School board cuts will have ‘far-reach­ing im­pact’

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

The re­cent an­nounce­ment by the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board re­gard­ing cuts to arts ed­u­ca­tion for Grades 4 and 5 an­nu­ally af­fects in ex­cess of 1,500 stu­dents at 21 schools.

The pro­posed cuts come at a time when we should be bol­ster­ing and fos­ter­ing the num­ber of arts ed­u­ca­tors and pro­grams in our com­mu­nity in or­der to pro­vide our chil­dren with a foun­da­tion for later suc­cess.

With Cape Bre­ton’s stag­ger­ing child poverty rate of 32.4 per cent, our chil­dren need now, more than ever be­fore, to be en­gaged in pro­fes­sion­ally in­structed cre­ative arts, which can help to lit­er­ally shape their fu­ture and pro­vide them with an out­let to find their voice.

It is proven that arts ed­u­ca­tion, from early child­hood through to high school, is crit­i­cal in the cul­ti­va­tion of chil­dren’s imag­i­na­tions, al­low­ing them to be­come more flex­i­ble and in­no­va­tive thinkers, while also as­sist­ing in the de­vel­op­ment of their phys­i­cal, emo­tional and men­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Years of re­search in­di­cates that arts ed­u­ca­tion is closely linked to al­most ev­ery­thing that we, as a prov­ince, say we want for our chil­dren, and for the fu­ture of our econ­omy. In fact, the re­cently launched Nova Sco­tia Cul­ture Ac­tion Plan rec­og­nizes that “the more we can ex­pose our chil­dren to cul­ture and cre­ative ex­pres­sion in our schools, the bet­ter off we will be as a prov­ince that val­ues, in­spires, and in­cu­bates orig­i­nal, even dar­ing, tal­ent.” (Cul­ture Ac­tion Plan, Page 11)

The pro­posed cuts are in ob­vi­ous dis­con­nect from the pro­vin­cial strat­egy for arts ed­u­ca­tion and they cut to the heart of who we are in Cape Bre­ton, where our artis­tic tal­ent sets us apart, con­tribut­ing to our well be­ing and play­ing a ma­jor role in our Is­land’s econ­omy.

The vi­tal com­po­nent of arts ed­u­ca­tion is the art teacher – one who is for­mally trained and pas­sion­ate about their field. Art teach­ers in­spire cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion. They guide stu­dents to ex­plore the mul­ti­ple an­swers to var­i­ous prob­lems. They en­cour­age ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and over­com­ing of mis­takes. They teach stu­dents to be thinkers, not ro­bots.

Art teach­ers are im­part­ing the es­sen­tial skills that are nec­es­sary for stu­dents to be suc­cess­ful now and in­no­va­tors in the fu­ture.

The Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board states that it “is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the best ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and ser­vices to our chil­dren and com­mu­nity.” So, why are they cut­ting these very crit­i­cal po­si­tions from our schools?

If you would like to know why, please con­tact your school board rep­re­sen­ta­tive. A full list of rep­re­sen­ta­tives and con­tact in­for­ma­tion is avail­able on the web­site: www.­board/board.php; or by tele­phone at 902-564-8293.

It is im­per­a­tive that we take the time to make the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board aware of the pro­found and far-reach­ing im­pact that these cuts will have on the fu­ture of our com­mu­nity.

Lori Burke

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor

Cape Bre­ton Cen­tre for Craft & De­sign

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