School Budget Cuts and Misbegotten Priorities

Rachita Chaudhury

“Que tiempo hace hoy? No hace mal tiempo…” that is nostalgia you are feeling right now. This was one of the many songs we sang in elementary school Spanish class. Spanish has now been cut from the elementary schools.

We HAVE to take Spanish in middle school (they cut Latin due to the budget) and we HAVE to take a foreign language in high school. So why has the school board decided to put everyone 6 years behind just so a 7 year old can sing a song about frogs and shake a maraca? Will foreign languages eventually be cut at the high school level? Will colleges no longer look for foreign language experience?

Our teacher would bring his/her supplies into the classroom and teach us how to say numbers, colors, and other basic terms in Spanish. This foundation level of Spanish now has to be moved to the middle school.

Elementary school “specials” are now library, PE, art, health, and music. When we are looking at priorities though, why does music stay and foreign language get cut? Children who are interested in music have the option of taking band, orchestra, or chorus from 4th grade through high school.

These are tough times, no doubt, so we cannot blame the school board for making cuts. It is the choice of cuts that is the problem. 3 years ago, music was cut from the middle schools so why bother keeping it in the elementary program?

Well it is because we are trying to cut our losses, I suppose. Why lose the entire music department when you can just limit it to one school? Even though that is a good point, however, it is not worth the price of kids having to learn that azul means blue in 6th grade when 3 years later they are expected to have mastered most of the everyday terminology and grammar of the language.

I say the school board should limit music classes to k-3 since in 4th and 5th grade they have to take chorus in school and can choose to be a part of an outside of school band, chorus, or orchestra. Then, in 4th grade, they can begin learning the concept of speaking a different language, which is vital to developing as a student and a person of the world community. This is much more practical than a child taking chorus on Thursday and music on Monday as separate specials.

Does this mean that the curriculum for Spanish has to be set back a few years? Or are they going to drown the kids with information in middle school?

It is not fair that 5 years from now today’s 5th graders could be working on what we learned in 8th grade or that in 6th grade they will have to learn everything we learned from k-6.

With money getting tight, compromising a child’s education is becoming more and more of a prevalent problem. Is our economic struggle going to snowball and lower the standards of education bit by bit? We need to take action now and decide what aspects of the curriculum take precedence.