Fine art of hypocrisy

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    Well, we all knew the SMMUSD budget cuts were coming, but I’m wondering why it is that the Fine Arts always come under the ax first? On Thursday, Jan. 30, Superintendent Deasy recommended to the board that instrumental music instruction for fourth- and fifth-grade students be eliminated-the only remaining Fine Arts program that exists in the Santa Monica-Malibu elementary schools. In the past 10 years the District has spent millions of dollars on technology, everything from personal computers in classrooms to district-wide linking of computer and data-retrieval systems; to large-screen monitor links for presentations to countless upgrades of RAM, motherboards, modems, printers, scanners, digital cameras, faxes, phone programs, message systems, software, hardware and probably some PC technician’s underware! (sic) I have yet to hear anyone so much as breathe a mention of cuts in any district technology programs or purchases.

    In spite of vociferous protests to the contrary, this school district has shown by virtue of its budget allocations its top priorities and these have never included at the elementary level a true commitment to Fine Arts. This district eliminated visual arts teachers from its elementary schools in 1978 and vocal music teachers in elementary schools were terminated in 1983. The only remaining elementary Fine Arts program supported by the district is instrumental music. Superintendent Deasy’s recommendation to eliminate this last remaining arts program, as well as the district’s only Fine Arts coordinator, render disingenuous his words as quoted in an article in the Jan. 29 edition of the Santa Monica Mirror: “We must do everything in our power to ensure that all children experience the arts. We firmly believe arts education is a fundamental part of every child’s education, not a luxury for a few.”

    Diane C. Hines

    Past-President, Webster Elementary School PTA

    Past-President, Malibu High School PTA