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A Simple Thank You
I breathed a hesitant sigh of relief a week ago when the school board announced its plans for budget cuts. Face it, the task was so daunting that NO decision they made would make everyone happy or protect all of the programs that impact the quality of education for kids. However, despite some stipend cuts that will have an impact on our secondary music programs, the majority of our arts education programs remained intact...for this round, at least.
We all know the importance of reading, writing and 'rithmetic, but how many of us know that the state of Kansas considers fine arts important enough to require arts education for graduation? Education should not only be about teaching kids to make a living, but education should also teach kids how to make a life. Unfortunately, the fine arts have historically been the first to go in school districts across the country when budgets get squeezed too tightly.
It's like the young Thespian/football player said at the International Thespian Festival two summers ago when asked why he chose to do theatre instead of football -- he said "I realized I'm not going to change anyone's life by running a ball down the field." We can't live without the arts, and a solid educational experience in the arts makes for better citizens, better workers, better community. So thank you, USD 497 BOE, for doing what you can to uphold the idea that arts are essential, not extra.
Let's work to encourage our state legislature to support education so that the BOE doesn't have to make further cuts harmful to the quality of education for our kids.