The day the music stopped?
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 9, 2013) – Massive cuts to the elementary school music program were placed on the agenda last night at the Toronto District School Board’s Budget Committee. Again facing the annual structural deficit, senior staff tabled a discussion paper in which cuts were made to Band, Strings, Steel Pan and the Recorder/Orff/Vocal (ROV).
Noting that Strings will be down 27.5% of their hours, Band will lose 24.3%, and Steel Pan will drop 19.1%, Itinerant Music Instructor David Spek said: “This plan is a disaster–if children do not receive instruction in elementary school, they will not be playing in high school unless, of course, the parents can pay for outside lessons – another example of privatization and two-tier education.”
“The entire “Recorder / Orff / Vocal” program (ROV) is being dismantled,” added Toronto Education Workers Vice-President Anna Hutchison. “The Board apparently is hoping that they can find classroom teachers to pick up the slack, but there has been no evidence to support that this is going to be possible.”
“The TDSB is cutting into muscle and sinew at this point,” said President John Weatherup. “We fought this fight for a decent music program 10 years ago and the parents in the community were very clear: they want more, not less, good quality music instruction.”
Ten years ago, the TDSB tried to off-load its music programs, citing a preference for classroom teachers to provide music instruction. Then, as now, there are not nearly enough teachers with sufficient levels of expertise to even begin to match what is already being done in the classroom.
“All of the changes are being driven by lack of funding, not by what’s best for the children,” concluded Weatherup. “It is a sad commentary on priorities.”
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4400