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Teachers Protest To Defend The Arts From Budget Cuts

Teachers Protest To Defend The Arts From Budget Cuts

Author’s Note: I don’t think there’s been a single Care2 Causes channel that hasn’t featured at least one post on the way GOP budget cuts are affecting some of the most worthwhile programs and services in America.

But when it comes to cutting education dollars, it gets personal. Our children shouldn’t be subjected to a cut-rate education just because politicians can’t be responsible with taxpayer money. All of the cuts being considered are serious to those who depend on the programs they fund, but as a lifelong music student and lover, this one hits too close to home.

An alert from Americans For the Arts points out:

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate [recently] passed a stop-gap funding measure for FY 2011 to keep the government operational for another 2 weeks, while they work on a final appropriations bill for the rest of the fiscal year.

This legislation makes $4 billion in domestic spending cuts, including a number of federal education programs. Among the programs terminated in this legislation is the $40 million Arts in Education program (AIE) through the U.S. Department of Education which supports model and professional arts education grants and funds VSA and the Kennedy Center arts education program as well.

This termination of the Arts in Education program is alarming, and all the more so because of the drastic budget cuts the National Endowment for the Arts underwent a few weeks earlier in the House legislation that would reduce its budget by 26 percent, the largest cut in 16 years!

Teachers across the Southeast gathered at their respective state capitol buildings this weekend to protest the cuts.

“I understand the urgency to identify savings in federal expenditures, but this should not be done by further diminishing a sparse curriculum,” said a concerned music teacher from the Knox County School system in Tennessee.

“Music is the ultimate vehicle for teaching 21st century skills. Students with the opportunity to express creativity develop talents that will benefit them throughout the rest of their lives,” she continued. “In addition to its cultural value, music teaches everything from coordination to team cooperation to self-discipline, and provides a variety of unique avenues for intellectual growth.”

(If you need additional reasons, check out: Why You Should Give A Damn About Arts Funding)

We need to let Congress know that these cuts and terminations are unacceptable, and they should restore them in the next phase of FY 2011 funding legislation which Congress will attempt to finalize very soon.

Related Reading:
Budget Cuts Hammer Schools: Keep The Math, Dump The Music
GOP’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011: Penny Wise, Pound Foolish?
Obama’s Spending Proposals for Education and Research

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Image Credit: Flickr - nathanrussell

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75 comments

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6:42AM PDT on May 31, 2011

Arts in school are vital, Everyone learns a different way. Why lose some of our best and brightest students due to lack of arts.

11:55AM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

It's incredible that we are still trying to make others understand the value of arts...

2:03PM PST on Mar 10, 2011

Heard Temple Grandin speak last night. Here is an autistic person who understands what is needed to actually learn and it didn't include much except attention, time, variety and hands on learning. Ignoring the complexity of each individual is a fatal mistake for our education system. Not everyone is a football star.

10:17PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Thanks for the info.

9:31PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Another nail in the coffin of American education.

3:52PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

The church used drama to teach. My husband used music to teach lighting USC. Arts are part of matetematics and science. Get rid of sports. It cost the scools too much, the parents to much and an awful lot of children are dying in football and basketball. Walking is good exercise as you go to a nighboorhood to put on drama about the economics of how schools really spend their money and who is most important.

1:19PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

The first things to be cut have always been art education and music, then teacher's aides, then office workers, then teachers, then administrators, then the administration low levels and you will never see sports related cuts regarding programs until the very end. Well, women's sports sure, and those "weird" sports like archery, and assistant coaches OK, but not men's basketball or baseball or heaven forbid football.

Priorities are really messed. What it will take to get them on a different, and to me, better track I don't have a clue.

10:56AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Art teaches people to think, which is probably why the neo cons want it to disappear along with other good things that contribute to this good life.

Please, speak loudly and clearly to your school board about the benefits of art and music. You won't regret it.

7:30AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

GOOD we need more arts classes even if that means less math and science classes.

1:22AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Fine arts education is about MUCH MORE than simply providing a well rounded education. Arts education (when taught properly) focuses on creating curricula and learning experiences that foster problem solving, creative thinking, critical thinking, and decision making skills. Unlike math and science which have 'right' and 'wrong' answers and predictable outcomes, fine arts lessons are much more creative. Students use more of their brain to create a solution to an arts-related 'problem'. Arts education is not about training great musicians, artists or actors, but IS a vehicle for teaching higher-order thinking skills. We are doing a great disservice to children if we allow the fanatic right-wing to remove arts education from schools.

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