Education, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder, Teachers — March 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Starving Michigan schools: Capital City Lansing schools eliminate ALL art, music and phys. ed. teachers


A generation of future entrepreneurs denied essential skills

Updated to correct the number of art, music, and phys. ed. teachers being fired from 87 to the more accuate 50. 87 teachers district-wide are being fired, 37 of them from other areas.

NOTE: This post has been updated HERE.

To hear Governor Snyder tell it, Republicans haven’t reduced school funding. Everything is great for Michigan schools, he will tell you. If you want the real story, however, start attending your local school board meetings and listen to the decision-makers grappling with ever-shrinking budgets that have them choosing between offering our educators the wages and benefits they deserve and shutting down schools and eliminating programs. The reality is that our state government is starving our K-12 public schools and those chickens are beginning to come home to roost.

This past week, the Lansing Public School District announced that it is firing all 50 physical education, music and art teachers:

Lansing elementary students will soon say goodbye to all their art, music, and gym teachers.

They’re among 87 staff positions getting the ax this year.

The district’s got to scrape together $6 million in savings…

Now the remaining teachers need to find a way to work all that art, music and gym curriculum into their regular classrooms.

Teacher association president Patti Seidl says they’re already working to figure out how to team teach those subjects in each grade. {…}

Here’s an extra challenge: teachers also gave up their planning time in this round of negotiations. When it comes to lesson planning or grading, some middle school teachers are now down to just a 24-minute lunch break, says Seidl.

Plus, between paying more for health care premiums and salary concessions, Lansing teachers are now making what they did back in 2005.

So, not only will classroom teachers will now have to integrate art, music and phys. ed. into their daily routine, adding additional tasks to those they already have, they’ll have less time to plan for it so will be working at home more after their normal working hours AND we’re paying them less and offering fewer benefits.

It isn’t just Lansing schools, by the way. The Michigan Department of Education estimates that there are 108,000 students who don’t receive any arts education in their schools.

If there was ever a group that deserves the right to “Go Galt“, public school teachers are it.

The fact is, this goes way beyond the screwing of public school teachers. Obviously the elimination of phys. ed. is likely to have negative implications on the health of Lansing school kids and will raise health care costs in the long-term. But there’s something even more harmful to our state in the elimination of arts programs. It is a short-sighted action that will have long-term negative effects that will do great harm to our state’s economy.

The impact on the economic future of Michigan has to do with our state’s residents’ collective entrepreneurship. How? Consider this quote by Sandra S. Ruppert, the Director of the Arts Education Partnership:

Creativity is the precursor to innovation and the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. It is essential to the design and development of new products, services and processes.

The idea that arts curricula benefit the creative thinking processes that stimulate entrepreneurial activities that, in turn, generate economic health and growth isn’t new and it’s now part of mainstream thinking when it comes to educational priorities. Here’s former Education Secretary Arne Duncan in remarks he made at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum in 2010:

I believe that arts education can help build the case for the importance of a well-rounded, content-rich curriculum in at least three ways.

First, the arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college. Second, arts education is essential to stimulating the creativity and innovation that will prove critical to young Americans competing in a global economy. And last, but not least, the arts are valuable for their own sake, and they empower students to create and appreciate aesthetic works. {…}

Low-income students who play in the orchestra or band are more than twice as likely to perform at the highest levels in math as peers who do not play music. In James Catterall’s well-known longitudinal study, Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, low-income students at arts-rich high schools were more than twice as likely to earn a B.A. as low-income students at arts-poor high schools.

English language learners at arts-rich high schools were also far more likely than their peers at arts-poor high schools to go on to college.

In addition to the creation of an “entrepreneurship class”, Duncan refers to the positive impacts on graduation rates and the overall academic achievement of students receiving a well-rounded education that includes the arts. He’s not making this stuff up. Studies show that students that receive arts education:

The other night on Tony Trupiano’s radio show, Tony asked me if I think that state budgets are moral documents. I absolutely DO believe this. With budgets, we tell our citizens what we value; what we think is most important. Vice President Joe Biden puts it this way, talking about Republicans’ attitudes about education:

They say and they talk about valuing education… My dad used to have an expression…‘Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.’ Don’t tell me you value women in the workplace and you don’t hire any women. And don’t tell me you value education and you won’t invest in it…it looks as though they’ve decided that public education is not worth the investment anymore.

Michigan Republicans, led by Governor Rick Snyder — a man who claims to value education and wants to reinvigorate our economy now and into the future — have a budget that tells you absolutely everything you need to know about their self-proclaimed “valuing” of education.

Put simply: they do not.

At best, our schools are a place to pull hundreds of millions of dollars from to give tax breaks to their corporate friends and benefactors. At worst, they’re cash cows. Profit centers. Opportunities to be privatized and turned into profit-making ventures where investment in our kids’ futures and educational outcomes take a backseat to bottom lines and earnings statements.

We are starving our schools and it’s going to harm our kids and our state far, far into the future.

[Artwork by Theo W. (aka “The O”) | Biden photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog, Chalk artist photo credit AnnieJo | Daily Kos]

  • Toka313

    Small correction – Chickens come home to roost. You have the expression incorrect.

  • The Republicans would like nothing better to run our education system in the ground, so they can privatize it just like they’ve done to the prisons.

  • dennis

    AND NOW! Republican Chair of the House Education Committee introduces a bill that will end property taxes that help fund our public schools. Another move in the agenda to destroy public education through defunding. Parents need to start standing up and saving their neighborhood schools and their quality programs for their kids~

    • Oh you mean Lisa Lyons who was texted moments after jase bolgers election rigging

    • EdM01

      And how will any Michigan city, town, village, county, school board or regional entity avoid the hostile takeover of emergency financial management if deprived of that important revenue stream? Maybe that’s what they want on the red side of the aisle in Lansing.

  • The Republican Party is anti-democracy and anti-American. They are domestic terrorists.

    • Carolyn 4444

      Rob, I’ve never heard it so well-phrased, “domestic terrorists”…that is the heart of the problem. We apparently need to worry less about destruction from outside our borders and probably more from within our own corporations and their “purchased” sleeper cells in Congress! Thanks for your comment which enlightened me even more!

      • I’ve been calling Rush Limbaugh that for years and years. Still waiting for him to choke on a piece of fat.

    • ^moron

  • Ack Ack Ack

    Did someone say dumber children? Cue dramatic music.

    Make the Pie Higher
    By George W. Bush

    I think we all agree, the past is over.
    This is still a dangerous world.
    It’s a world of madmen
    And uncertainty
    And potential mental losses.

    Rarely is the question asked
    Is our children learning?
    Will the highways of the internet
    Become more few?
    How many hands have I shaked?

    They misunderestimate me.
    I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
    I know that the human being and the fish
    Can coexist.

    Families is where our nation finds hope
    Where our wings take dream.
    Put food on your family!
    Knock down the tollbooth!
    Vulcanize society!
    Make the pie higher!
    Make the pie higher!

  • Kayla

    I work in education in Southeast Michigan, and our area is going through very similar cuts as the ones happening in Lansing. Luckily, the school where I work (Arts Academy in the Woods) understands the extreme importance of arts education and refuses to take the same measures as other schools in the area. Our school is free and open to the public! If you know any high school kids that are being affected by these cuts in Michigan, encourage them to check us out!

    • Peggy_Olsen

      It is important to note that is a charter school. It appears to be a non-profit one but I think the distinction should be pointed out.

      • Bob

        Why do you feel this distinction should be made?

        • Bascoda

          Because charter schools are one of the conservative’s favorite weapons to achieve their long-term aim of the destruction of our public school system.

          • Because the public school system is an utter failure that has destroyed education in this country…. Charter schools are a great step and demonstration of how superior private schools are to public schools.

          • Bascoda

            You’ve made your position quite clear. You’r against unions, against public education and against public school teachers. You’re in favor of abolishing unions, destroying our system of public education and replacing it with charter schools. I am very much in favor of the things you oppose and very opposed to the things that you favor. Further discussion is pointless.

          • EdM01

            Since Arts Academy in the Woods was organized by the Macomb Intermediate School District, and not some corporate entity, it is technically a public school despite being a charter. So I suppose you wouldn’t cry any tears if a future EFM gets rid of it, too.

          • But they are not superior. And they do not have to meet the same standards. And they do not have to take any students, regardless of ability.

      • Kayla

        Yes, it is technically a charter school, but it is chartered by the Macomb Intermediate School District. I understand the bad rap that charter schools have, but I definitely wouldn’t lump AAW in with all those for-profit corporate-chartered schools out there.

    • Suann

      Kayla is trolling around for students on other sites discussing this matter as well, using identical posts. Shame on you for trying to take advantage of a really terrible situation. What kid from Lansing can afford to drive all the way to southeast Michigan to your little charter? Are you going to come up here and get them?

      • Thank you for alerting us. I’ll leave her comment up along with yours so that everyone can see what she is doing.

  • kirke123

    mr snyders children attend a private school which offer everything under the sun. the education of the elite belong to everyone.
    under the law it is the states responsibility to provide an education for all children in the state, and yet it has never been challenged. when the state cuts funds to a district and the district cuts education courses the state should be found guilty of violating the constitution. now under eaa the state will once again cut funds forcing a take over and forcing the unions out. these tactics are inviolation of the michigan constitution and will create the dumming down of michigan children.
    where are the leaders of the democratic party? blowing in the wind.

  • Now, cue the voucher advocates claiming that public schools are failing and inherently provide an inadequate education compared to their private counterparts. Then convince desperate parents that the public school money should be stripped and given to private and charter schools instead. But if you hadn’t starved the public schools of funds in the first place, they’d be doing just fine now! Makes me so mad…

    • hasn’t the current model had ample time to prove winning and forward thinking. and, frankly, parents are on their own (free will) gravitating toward charter schools. why? innovate and bring them back.

      • Renee, I have deleted your other insult/comment. If you continue to make personal attacks, I will ban you.

  • Bob

    This is happening where I live too in New York so don’t blame it on Republicans. Our public school district is being forced to contribute an ever increasing amount to the state employee retirement system. That amount has quadrupled over the last four years.

  • SL

    It’s been that way in WV, too, for quite some time. None of those “specials” are required classes. They are offered by certified educators in those fields only at the discretion of the county boards of ed. And when they do offer them, it’s only enough to cover the planning periods of the general ed teachers. Education doesn’t matter whatsoever to these bureaucrats. That’s okay, because when they’re old and depend on the current generation of young people to make the decisions for their best interests, those former children won’t know what to do; having not received an inclusive and well-rounded education that not only taught them facts, but also how to think logically, solve problems, think creatively, and be human. Good luck, bureaucrats. Save your money, but it won’t save your livelihood as humans.

    • The former children you refer to – are these today’s fat kids who only know the Kardashians, American Idols and all the rap artists and spend hours each day texting and playing games on their smart phones? How about some good old mundane readin’, writin’ and arithmetic?

    • idub

      ah yes because gym class will make my son make good decisions on my investments with dodgeball knowledge

  • My kids are engineers. They had good science and math teachers, but they also had memorably excellent art and music teachers (hats off to Lynne Wiencek and Paul Lipa.) I firmly believe that what has happened in Lansing schools is child abuse of the highest order. I’d call Child Protective Services but that’s a government number and you just can’t trust those people to do what’s best for kids.

  • Darla

    Killing the greatest workforce in the world – mission of the GOP

    • Darla, they are killing our country but are bringing a cheaper workforce in from south of the border.They will not help our citizens, they will destroy us. Killing the people that voted them into office.

      • Bascoda

        Which begs the question, why do they keep getting re-elected?

        • Divide and conquer. The GOP finds “those” issues where you agree with them and tells you that only they can fix “them”. The Dems are all for “them”.

          Of course they have no intention of ever fixing “them”. Why should they? As long as “they” are a problem you’ll vote for them. If they fix “them”, then you may look at what else they are doing and that might piss you off.

  • I thought they were keeping the middle and high school AMPE teachers. Bad enough that they lay off so many at the elementary schools. Are they also cutting at the secondary level?

    • No. You are correct. This is elementary school only. I just couldn’t fit it into the headline.

      • cryingliberty

        Whew. Okay. Then the situation is merely bad, not utterly catastrophic as I initially thought. LCS has some fairly major band and orchestra programs under its umbrella, and it would be a complete nightmare, both educationally and PR-wise, to completely clean out the district of its music programs.

        This is, of course, to say nothing of the other fine arts programs. I’m not in tune with what the other FA programs are up to, but as a music teacher, I am aware of how hard the music programs work and the quality work they do.

        • It is actually kind of catastrophic. Removing music at the elementary level cuts the program off at the ground level. This will lower numbers of students participating in music at the secondary level. Over the course of a few years this can diminish numbers enough that, again to save money, secondary jobs will be eliminated and the size of the program will continue to go down. No feet, no foundation.

  • How can the classroom teachers incorporate PE, Art and Music into their curriculum when the state requires those subjects to be taught by a Highly Qualified teacher from that content area?!?

  • The teachers unions have filled our public schools with unqualified individuals who are impossible to hold accountable for their lack of performance. We cannot get the best math and science teachers because we are forced to treat them as being equal to the humanities. We need a higher standard for education and force schools to compete for students.

    • And pay the teachers a pittance for the privilege of competing for the privilege? You don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the free market do you, Josh?

      • Bascoda

        Josh doesn’t know much about education, either.

        • Ive done my research and want to teach myself. Except Ill care more about my students and making the world a better place instead of fighting for working half the year and earning a full years salary, while rarely having to give my 40 hours a week.

          Union teachers have it made in the shade, few jobs have it as easy as most public school teachers….

          • Bascoda

            And you know even less about teachers.

          • EZehnder

            Half the year? Teachers get maybe 4 weeks off in between school years. Given they can’t take vacations like private employees it would make sense that they get that time in the summer.

          • tortuga

            oh my gosh, I nearly spit out my diet coke in laughter when I read your comment Josh. Walk a month in my shoes . I can’t COUNT how many parents, politicians and other business types I’ve had tell me they could NEVER do my job.

      • How about they work 40 hour weeks year round then we can start paying them full time salaries… or how about they start giving results instead of making America the laughing stock of the world….. I would never sell my soul to slave away at some public school designed to destroy creativity and shape mediocre citizens who would never question authority. Im better than some union thug wanting everyone to hear his sob story on how he is making 50k a year with full benefits after 8 years and only works 8 months at most out of the year.

        • EZehnder

          “I would never sell my soul to slave away at some public school designed to destroy creativity and shape mediocre citizens”

          Sounds like you’re actually in favor of keeping these art/music teachers since that’s where creativity comes from. It is LITERALLY the area of the brain that gets used with regards to creativity and the other side is used in calculations and the like.

          P.S. – Teachers work 11 months out of the year. The other month is a vacation which many teachers end up filling with other remedial work (serving, bartending) because they get paid so low and pay so much into their benefits. Even if they take the vacation, it’s well-deserved given an employee with 8 years at a company would get at least 20 days paid vacation (4 calendar weeks) as it is.

    • squooshiewoodums

      No, your school boards have filled your public schools with incompetent and over-paid administrators who are never held accountable because you are too busy blaming the teachers and their union. The State doesn’t value the education because it is too short sighted to realize that those very children are our future. Education is a long term investment and they are only interested in short term gains. You will never be able to afford the best and the brightest of the teachers because you don’t value them. Why would anyone with any bit of self-worth spend the amount of years required and the money required to be treated like something you scraped off of your boots. The idea that those at the top should be over-paid while those that are in the trenches doing the real work subsist in poverty is a flawed model. You get what you pay for and it’s apparent that you’re not willing to pay for the best.

      • Im not willing to pay the state because they completely mismanaged the system. Without government intervention imagine the schools we would have. The teachers would actually have to deliver the goods or lose their jobs. Schools would be forced to innovate and compete for students. And who wins when it becomes about the students instead of the teachers, well the students and the teachers who do their jobs.

        • squooshiewoodums

          Without “Government intervention” there would be no consistency from district to district – from state to state. The differences between wealthy schools and poor schools would be even more extreme.

          Children are not simply a “widget” that can be programmed. The idea that each child learns the same way or equally is flawed. The idea that each child comes from a similar background (I.E. enough food, parental support, financial support) is equally flawed.

          Innovation costs money, requires time, and above all requires approval. All it takes is one parent, loudly disagreeing, to shut an innovative program down. All it takes to disrupt a classroom is one unruly child. Until we, as a society, decide to work in partnership (parents, teachers, students, administrators, state, federal) to educate our children we will continue the downward spiral that our education has suffered of late. The state cutting funding is not about the student. Blaming teacher’s unions for the cost of teachers is not about the student. Removing art, music, and physical education is not about the students. It’s about the bottom line.

          People do not commit to teaching for financial gain. Sure they want to be paid a living wage. They want to be able to pay for their student loans as well. The education they are required to have is at least a 5 year commitment. Again, you are not going to get the “best and brightest” until you stop treated them like dirt.

        • EZehnder

          Any mismanagement would, by definition, had taken place at the management level which includes state legislators, board members and the administrators – all extremely well paid and never take cuts like the teachers do.

        • You need to go to a school and volunteer and really observe what teachers do. Go to an elementary school and give some time. Try to be open minded. Every parent I’ve met that has taken some time to come into a school and really see what is packed into a day has come away with a greater appreciation for what teachers do. And we don’t control the length of the school year either. That is a legislative decision. We are paid for 180 days and most of work during the summer on top of preparing to go back to school in the fall.

    • the teacher unions don’t hire the teachers, the school boards do, and in order to receive certain funds those teachers have to be rated highly qualified, which means they need classes beyond a BA degree. In fact most teachers either have or are working on a Master’s degree. In order for our students to perform at a high level in math and science they must be able to read and write and solve problems. A well-rounded student is capable of performing math, science and humanities. Not everyone is cut out to be a scientist or mathematician. Be real, where would we be without the humanities, oh yeah, you wouldn’t have anything to watch on TV or music to listen to. .

      • The teachers unions have set the bar, quite low I may add. They do not have to accept unqualified teachers…but they do. Why? Because it is not about the kids, its about the money.
        ” In fact most teachers either have or are working on a Master’s degree.”
        Complete and utter nonsense…..

        I never said every kid has to be a mathematician or a scientist. But for someone who gets their degree in one of those fields has many options, many more than the humanities (ahem because their majors actually matter ahem) so we have to compete. If that means that teachers with more useful skills get paid higher salaries, that seems to be a very fair deal. Not to mention that science and math teachers tend to be better at explaining logic and philosophy. It is not a debate that science and mathematics are far superior to the humanities, but no one says you do not need them.

        • EZehnder

          Ahem ahem you have no idea what you’re talking about ahem ahem.

          Do you enjoy movies, TV shows, the content of the internet, car designs from this century? Where do you think 3D modelers start, or musicians, actors, composers of movie scores, graphic artists or car designers? They all start with the arts and move to computers to continue that. They use what they learned in art classes and then computer classes without a care in the world for the majority of math/science classes.

    • I’ve put off responding to this comment until I could find the right way to characterize it. I have finally figured it out: unmitigated, ill-informed, ignorant bullshit.
      I knew it would come to me.

      • I was going to give an argument but it struck me you did not give one. So instead of explaining to someone beneath me why they have their head up their…. Ill just list your logical fallacy your lazy teacher forgot to warn you not to use. Ad hominem….

    • Well said, Josh K.

      • Except, of course, that it’s entirely inaccurate. [derp]

    • EZehnder

      So, if I live in Troy, MI and I hear there’s a really amazing school in Novi, MI I’d just be able to take my kid there with school choice, yes? Except, oh right, I have a job and I don’t have time to drive an hour and a half in traffic twice a day to take my kid to school. Also, the bus routes would COMPLETELY cease for all school districts since school districts would cease. And, oh right, thousands of students rely on the bus to get them to school as their parents don’t have the time, money or perhaps even ability to get them to school without that bus.

      Your talking points work on Fox News, not in the real world. Take “school choice” to its logical conclusion.

    • EdM01

      No, it wasn’t the unions, it was the school committee members who filled the schools with such incompetents. Usually, it was some board member’s perpetually broke, unemployable brother-in-law or sister-in-law that got hired when a teaching position opened up. Then these same incompetents gamed the system to escape accountability, while the effective teachers found themselves put in check, sometimes even fired by the school administrators or even boards, and their own union hierarchies suddenly becoming incapable in aiding their defense. You should read John Taylor Gatto sometimes.

    • The teacher’s Unions DO NOT do the hiring. Non-Union administrative folks do that.

  • I am pretty sure that it is against the law to cut those programs. It is required in the state of Michigan that students get a certain amount of time in a classroom that teaches music, physical education, and art.

    • Bascoda

      Do you really think that will make any difference to the takeover machine currently in power in Lansing?

  • bob

    The ratio of teaching to non teaching staff is a huge problem. There are almost as manyt non teachers. how about some discussion there?

    • who do you consider non-teachers? the custodial staff? the para-professionals who help the teachers? the counselors who work with the kids on scheduling and problems? the social workers? the psychologists? the principal?

  • samuelrose

    I attended Lansing schools from K-12, and this is just thoroughly sad. We are letting these people transfer wealth out of our communities from the poorest, to the richest. And, we’re letting them grind our communities down and destroy the middle class.

    Ironically, I first learned of the desire of corporate-sponsored political operatives to destroy the middle class in America at around 1986 from my Lansing Everett High School American History teacher, Mr. Polohnski … He warned us back then that there was an effort under way to eliminate the middle class. It seemed a bit far fetched back then. But, look at where we are now. His predictions have come to pass. I am sure teachers aren’t allowed to even mention a concept like this in Lansing Schools today …

  • Here’s an idea, cut funding for sports instead. Put money into things most students can actually use once they graduate instead of just learning how to run faster or hit harder?

    • Most districts have cut funding for sports, that’s why there’s pay to play…cost me $300 for my child to participate, not including driving her to all the meets because busing has been canceled.

  • OB13

    Why is no one talking about how the union let this happen? They put a clause in the contract that would keep LSD a closed shop. So in order to force people to stay in the union, the LEA cost 87 people, they were supposed to protect, their jobs. Nice solidarity, what a joke! Right to work can’t come fast enough!

    • right to work?? so who does the board of education negotiate with? do those who don’t pay union dues get the same benefits as those who do pay union dues? who decides work rules? or do they differ for those who are in the union vs. those who aren’t? how did they union cause this problem? are they the ones in charge of the budget and how much the districts receive from the state?

  • cutekitten20

    This has been aan issue sinc I was in school and it probably won’t change…especially with a republican govenor in office!

  • psnider

    Quit lumping all Republicans into being against education….I consider Snyder a super Nazi republican.

    • Bascoda

      If there are Republicans who are not against the destruction of our system of public education, where are they? What are they saying, what are they doing to oppose this. Privatizing our public schools is and has been a long-term goal of the Republican party for decades. The day I see Republicans actually stand up and say “No! This is wrong!” then I will believe you. Not until.

  • TheDUDE

    Hey if we can’t afford I say cut it or raise taxes. We need to focus on education that will give kids skills they need in the real world..

  • Bascoda

    The Republicans are achieving their goals. A dumbed-down, uneducated proletariat. Easy to deceive, easy to control, exactly what they want.

    • idub

      dumbed down? so if a kid can throw a ball better than he can read makes, that makes him educated? step back from your statement for a sec, re-read, then think about how phys. ed, art, and music make our kids more educated.

      • Bascoda

        Perhaps you should step back from your statement and re-read it. Try as I might, I can’t determine the point you are trying to make.

        A kid’s ability to throw a ball doesn’t make him or her educated. It may make that kid marketable, but it doesn’t make the kid educated.

        The idea of a diverse education goes way back in human history.

        My point is that the Republicans don’t want an educated citizenry, they want an indoctrinated herd who will believe what they are told to believe and vote how they are told to vote.

        Real education involves teaching critical thinking, reason, and the ability to question and, when necessary, oppose the status quo. It also involves appreciation of the efforts of those who have gone before us, including the artists, the poets the composers, the writers and all the others who comment, reflect upon, express and question our human condition.

        Critical thinking is anathema to the political right in this country, which is why they have a vested interest in the “dumbing down” of the electorate which you seem to have a problem with. Art, music, literature, and – it’s place – phys ed. all contribute to education, whether you choose to believe that or not.

  • There is only 5 things a student needs to learn: english, math, computer operations, critical thinking skills, and physical education. Arts, Music and crap like that they can learn in college when they can pay for it- not that it makes any difference after listening to the radio what they call “music” today

    • I’ve heard of people like you but it’s such a rare thing to actually see someone so cluelessly ignorant in the wild like this.

    • cryingliberty

      Never mind all the research that states that the fine arts engage the brain in ways no academic subject can, that they stimulate creativity and expression, and that kids with a good fine arts outlet frequently do better in their academic subjects.

      Did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason you get to refer to the radio as “what they call music today” might be because of the constant effort to undermine fine arts education since the 1980s?

      As someone who went through a public school music program, I can guarantee you that without that exposure, I never would have gained the appreciation that I have for the music of Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, Mahler, and Debussy (among others), as well as a great perspective on new music and music that is intellectually challenging to listen to and process (as opposed to the cookie-cutter crap on the radio).

      The argument that music and the arts are only for those who can afford it is one of the worst cultural arguments that can possibly be made. So many cultures are defined by their music, and frequently, their music is not the music of the wealthy or well-to-do, it’s the music of the peasantry that helps us to shape the total culture.

      Perhaps you had a poor arts education in your life. If that’s the case, I apologize – nobody should go through life without at least some good arts education. But if you simply see no value in art whatsoever, then I am truly sorry for you because you are missing out on one of life’s great gifts.

  • Matt

    In the current economy, and with other countries passing us by, schools need to focus on the essentials just like everyone else. Art and music are not, and never will be, either overly useful or essential.

    • Obviously you didn’t read the post and the essential nature of cultivating creative thought to foster the entrepreneurs that will drive growth of new businesses & technology in “the current economy”.

  • buckofama2010

    Maybe they can use the money they WASTE on passing out condoms, teaching that filthyfaggotism is “normal” and arranging for abortions. Then they can actually teach proper courses like math, science and the arts. Liberalism is evil and anti-American and it brought all this on by spending more than they have and oppressive taxes. There is a reason that ALL dem lead cities and states are in the crapper with rampant crime, ignorant people and bankruptcy. Like shitcago, DC, detroit, LA, etc. Don’t find that in conservative areas.

    • I was going to delete this filth but I’ve decided to leave it up so we can all point and laugh and mock you for your ignorance.

  • buckofama2010

    I KNOW and that explains why ovomit is sending his kids to a private school rather than the corrupt poor quality DEM led DC public unionized schools. I see your point you ignorant liberals.

  • Eric Lee

    Yes, this happened at my school already. I and my high school art program were cut two years ago to save money on my “old guy” higher salary and about $2000 per year in art supplies. Now the administrators would say that I wasn’t a good teacher, and that is why I am gone, and they worked hard to try to prove it, going after my tenure. The funny thing is, it took them 21 years to get around to it, and no one has been hired full time to take my place. No more art shows in the hallways now. The only somewhat creative class left is woodshop, due to rural priorities, and they are trying to pass off Spanish as art (language arts). Last I heard, an essentially unqualified full-time sub was teaching one visual art class per trimester for the few that wouldn’t take any kind of music or shop, but needed that one credit of HS arts of some kind to graduate. So much for integrity in education. It’s all about the buck. And I was denied an honorable and more timely retirement for their selfish motives, driven by state policies.

  • Eric Lee

    Yes, this happened at my school already. I and my high school art program were cut two years ago to save money on my “old guy” higher salary and about $2000 per year in art supplies. Now the administrators would say that I wasn’t a good teacher, and that is why I am gone, and they worked hard to try to prove it. The funny thing is, it took them 21 years to get around to it, and no one has been hired full time to take my place. Last I heard, an essentially unqualified full-time sub was teaching one visual art class per trimester for the few that wouldn’t take any kind of music but needed that one credit of HS arts of some kind to graduate. So much for integrity in education.

  • Pingback: Starving Michigan schools: Capital City Lansing schools eliminate … | Studio News()

  • Stop complaining

    I think you need stop complaining and ask where is the money going. Personally I went to a Catholic school until 6th Grade and then transferred to the local public school. I can honestly say I feel the catholic school I went to was as good or better than the public school even though without state funding the budget was far less. For all of those combining that their isn’t enough money are you aware that about 25% of the school budget goes to retired workers pensions? I don’t understand why state workers think they deserve to be paid so well for the rest of their lives. Did they win the job lottery? Most of the people who work in the private sector have to save for their retirement and do not have this big pension to count on unless of course you work for one of the unions such as the UAW who basically bankrupt their employers. The greed of the older generation and sense of entitlement is the real problem.

    • I don’t need to ask where the money is going. I KNOW where it went. $1 billion was taken from schools by Michigan Republicans to pay for corporate tax breaks. You’d know that if you were paying attention like the rest of us.

    • EdM01

      If you were taught by priests and nuns at your Catholic school, I am quite certain the Catholic Church funded and otherwise guaranteed their retirement.

  • momotwins0200

    Our public charter school ADDED in music, PE and art this year! It takes very slim budgets, and teachers who are willing to teach for the joy of it, and NOT huge salaries and benefits. (our teachers make very low wages, but have NOT looked for work in the 8 years we’ve been open, because they see the benefit to what we do: small (20 or less) class sizes, teaching of high moral standards, no-tolerance of bullying, etc.) It has worked for us, and we continue to grow! No union, but our staff and students are HAPPY!!!!!

  • George Hess

    Who needs the arts when all you want are worker drones?

  • Abby

    this piece has taken a dynamic, complex issue and flattened it into a two-dimensional, partisan argument.

    I agree with everything–literally everything– that has been said with regard to education and the critical need to provide for our educators, but it is framed it poorly by cherry-picking Democrats to quote and assigning blame to Republicans without any real basis for doing so. The criticism of Governor Snyder is plagiarized at best and ignorant at its worst.

    Look more than skin-deep and you’ll find a man whose career is loaded with educational philanthropy. That’s more than one can say for his fellow Republicans, yes, but truthfully its also more than one can sad for Democrats in the legislature as well. If paying lip-service to supporting an issue is the low bar set for your representatives and senators, then you are absolutely correct–the Dems have it.

    But if you want to talk about who’s actively pursuing aggressive education reform that raises the quality of education in this state–its not about Blue or Red. It is, rather, systemic. Don’t just give Democrats a free pass to the legislature by exempting them from blame–we should encourage all of our public leaders to work for what’s right.

    • Please be specific (with proof) about your false accusation of plagiarism. You have until this evening to do so or I’ll delete this offensive and untruthful comment. There is no plagiarism happening on this website.

  • jacobrussell

    This is happening all over–not just in Michigan, not just in the U.S.A. — all over the so-called developed world. There are EVIL assholes deliberately destroying public access to education so they can privitize for profit–Zombie capitialism eating its brains! ENOUGH! Time to rise up and fight them and their servile political puppet servents, like Nutter and Emaneul. Time to come together with our sisters and brothers in Chile and Montreal and across the continent and the world! They recognize no laws but those they write to benefit themselves–let no unjust law stop us.

  • Underfire

    As usual, another spot on job by Eclectablog! Thanks gang!

  • Drew

    Don’t tobacco taxes fund school systems? If I’m not mistaken the Michigan tobacco tax has risen a dollar or two for EVERY pack of cigarettes sold within recent years. What gives?

  • Kelly

    Hey……what the hell happened to all the Michigan lottery money that was supposed to help fund public schools? Anyone else remember THAT, being one of the “selling points” when the Michigan Lottery was introduced to the state? However…. money is NOT the only reason our public schools are failing.

  • Now the remaining teachers need to find a way to work all that art, music and gym curriculum into their regular classrooms.

    No they don’t need to “work it into their regular classrooms”. Stop the hand-wringing and crying about how it’s hurting kids; the majority of parents are not listening. Cut the art, music, and gym. Cut the sports and activities. Charge for busing. Charge for books. Charge for copy paper and toner and paper towels and soap if you have to. Stop trying to make these state funding cuts invisible to parents and students; it’s dishonest and pointless. We have to stop trying to make it all okay, because it’s not okay; it’s lousy and our customers need to know that.

  • Ask John

    While this is unfortunate, what do you expect when teachers have excessive health benefits, retirement and produce students who do not have skills that are marketable. While their may be links between taking these classes and better student achievement, if there are economic constraints (such as a taxbase that is unable to pay for these costs), and there are more efficient ways of improving student performance, then the cuts are justified, and should be taken. The article claims that these classes are required for teaching future “entrepreneurs”, but would it not make more sense to incorporate business and economics classes into their curriculum, instead of art and music???

    Fareed Zakaria put it best in this article, the majority of teachers teaching K-12 in America were from the bottom 1/3 of their graduating class. Why would we encourage continuing funding for a system where there are no consequences for bad performance, and students graduating are left dealing with the consequences of this.

  • Pingback: Government Role in Education – A History Lesson |()

  • Katarina_YYZ

    gosh, why don’t they just skip schools altogether and give the kids walmart jobs as soon as they’re old enough to restock shelves?

  • EdM01

    Except Republicans do NOT want an entrepreneurial class. That means small businesses everywhere competing against the large corporations and connected small businessmen that keep them in clover. No, what they want is an insecure proletariat who work low-wage jobs in debt slavery and mandatory corporate-support slavery.

  • Brad

    Writing a paper focusing on drop out rates and how things like this (cutting programs that keep kids interested in actually going to school) make it worse. The purpose of my paper is to find a “solution,” ways to keep these programs and teachers in the districts. I’m having a lot of trouble finding a specific way to do this. Obviously, it seems that money is the main issue so they’re getting rid of these teachers. I feel strongly about getting everybody a well-rounded education but money always seems to the be the issue. Could I get some insight on what others think as far as a solution? Obviously, “raising taxes” would be the easiest thing to say but I would like to go further with into it. I’ve been looking at other districts that have strong programs and keep these teachers around and trying to find a way to apply what they’re doing to districts that are failing to do so (Lansing).

  • Pingback: Alex Rainey()

  • Pingback: Degrees to Dollars: The (lack of a) Connection Between Education and Economic Success | ------- It's Worth What You Paid For It --------()

  • NoBrainsNoGains

    Reading this and thinking about these corporations who are going to suffer in the long run… OH WAIT! They’ll just outsource OUR jobs to more competent people in other countries… Yeah that’s what companies do believe it or not, and they use YOUR TAX dollars or the money from our schools to send work OVERSEAS. Governor Snyder, sir, please stop working out at the gym, listening to music or reading any type of book that brings you joy. Since you want Michigan’s children to be fat, misbehaved, and illiterate I think it is no more than right that YOUR rights get taken away as well. Your a phony, no good, gold digging old FART that has nothing better to do than hurt our state and our future. Shame on you! You worthless excuse of a political leader… No respect from me sir, NONE!

    • NoBrainsNoGains

      Oh and By the way, sir. I’m YOUR boss, not the other way around. You’re Fired as far as I am concerned.