Recently I have had the pleasure to volunteer my time at a dual language elementary school. The act itself of giving my time to my community was so rewarding, however the stark realization of what the school, like so many others, are faced with, was a wake up call. With continued deep budget cuts we are losing really great teachers, physical education, music and art classes, drama, outdoor school, field trips, and much more. These are an essential part to a child’s learning and growing. Not having these offered has and will continue to negativity affect a child’s development and learning. It makes me sad that not only do some of these children do without in their own homes, they then are forced to continue to do without while at a place that should be able to provide the foundations of an education that will impact them their entire lives.
I know we are all busy. Sometimes it is easier to think of “one day” doing something that will be good for the community. All I can say is that “one day” is much too late. These children need us now. These schools need us now. After they are raised on a meager education that lacks many essential building blocks needed to become a fully functioning adult it will sadly be too late. The time to fight, to fix, to work towards strengthening our students lives is now, before it is too late. While some things you can ignore and they will go away on their own, this is clearly not one of those things. Our schools, our teachers, and our future needs us now. My call to arms, my question to you, no matter your age, gender, ethnicity, my question to my community, is what can we do to bring back these essential tools our children need? What can we do? While I know I do not have all the answers, I do know that sitting back doing nothing will not help this situation. I urge each and every one of you to find ways to help combat this epidemic growing crisis. From my research I know we have a long way to go with no straight path, but I would love to ask each of you to continue to learn, continue to grow, and please, continue to help our children. Because if you don’t…who will?
Get Informed: The Research
1.) “Budget Cuts Affect Music, Arts.” Budget Cuts Affect Music, Arts. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
This article outlines the reality many schools have faced. The loss of their music and arts programs due to budget cuts have affected many in their community. Almost half their art and music instructors have been let go. As one art teacher, Lance Eagen states, “We have lost our depth and breath of what we can offer. We as humans are designed to be well-rounded;we have two halves of the brain.” This article further goes on to explain how the lost of these music and art classes have affected their community.
2.) Zhao, Emmeline. “School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015. This educational journal gets right to the heart of it while they relay how students feel about and are affected personal by school budget cuts. What is amazing about this is that they have data from 1,850 teens who were able to articulate and respond to surveys on what they have lost and how their classrooms have been affected.
3.)”Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.” An Update on State Budget Cuts —. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
With a broader view of how budget cuts are affecting many communities nation wide and now just our local community, this article gives the startling facts and numbers that show just how devastating and deep school funding for each state and how it compares. This article showcases a wide range of services that have been cut, or the resulting aftermath of where states are forced to allocate their money to.
How to Get Involved
There are many things that you can do to become involved and help keep these essential learning tools in our schools.
Want to know more about where and how you can help, check out any of these great resources! I urge you to get involved, every little bit counts! You won’t regret a second of your time that you have used in the aid of a child.
Other ways to get involved:
- http://www.pta.org/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3289 (Great site about PTA, and how to find your local PTA)
- http://www.oregon.gov/gov/pages/index.aspx (Oregon’s -new- Governor, contact info, and data)
- http://www.ouroregon.org (“A better Oregon. There’s an app for that”)