School board cuts will have ‘far-reaching impact’
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. cbv.ns.ca/schoolboard/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.
Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design