Education is what happens in the classroom! Obviously, the tax rate has not kept up with the increase in the cost of education. Education is not cheap, ignorance is even more expensive. I hate to see all the big cuts coming from the classroom teachers. Maybe some of them are justified even under normal conditions. To cut so severely that an entire program that is very essential to the enrichment of a sizable portion of the student body is not educationally sound.
Specifically, I am referring to the instrumental program for the district. I cannot imagine a world without music. I would imagine every member of the PASD Board of Education cannot imagine a world without music. Why then would the Board consider eliminating this program. The really bad news is that this decision isn't going to effect just the current time period but will effect the program and the students who are effected by the lack of a program for years to come. Some will never return to the beauty of music. They have been told, by example, it is not important!
One of my real regrets in life is that I did not participate in music. I have learned that music is important to almost all in our community. My wife and I have sponsored "Holiday Homecoming" for eight years to bring "Season's Greetings," "Thank You, Veterans," "Thank You, Volunteer Firefighters," and this past November, "A Memorial Tribute to John Goodman." Our "investment" in time and money has paid "dividends" in so many ways to see the decision of the Board bankrupt the traditions of so many decades of our proud and talented community. If Board members have attended any of the performances of the PASD students or the "Holiday Homecoming" events, you are well aware of what you are taking away from the students and the community. The damage to the students and the community will be long lasting.
As a teacher for 22.557 years, (17.557 years in the PASD) I literally shed a tear for our kids if we don't do our jobprovide a well-balanced education that will take them into the adult world and take with them the tools to enjoy their lives enriched with the talents to play, enjoy and enrich others with music. Please look with the vision of today and the future and maintain an instrumental music program, along with vocal, that will pay dividends to the community and the students well into the future.
Richard L. Nothstein