IS THERE A DANGER THAT, IN TEACHING HIP-HOP, YOU ARE CREATING UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE IT BIG? I think that it's not always bad for a young person to have a goal or aspiration that they may not reach. If that's what's getting a kid to show up at HSRA every day, because she or he really wants to be a famous rapper or singer, it's getting them to show up at school every day. And then a lot of other things can happen from there.

YOU SPENT OVER A HUNDRED HOURS AT HSRA. HOW DID THIS CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION? It made me really frustrated about what I'm not seeing in so many other schools. The biggest thing is that school's willingness — and sense of obligation, even — to constantly innovate. Sometimes they're moving in a more radical direction. Sometimes they're moving in a more traditional direction. For my work, I travel and see schools all over the country. That spirit and that belief that you, as educators, can and must change things constantly — I don't see that in the way that I wish I did.

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