education | January 07, 2013

Bill Strickland: The Kids Are Fine, It's The Schools That Need To Change

Bill Strickland recently appeared on a local NPR affiliate station to discuss the opening of a new program that uses the arts to teach at-risk students, and why it is so important to incorporate arts education in these programs. Located in the Charlotte area, Studio 345 uses innovate new techniques to help decrease student drop-out rates and increase performance. Strickland's Manchester Bidwell Corporation operates in much the same way, and he was asked to be on the radio show to discuss how he steered his program to such success and elaborate on the key components to helping struggling kids to unlock their inner potential. "We learned that the arts opens up that hemisphere of the brain where the human imagination, hope, excitement, and innovation resides," he says in the interview, "and if you can unlock that feature of the brain, that gets translated into improved behavior, improved performance, better school attendance, etc., etc."

Strickland believes that everyone has the potential to achieve greatness—as long as they are given the proper tools to allow them to do so. He says that providing a positive and stimulating environment is essential to inspiring students to be successful. "What we figured out is the kids are not at risk, what's at risk is the school system, the kids are fine," he explains in the interview, "they just needed an environment that gave them the opportunity to recognize that they had abilities to contribute in significant ways." In his speeches, Strickland expands on this idea and argues that success is not determined by one's social or economic status, but by their drive and desire, and that environment is one of the most important factors in academic success.

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authors | January 06, 2013