I got a text from my educator/poet friend yesterday saying that Hip Hop High gained a new charter for two years! The Hawthorne School District Board voted 3-2 yesterday to approve the school, officially known as the Media Academy of the Recording Arts, to open its doors on September 15th. This news, however, isn’t your ordinary charter school news. Hip Hop High ended its agreement with Centinela Valley Union High School District when classes let out earlier this summer – only teachers and administrators didn’t see it that way. There arose a controversy over a legal technicality in Hip Hop High’s first five year charter. The district said five years had passed and administrators failed to apply for renewal this summer. On the other side, the school didn’t open its doors to students until a year after the charter was approved, and in accordance with the language of the agreement, administrators counted five years since that time giving them the correct sense that renewal would be an issue next summer.
But by finding a new home in the Hawthorne School District, Hip Hop High has essential been giving its much deserved second chance. Earlier this summer, I met some of the students from the school and was impressed by their bond to the institution and most certainly by the tracks they laid down in class. Now, the anti-Hip Hop establishment might scoff at the concept of having the culture central to a core curriculum for students, but as I was penning some lyrics for a track last night, I reaffirmed the realization that the art form should be revered as an up to date relevant exercise in writing, poetry, and emotional intelligence. It ain’t like these kids are putting tracks to wax singing about ‘booty butt cheeks.’ So in short, congrats to Principal Jenn Murphy, Mark Gonzales (you gotta job now dawg) and most of all, to the kids of Hip Hop High. Keep it going, keep it flowin’