51Oakland's Jason Hofmann Recognizes Correlation Between Public School Arts and Music Programs and Academic Achievement

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2015 11:31am | Post a Comment

Despite the numerous studies conducted that unequivocally prove that there is a direct positive correlation between arts and music programs in schools, and improving academic scores and school attendance records for students who participate, music and arts programs in American public schools are constantly under the threat of being cut from their respective district's shrinking school budgets. School districts in cities across the US such as Chicago, Detroit, and Oakland are among those to feel the results of these budget cuts. Viewing them as short-sighted and detrimental to their communities, 51Oakland co-founder Jason Hofmann calls the cuts to the music and art programs criminal. "That there are no art and music programs in the public schools is a crime," said Hofmann who four years ago, with Yoshi Akiba (Yoshi's Jazz club co-owner), co-founded the non-profit 51Oakland organization with the singular goal of bringing music and arts back into the classrooms of the city of Oakland schools. Jason and Yoshi outlined 51Oakland's mission statement as "a funding conduit for inspirational music and arts programs developed by a synergistic partnership of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) principals and teachers, professional musicians and artists and involved community members." 51Oakland has produced its own events and developed programs, as well as teaming up with another similarly themed local non-profit Elevate Oakland that is headed by Sheila E - the accomplished percussionist, singer, former Prince collaborator, and daughter of Pete Escovedo. 

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51Oakland Brings Music And Art Back Into The Oakland Public School System

Posted by Billyjam, September 16, 2013 08:15am | Post a Comment

With an  emphasis on music, art, and community and a mission statement of ensuring that, "all Oakland public school students have equal access to Art and Music education" the small but hard-working non-profit 51Oakland ("51" + "Oakland") organization has had a most positive impact since its creation a little over a year ago. Co-founder/ executive director Jason Hofmann (interviewed above for the Amoeblog) along with Yoshie Akiba  - co-owner of the famed Bay Area jazz club Yoshi's - 51Oakland is doing for the Oakland public school system what, due to continual cutbacks in funding, has been unable to do for itself; present much-needed music and arts programs in the classroom. This the charitable organization has done by working with the schools in Oakland directly and responding to their stated needs. 

As word spreads on 51Oakland more and more people in the community are getting involved. One of 51Oakland's volunteers is Oakland resident Joe Kemper who said he decided to volunteer time out of his week with the non-profit because, "I really admire how much of an impact the organization is making. Obviously bringing back music to the Oakland schools is going to have a positive effect on kids who want to learn and play, but more than that, it's significantly helping to increase overall attendance, kids who are involved in music and 51oakland are doing better in their other classes, and it's having a positive impact on graduation rates and affecting kids in their lives far beyond just musically." Kemper added that he cannot stress enough the importance of music and arts programs in schools. "Having gone through the public school system and having the opportunity to participate in music and sports programs made a huge difference for me, and to see that those opportunities are no longer there for these kids is a real tragedy," he said.

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