I know, it's a diabetes blog, right? Hey, just bear with me, will ya?
Grace loves the arts. She loves to sing, and dance and draw. She also loves to read. She does all these things in her Elementary School. Our school district, in April, proposed a 'Realignment Plan' which would eliminate, yes, ELIMINATE the related arts in the Elementary schools in our District. The proposal calls for the general education teacher to incorporate all these related arts into their typical day. No more Librarian. No more Art teacher. No more Physical Education Teacher. No more Music teacher. For 6,000 students.
My district is huge. We have 10 Elementary schools, 2 Middle Schools and 1 High School. We educate over 12,000 kids in my school district. This affects a lot of students. An incredible amount. At least 70 teachers will lose their jobs. All of them in the related arts field.
Saddened? Me too, incredibly. This Realignment Plan is proposed to close a $4.5 million budget gap in our current school budget, which must be approved by June 30th.
There are a couple factors at play here. One is our Governor in the state of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, who would rather use the funds destined for public education, for vouchers and charter schools. It is draining our public education money from our district, because the funding for charter schools in the state of Pennsylvania is neither fair nor equitable. Another is the fact that our district must close a budget gap that exists because of state and federal funding issues.
I have spent my time during the last five weeks working on fighting this proposal. I invite you to join with me, even if you don't live in Pennsylvania. Even if you don't have school age children. Because in the end, it's about a fair education for the whole child. It's about the arts, that they matter to so many children. It's the fact that if your child is not good taking tests and academic subjects, they might just find an instrument and become a musical legend. They might find their voice and become a singer. They might find books from a Librarian and become a writer. They might find they are artistic because of Art class.
I ask for your help. For you to help me spread the word. That today, it's Upper Darby, and tomorrow, it's YOUR district attempting to do this.
There is a tremendous Facebook page entitled 'Save the Music in Upper Darby' with over 12,000 members. Join us.
There is a website about all that we are trying to save and why. Go there and read about us.
There is a petition to the Governor and the Legislature of Pennsylvania. Sign it here.
And most of all, view this video. Share it far and wide.
Thank you, my friends. Arts Matter.