Remarks made at the 12/20/07 GCS Board meeting evening Mr. Chairman, Dr. Grier, members of the Board.

            As many of you know, I’m the proud father of a seven year old daughter, who’s a second grader at Pilot Elementary School. And she told my wife and I the other week that she wants to participate more in both visual and cultural arts.

            And while there are opportunities that present themselves at Pilot in the short term for her to take advantage of, I’m concerned about what may (or may not occur) in the long-term. Will those opportunities remain present?

            I’m here this evening simply because I care about visual and cultural arts and music. I participated in music while coming up in school. And as long as my daughter is enrolled in a Guilford County public school, I want her to have the same advantages as I had growing up.

But now we live in an unfortunate age where a test score and a dollar bill takes precedence over providing every opportunity imaginable for every child to have access to the visual and cultural arts in education. That has to change.

Before you this evening is an agenda item, to which you will consider restoring valuable lost elective art and music instructional time to elementary and middle schools. I urge you once again, as I’ve done over the past year on several occasions, to make the right decision tonight.

Many seated in the gallery behind me, are gathered here for the same reason. Restoring this time is vitally important for many of these children.

How can you possibly have boutique cultural arts magnet programs at some schools while simultaneously cutting this elective instructional time at other schools? It is grossly unfair, it is hideous, and in these unsettling times we call “the new normal,” where super-fights and hallway brawls continue to dominate our local headlines and blogs, it is extremely important to provide these elective opportunities so that all of our children can have the chance to express themselves through music or through the arts.

We ask you this evening to restore 100 percent of the lost art and music instructional time to all Guilford County elementary and middle schools. A partial restoration of time, or restoring only five or 10 minutes of time, is in my opinion, an insult to the hard working men and women who instruct these children as well as the children themselves, many of whom have aspirations to pursue educational paths in the cultural and visual arts.

Please restore this time this evening, please do it without lengthy debate or unrelated comment. Nothing short of the complete restoration of time will be acceptable to me, nor to the parents, citizens, taxpayers, arts advocates, educators and children you see behind me.

            Thank you. God bless you. Merry Christmas. And may God bless the children of Guilford County.

E.C. 🙂


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