How can we celebrate a $15.4 million dollar expansion to our art museum while our children are being denied experiences in the arts and equal opportunities to discover their talents at school? How can we celebrate the arts in Allentown while our school budgets are slashed, school buildings crumble, and class size explodes? It is clear that our children are not a priority. Our arts community (artists, patrons, business leaders, board members, institutions, commissions, and councils) should be ashamed. But instead, they celebrate with wine and cheese. I am not celebrating. There should be equality in arts education. Our children in Allentown should enjoy the same well rounded, arts enriched public education that the Parkland SD kids enjoy. The arts should not be reserved for the wealthy. Our political leaders, business leaders, and arts community have all failed.
UPDATE 3/8/13- There are now plans proposed to eliminate all related arts specialists in the ASD elementary schools, with the exception of 4 music teachers, 50% reduction in related arts at the middle schools, and reduction of arts at the high schools. 144 total lay offs planned, on top of loss of over 210 positions 2 years ago. This is a crime and injustice. Speak up! Our children are being denied equal opportunities in the arts and robbed of a quality education. Narrowing of curricula to focus only on standardized tests, does not prepare students for college or life! New career focused charter schools are just job training, and these fads are short sighted and misguided. Skills learned in art class prepare students for any job, and beyond.