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Old 04-17-2014, 10:44 PM   #1
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Axing elementary music programs

I understand that there is already a thread on school district budget cuts but I insist that this topic needs specific illumination, especially given the imminence of the vote taking place on April 30th.

It is mentioned briefly in the Sun article from the other thread but I want to bring to everyone's attention one of the proposed cuts that may occur in the Vancouver School District.

http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/f...%202014%29.pdf
(See page 44)

I am a proponent of music education programs and see substantial value in them. The literature is overwhelming: music - indeed the fine arts in general - supports cognitive development in children and provides an avenue for expression and communication absent from regular academic schoolwork.

Participating in a band program provides a unique social context in which children connect with each other in a way not entirely different than they would on a sports team. I maintain that participating in a continuous, challenging, rigorous team environment is incredibly healthy for a child's development and fostering of fundamental skills and other such things like goal setting, cultivating a passion, acting with determination and perseverance, and working as a team towards some performance objective that is not simply a letter grade on paper. The kinship and camaraderie born out of such relationships is of immeasurable value; the best of relationships are formed on teams.

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate on sports teams and music programs throughout my public school education and, as such, feel qualified to draw these parallels.

For whatever reason, not all students are capable of participating on sports teams. Music programs afford the above benefits to all students. To eliminate elementary music programs or make them prohibitively expensive would be to rob children of the very basis of a healthy childhood.

Please, if you’re on the same page as I, take a few minutes to write to Ms. Patti Bacchus, the chairperson of the Vancouver Board of Education, urging her to save the elementary band and string programs from the guillotine.
patti.bacchus@vsb.bc.ca

Sample letter: Letter to the Vancouver Board of Trustees | Coalition for Music Education in BC
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:20 AM   #2
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Those types of cuts are happening all across the board, not just music education. Sports teams' funding, funding for shop/trade/auto-shop type of courses that give high-school kids a huge step-up if they want to go into skilled trades, etc. I went to my old high-school's auto shop to get some work on my car done and I was floored to see that a lot of the programs I took for granted back in my day were simply not there anymore due to budget cuts.

Meanwhile, significant amounts of gov't coffers are being put towards idiotic bike lanes and closing down residential streets (was it West 2nd or 4th in the Kits area) for the same purpose - to facilitate a method of travel that is impractical for 8 months out of the year. Strong priorities, Vancouver. Strong.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:23 AM   #3
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Do you even know how the budget system work? Bike lanes, residential street are municipal, education funding is provincial, divying up to each school board. They are not even in the same pie.

As for spamming the school board.. good luck being heard.

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Those types of cuts are happening all across the board, not just music education. Sports teams' funding, funding for shop/trade/auto-shop type of courses that give high-school kids a huge step-up if they want to go into skilled trades, etc. I went to my old high-school's auto shop to get some work on my car done and I was floored to see that a lot of the programs I took for granted back in my day were simply not there anymore due to budget cuts.

Meanwhile, significant amounts of gov't coffers are being put towards idiotic bike lanes and closing down residential streets (was it West 2nd or 4th in the Kits area) for the same purpose - to facilitate a method of travel that is impractical for 8 months out of the year. Strong priorities, Vancouver. Strong.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:25 AM   #4
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I have seen the future and it is this:


Only the good looking, wealthy, and popular will know culture and be able to become artists

The ugly, poor, and unknown will learn the most rudimentary skills in public schools and be groomed, both vocationally and behaviorally, to serve the rich and privileged.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:30 AM   #5
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Strong priorities, Vancouver. Strong.

The only priorities we have is to subjugate anyone socially below us and kiss ass to anyone above us. Our society is based on domination; financially, sexually, spiritually, emotionally, culturally, physically


This is a world-wide phenomenon, from Captains abandoning their ferries or cruise ships first, to the same recycled/rebooted movies that strangle our ability to grow culturally, to the lack of any cohesive values beyond the lowest common denominators of sports and alcohol. We are all our own little islands desperate to claw up at the ivory towers above us while stepping on the faces of anyone below us to save ourselves from their fates


I blame the Internet for making us too aware of things "out there" and not aware of anything in here >points at heart<
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:16 AM   #6
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Whenever I see budget cuts to schools I just feel sorry for these kids. Although I never took music, a lot of my friends did, they loved it, and they are so glad they had the opportunity. They loved it the same way I loved playing sports.

This is the biggest reason why I wish they would legalize marijuana. I could care less about the other benefits of legalization. This is the only way I see our budget increase without increasing taxes. Teachers are going into phase 1 strikes, we are losing music programs, and i'm sure healthcare is stretched to the max as well.

This is actually depressing for me to see.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:00 AM   #7
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Whenever I see budget cuts to schools I just feel sorry for these kids.

Why? They'll be renting your basement suite to pay your mortgage and working at the local coffee shop when they're 30. Don't worry about the next generation, just find ways to profit from them!
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by PeanutButter View Post
Whenever I see budget cuts to schools I just feel sorry for these kids. Although I never took music, a lot of my friends did, they loved it, and they are so glad they had the opportunity. They loved it the same way I loved playing sports.

This is the biggest reason why I wish they would legalize marijuana. I could care less about the other benefits of legalization. This is the only way I see our budget increase without increasing taxes. Teachers are going into phase 1 strikes, we are losing music programs, and i'm sure healthcare is stretched to the max as well.

This is actually depressing for me to see.
Health care is at the max pretty much. Have you been to a hospital lately@@ Unless you are dying prepare to wait 2+ hours at the emergency room.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:54 PM   #9
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I haven't been to emerge in awhile *knock on wood... But, I've heard the wait times are horrific.

That's why we need to find alternative ways to increase our provinces revenue without increasing taxes.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:34 PM   #10
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These days there is a web page for that!

Wait Times - Emergency Department Wait Times

3:19 for Richmond General at the time of posting

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Health care is at the max pretty much. Have you been to a hospital lately@@ Unless you are dying prepare to wait 2+ hours at the emergency room.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:37 PM   #11
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No to pipelines, no to logging no to mining and no to foreigners to bring in money to invest.. you mind as well say lets get some smurfs and turn them in to gold.

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That's why we need to find alternative ways to increase our provinces revenue without increasing taxes.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:02 PM   #12
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This is very sad indeed, as someone who has been in these programs at school.... I actually had a lot of fun and was able to experience something that I would never get to do otherwise.

Let's be honest, other than elementary which leaded onto high school after..... How else was I able to tell my mother I'm buying a drum set?

She would have never let me bought my drum set... although I don't play it anymore it was fun for while it lasted
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:07 AM   #13
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Did no one actually read page 44 of the report?

At the bottom it says: "It is recommended to eliminate the band and strings program for a savings of $630,651. Alternatively, the Board could increase the annual fee for the band and strings program to $25 per month for a total of $250.00 per year. This however would only generate an additional $350,000."

No decision was made yet. Nothing was axed.

They acknowledge that the budget could be improved by either cutting the program or by having it subsidized by (presumably) the parents of the children who are in it, which seems perfectly reasonable. They propose $250 a year for a partial subsidy or hypothetically $ 630,000/ 2000 children = $315/child to fully cover it.

Having parents cover the costs of additional programs at schools is nothing new. It was happening 15 years ago when I was in elementary school.

This thread topic should read "Vancouver Proposes Ways to Decrease Budget Deficit"


It's not really news...
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:42 AM   #14
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damn thats dedication, props to you. I would never last to page 44
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:00 PM   #15
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I'm not musically inclined, but a lot of my friends went through the music programs in high school (strings, band, choir, etc.) and I know they had a blast. Personally, I did a lot of individual sports (even though I sucked at it), and not only did I have a good time, it also planted a seed in keeping me active. I totally attribute those early years of sports for my relatively good health now because as loving as my parents were, they didn't see the tremendous value in sports and recreation as part of staying healthy.

And that's the thing with these music and sports programs. There are so many intangible benefits outside of academic results that these stupid bean counters are just not seeing. I don't have any musical sense at all, but at least I know that in a group environment (be it string ensemble, choir, band, etc.), the kids are there to achieve a common goal, and having common goals allow for people bonding, social skills and trust building. Team sports programs teaching kids about team building and how to become team players. And despite the injuries that sports might cause, sports is a promoter of active lifestyle, and I have always been a HUGE believer that active lifestyles is the best defence against poor health. Essentially, by spending a little money on childhood sports programs, you are getting kids used to the idea of being active and staying healthy, and that will pay huge dividends later both in terms of quality of life and general healthcare costs.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:27 PM   #16
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Having parents cover the costs of additional programs at schools is nothing new. It was happening 15 years ago when I was in elementary school.
This.

There has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation over the issue.

I went to an inner-city elementary and high school, both of which had a music program. Considering the general demographics of where I went to school, a majority of the costs associated with being in a music program were heavily subsidized by generous donations from surrounding businesses and/or music advocacy groups. We had to do a annual fundraising drive by selling chocolates in order to defray the associated costs of having an instrument.

There is no longer a music program where I went to school, however, it was very normal for other schools where parents covered all costs for their kids who wanted to be in music. This is nothing new.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:06 PM   #17
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Did no one actually read page 44 of the report?

At the bottom it says: "It is recommended to eliminate the band and strings program for a savings of $630,651. Alternatively, the Board could increase the annual fee for the band and strings program to $25 per month for a total of $250.00 per year. This however would only generate an additional $350,000."

No decision was made yet. Nothing was axed.

They acknowledge that the budget could be improved by either cutting the program or by having it subsidized by (presumably) the parents of the children who are in it, which seems perfectly reasonable. They propose $250 a year for a partial subsidy or hypothetically $ 630,000/ 2000 children = $315/child to fully cover it.

Having parents cover the costs of additional programs at schools is nothing new. It was happening 15 years ago when I was in elementary school.

This thread topic should read "Vancouver Proposes Ways to Decrease Budget Deficit"


It's not really news...
I did read it (hence my specific citation) so I apologize for not being clear. My intention was not to construe the cut as having been decided already. I hoped that writing "proposed cuts that may occur" was sufficient to acknowledge that. But regardless, of course no decision has been made yet. The document is titled "Preliminary Budget Proposals" to indicate that exactly. That a (potential) cut is listed in a preliminary proposal makes it news for me because it could consequently appear in the revised proposals and ultimately the final budget. It would have been very untimely and passive of me to create this topic only after the cut had officially been made. It would do little good.

To clarify my original post, my argument is that it is not reasonable to increase the costs to tenfold of what they are now. Doing so will severely limit participation to only children whose families who can afford it and whose parents deem it worthwhile. One could argue that it it those not-so-well-off students who benefit the most from a music program.

I see nothing wrong with the current thread title. It does not say "axed". If a cut is listed in a proposed budget, it is most certainly under consideration and the agency can be considered to be "axing" the program. In fact, if you look at preliminary budgets from previous years, a majority of the proposals in the preliminary report survive right through to the final report.

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This.

There has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation over the issue.

I went to an inner-city elementary and high school, both of which had a music program. Considering the general demographics of where I went to school, a majority of the costs associated with being in a music program were heavily subsidized by generous donations from surrounding businesses and/or music advocacy groups. We had to do a annual fundraising drive by selling chocolates in order to defray the associated costs of having an instrument.

There is no longer a music program where I went to school, however, it was very normal for other schools where parents covered all costs for their kids who wanted to be in music. This is nothing new.
That something is "nothing new" is no reason to acquiesce.

I commend individual schools' fundraising efforts to support non-academic programs. Their support shows that they understand the benefits of maintaining such programs. I hope that higher agencies (school boards, governments) do not take advantage of this to save their own money knowing that lower agencies will want take up the slack. Traum's post reflects my view well.

Consider an analogy to maybe illustrate this more clearly:
It is a custodian's duty to clean a laboratory.
Without this cleaning, scientists cannot do their work.
The scientists see high value in their work and see it as necessary to do no matter what.
If the custodian does not clean the laboratory, the scientists will do it themselves because they want to get their work done. By doing so, they waste half their day on cleaning.
The custodian knows that the scientists will clean the laboratory if he does not. This might be him being lazy, not wanting to expend energy and time.
The scientists will hold the custodian accountable and, someway or another, get him (or a replacement) to do the cleaning.

I place high value on music education and see it necessary. If the government/school board does not fund the music program, I will do it myself. It would be disturbing if the government/school board saw this as an opportunity to make me pay for what they have a responsibility to fund.


PS: I notice you have two spaces after sentences. Using an old, hipster typewriter?

Spoiler!
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