I know… I have written with this subject as a headline before… but in these turbulent economic times it is worth repeating.
I do not care who you are, how good your program is, how much money you have, have wealthy your community is, how much parental support you have or how many honors, achievements, trophies, or accolades your music or arts programs have received: NO PROGRAM IS SAFE.
In other words… time to get proactive about protecting our programs. Our latest example comes to us from a district with arguably one of the finest arts education programs in the country… Clark County Nevada.
This is a snippet from today's Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Passions rose to scream-therapy intensity at a public meeting Wednesday on possible Clark County School District budget cuts that could total $120 million next school year.
Outdrawing a Tuesday crowd of 600 people at Western High School, about 750 people came to Chaparral High School on Wednesday for the second of two meetings to give school officials input on how to manage a financial crisis brought on by a shortfall in state tax revenues.
Superintendent Walt Rulffes said the public was beginning to grasp the seriousness of the situation, which could mean massive layoffs and the loss of prized programs such as arts, music and sports.
In one sign of public interest in possible education budget cuts, online readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal posted more than 130 comments about Tuesday's meeting at Western High School. Speakers at Chaparral echoed the concerns posted on the newspaper Web site, namely that the district needs to cut out "the fat" and reduce from "the top down and not the bottom up," preserving classroom funding as much possible and cutting district bureaucracy.
Full Story – Anger over cuts reaches fever pitch

OK… so here we have community outrage spilling out into public display, the Superintendent doing what they like to do by crying "we are going to have to cut your precious music and arts programs" and comments flooding the newspaper website looking for whole sale changes… Baby, meet the bath water.
Of particular concern to me are some of the public comments which appear to be getting nastier and more barbaric in response to the crisis. One of my favorites is this little compassionate appeal:

We can start by calling ICE.
There is no need for vice principles, teachers aides, Free events(parties)free books, free meals, free school supplies, free dance classes, free drama classes, free kindergarten, free magnet schools or bussing outside a defined perimeter of 1 1/2 miles of any school. This is how it was when I went to school and your children are no better than me.
It is the government’s responsibility to provide your children a basic education, which includes Math, Science, History and English/Reading/Writing. If you want additional classes, pay for them.
If you cannot afford the cost associated with children, quit having children!

Wow! We can start by calling Ice? The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency? The problem is immigration? The problem is a diverse curriculum? The problem is… dare I say it… a diverse society?
As I stated a moment ago… WOW!
An isolated comment… unfortunately… no. It appears the back to "basics" zealots are coming out in force. They won't be happy until we are firmly ensconced back in the educational stone ages. Reading, Math, Science… none of that fluffy stuff… and if you want it… YOU pay for it. A great theory… but how does that work when we apply the same principle to something like… say… I don't know… maybe a
WAR? Make that TWO WARS.
But, I digress.
So while other nations around the world expand their view of what forms the basis of a quality education when contemplating a broader view of human capacity for the new millennium… we are moving full speed ahead to build a better… yesterday.
And in this environment… No Program is Safe!
Battle Stations!

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