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Washington (November 13, 2007) -- Think back to the glory days of leather jackets and GTOs. It is 1979, and the Ramones just released the video for "Rock ''n Roll High School." You know it... the detention hall, the voices of rowdy students building over that single guitar chord, and then the drums kick in. Joey is standing at a chalkboard underlining "I don’t care about history!" It was rebellion at its best.
Fast forward 30 years and things are a little different. Now top rock bands are vying for the approval of Presidential candidates and music programs are taking a major hit from government legislation. Now we find ourselves wondering why there isn''t more music in schools -- Rock ''n Roll music, to be more precise. By now we know it can be a force of positive change.
Guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who is riding high on the E Street Band’s current tour and recent release of the critically-acclaimed Magic, has another project in the works. He''s working to create Rock ''n Roll high schools across the nation. Van Zandt, through his non-profit Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, is collaborating with Scholastic’s InSchool division to revive music education and music history after years of funding cuts to middle and high school programs.
The project is called Little Steven’s Rock and Roll High School. The curriculum is aimed at teaching the cultural impact and historical relevance of rock music to a new generation of teens. The program, expected to begin with the 2008-2009 school year, will give free resources to the nation''s 30,000+ middle and high schools. The materials will include a teacher''s guide, lesson plans, Web-based resources and corresponding DVDs and CDs with information starting at Elvis and working toward modern rock and hip-hop. The curriculum is endorsed by the National Association for Music Education.
In an interview published in USA Today, Van Zandt said, "If the Rolling Stones came out today, there''s nobody that would play them." By placing more money, resources and instruments into schools, Van Zandt hopes to restore, safeguard and promote rock music among today’s teenagers.
This is not Van Zandt’s first push for music education. In 2006, the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and Hard Rock Café put on an event called A Wiseguy New Years Eve In Times Square. It included a charity effort that went toward placing instrumental music in public schools.
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