Cristi Ambroso
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Introduction

The Dominican Republic is a part of an island in the Caribbean known as Hispaniola. It shares the island with Haiti. Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic is quite famous because it was the New World’s first settlement when Christopher Columbus first landed there in 1492. The ethnic groups primarily consist of the native Taíno people, Spanish, Caucasian, and black. Like many other places in the Caribbean the main religion is Catholic and the main language used is Spanish. The system of government is a democracy and the current President is Leonel Fernandez.


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Education

Though not the most advanced society, the Dominican Republic had high literacy rates of about 83%. This is actually pretty unusual considering over a thousand schools were destroyed in 1998 due to a hurricane. Most education is public though those who can afford private schools attend those. Public education is free until after what we consider the high school level. The students are responsible to pay for their uniforms and books for school. Attendance is required up until 6th grade but after that many students, especially girls drop out to help support their families. As for the arts, many schools struggle to keep their art programs going. Many schools and organizations do support art in all areas but don’t have the funding for them. When art is being taught at schools, students are encouraged to express their tradition and cultural spirit through their work. Whether it is doing a native folk dance, religious painting, or even an outfit worn. The Dominicans take much pride in how they dress. Which is part of the reason why they are expected to wear uniforms to school, so every student is dressed nice. School is to be taken seriously in the Dominican Republic so the students must dress seriously.
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Artist

Juelz Santana is widely known for his rap music. But what many don’t know is that he’s Dominican. Although born in Harlem, New York, Juelz grew up with a heavily influenced Dominican background. He started rapping when he was five and gained popularity when he was featured on a song with another rapper Cam’ron. Juelz, Cam’ron and a few other rappers formed a rap group known as the Dipolmats a.k.a Dipset. The song “There It Go” off the album From Me 2 U was one of Juelz most famous songs and albums. Another notable song Juelz did was “Let The Beat Build” on Lil Wayne’s album Tha Carter III.

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Art Organization

There is a dance school in the Dominican Republic that is known for teaching many different kinds of dancing to locals and travelers. That dance school is A Bailar! located on the north coast of the country near Cabarete Bay. This dance school was started by a man named Tony Vargus. He and some of his friends were talking one day and came up with an idea for a dance school that brings locals and travelers together to get a unique learning experience. You can take all kinds of dance classes here including merengue, bachata, and salsa. This school also participates in many parades like the Fiesta Patronales. This dance school also puts on shows for the community and goes to restaurants on special nights to teach dance.
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Funding for Arts and Teachers

Schools throughout the Dominican Republic lack funding, especially when it comes to arts. Even though the Dominican Republic values art in education unlike here in the states, there still isn't much funding to support it. Art is typically done at lower levels of education but the higher you go the less you see it in curriculum. One thing unique about funding for the art programs in the Dominican Republic is that if students don't excel in other areas of education, but do in art, they are encouraged to stick with art and many schools will support the student. Much art that can be taught in school can also be taught in the home because much of the art taught is reflective of Dominicans culture and traditions. So even though there is constant lack of funding for the arts many students still experience it through their home lives. Since funding for art isn't around much, neither is teaching art to teachers. When many students are in school to become teachers art is not something incorporated into their learning to help teach their future students. Many teachers just have to get some type of degree from a university to teach. If you want to be a teacher here you don't have to specialize in education but just get a degree. As a requirement for teaching, you must hold a degree from a university. There are 18 universities in the Dominican Republic and as long as you get a degree from one of them you may teach.
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Conclusion

When I first started this project I was really excited to do the Dominican Republic. I have always wanted to go there to study and explore the land. Now that I know even more about the country, I want to go even more! It was interesting to learn that arts education is a little bit more valued there than here in the United State when we are a more developed country. I think the arts is more valued there because it's a main way for the Dominican's to express there culture and traditions. But the Dominican Republic still runs into the same kinds of problems we do here in the States with funding for art programs. If students want to excel in the arts then they must do it on their own outside of school, much like here in the states. A couple things that surprised me was how closely their religion, culture, and traditions are tied to their art and schooling. I was also surprised to learn how Dominicans take so much pride in what they wear that it actually affects what students wear in school as well. In the end I'm glad I chose this country it was interesting to learn and explore this country.

Sources

http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Dominican-Republic.html
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107475.html#axzz0wKIi5Cv7
http://www.a-bailar.net/galleria.html
http://www.youtube.com/
http://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi