Monday, March 30, 2009

A Call to Act!

I am worried.  If you have listened to the radio, the news, or picked up a paper in the past couple of months, you know what state our national finances are in.  The scary part is the trickle down of resources, creating limited financing for states and regional programs.  I happen to work in a school for students with special needs, and we are again faced with tuition stays while the cost of educating these children raises.  My program alone will be expanding while the staff-power to handle such a load will not grow.  My concern is for the welfare of these students, my fellow staff members and for the program overall.
But what I'm really concerned about is public education.  In my son's elementary school, the school board is looking at 2 budgets: level funding and basic funding.  The first considers a budget without any new hires, and actually getting rid of a few teachers to balance the higher cost of purchasing for programs.  The second budget is the scarier one - this is the one where they keep talking about cutting the arts and music programs completely out of the educational process.  And not only that, all athletic program will be cut drastically, and our nurses will have to spread themselves across all schools.  Being that the president has not sent the expected economic stimulus funds, we will most likely be going with the second, more strict budget, laying off many, many teachers.
Being a musician, actually, a music therapist, I cannot tell you how integral the arts are to our children's education.  I cannot imagine why someone would assume they were expendable. Without the arts, certain important parts of the brain go under-stimulated.  These are the very parts of the brain that govern organization, patterning for language and thought, expression, emotions, memory, eye-hand coordination, impulse control, just to name a select few.  Those standard test scores they want to raise?  Well, you can kiss that pipe dream good bye without the arts or athletics.  No one will be able to sit long enough to focus on any standardized tests without any impulse control and organized thought.
Please.  Please - look into what your local school boards are considering, even if your children do not attend schools in that district/don't go to school any longer/or you don't have children.  I know here in our town, we need each and every individual to speak up for the right to keep the arts and athletics programs intact.  I know it takes time, but please contact your local state authority.  You can find them through this site.  All it takes is one phone call, email or snail mail letter.  You'll feel better once you do it, and a zillion parents will thank you in the end.

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