Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Arts lose in MPS financial woes - as usual!

Dueling editorials in todays' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describe an impasse in negotiations and varying agendas regarding the budget for MPS. It's sad, but unsurprising, that art and music are once again low on the list of priorities and high on the list of what programs get axed.

Unfortunately, the two editorials (links below) talk past each other without connecting and without acknowledging the other's concerns and valid points.

If arbitration, which is the theme of the MJS editorial, results in fewer teachers overall, and fewer arts teachers in particular, then that is not a reasonable solution.

And while there may be merit to the suggestions Mike Langyel, president of the teachers' union (MTEA), makes regarding federal and state funding sources, he never addresses the issue of health benefits or any need for concessions from the union. I agree with his three major statements about what students deserve - and I especially like his support for the arts and the other programs he singles out for mention. But the union is not doing itself, teachers, children, or education in Milwaukee any favors by taking an immovable stand on this.

Arts advocacy groups, like MARN and the Creative Coalition, struggle to promote the arts in Milwaukee. Their efforts are essential. But we will not have a strong base of support for the arts if we do not have arts education in our schools - all of our schools! Adequate funding for MPS affects the future of the arts in Milwaukee. Make your voices heard on this vital issue.

Read the editorials: Mke Journal Sentinel, Mike Langyel

Then write your letter to the editor.

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