Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!
I know, I know! The SMNP is late again, but it’s end of semester here at McGill and I’ve got a cold, AND I had an “early” rehearsal this morning. Besides, you get what you pay for people! Anyways, if you want to bypass the inevitable weekly disappointment (and tire of bitching me out on my facebook page) you can always just sign up for the RSS feed in that top right corner. Et voila!
So,… last Saturday I raised the question “Why is the BC Government Cutting Elementary School Band Programs?”
As always I enjoyed reading your comments, a few of which encouraged me to do some actual “research”, which I did…ugh, and the resulting conclusion I came to isn’t that optimistic. It is indeed with a heavy hose I must say that funding for Education (along with funding for just about everything else) will be cut drastically over the next few years because,… em… something has to be.
Here’s what I could piece together from
perusing scouring the internet for information on the subject. So sit back and let some guy with very little understanding of politics/economics break it down for you! (Warning: Some of you may find this painfully obvious,… or quite possibly just dead wrong.)
In a nutshell: The global economic downturn happened, the Canadian government (both provincial and federal) chose not to make too many cuts during this period for fear that doing so would deepen the recession. Instead, despite lower tax revenue, the government spent it’s way through the recession and racked up a lot of debt in the process. Now, just like when an individual has debt to pay, the options are to increase revenue (raise your hand if you’d like higher taxes!) or cut back on costs. By far the biggest costs to government are education and health care, therefore these areas will see the most funding cut backs. The alternative to cutbacks or increased taxes is to saddle tax payers with this debt for a looong time to come; again, just like with indivdiuals, carrying debt for a long time is undesirable.
So the BC Government didn’t actually cut band programs per se, they cut funding for education, and I’m sure they’ll cut funding to healthcare, forestry, and everything else. It’s the school board that had to choose what to cut, and band looks like it will go along with some ESL and special needs jobs, and quite possibly some school closures in areas with low attendance numbers.
Yes, I could raise the question “Why cut arts education? Why not cut some math classes, or social studies?” But really, parents would never support that. Plus, to be honest, I have no idea what is in the best interests of the students. I’m going to have to trust the school board on that one, although,… the school board’s actions are in some ways dictated by what the parents will support. No?
So here I am, having done some research I’ve found the passionate wind of ignorance to be taken out of my proverbial sails, hence I did not write a damning letter to my MLA. Governments never want to cut anything because doing so is unpopular with voters and therefore jeopardizes reelection, but sometimes fiscal responsibility requires such cutbacks. So what do I write to them?… “Dear MLA, I understand your party had to make cuts but please increase education funding at your earliest convenience. Love, JD”… ?
I don’t know readers. I’m not saying I’m happy with what’s happening, but I do understand the situation a bit better. Now I’m left wondering “Will the government bring back the music program in 10 years? Will parents bother to get their kids playing music regardless?” Most of all “How do artists make a case for cutting back on something in schools besides arts education when its benefits are so much more difficult to quantify then a subject like English or Math?”
As always, your comments are appreciated. Oh, and links to news articles are always appreciated, whether you’ve “heard” that the BC Government is doing great things for the arts community OR you “know” they are destroying the arts, just throw up a link because I’d like to read more. (Especially if you’re going to bring up the Olympics!)
And with that I bid you adieu. Next week I may try to talk about something else. I can barely make my life as a trail-blazing jazz clarinetist seem exciting, I haven’t got a hope with politics!
Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone!
(above painting by Chris Young)