Friday 11th of March 2011 08:52 AM
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
(Stained glass window at Youthville Chapel, Newton, KS)Kansas has had its share of tourism slogans through the years. "Kansas: It's as big as you think" is the current motto. Its precursors included "The Secret's Out," "Linger Longer," "Land of Ahhs" and "Simply Wonderful."
If Gov. Sam Brownback gets his way and chops funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, it will be no secret that our state's simply wonderful arts groups will have to linger longer at the mercy of private donors. My "Ahhs" are quickly turning to "Oh no's!"
If Brownback's budget passes, Kansas would become the first state in the nation to no longer fund arts. I don't think that's what the Sunflower State wants to hang its hat on.
I wouldn't want to be the governor. I wouldn't want to be a state legislator, looking for ways to scrimp and save and bring down the budget deficit. But I'm afraid that if public funding for the arts is on the chopping block, it won't be long until school districts follow suit and whittle school music programs from their class schedules.
And that would be a shame. A basketball team doesn't have the market on teamwork. Just spend a day listening to choral music or band performances and you'll figure that out pretty quickly.
A Senate committee last Thursday rejected Gov. Brownback’s attempt to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission. The Federal and State Affairs Committee voted against Brownback’s move to cut arts funding.
However, Brownback’s order will take effect July 1 unless the Legislature rejects it. The committee’s recommendation to keep the Arts Commission will next go to the full Senate.
There is a strong correlation between quality music education in schools and academic achievement.
A 2007 Harris Interactive Poll of working adults indicated that music education impacted five skill areas: ability to work toward common goals, striving for excellence in group settings, disciplined approach to solving problems, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations.
Harris Interactive Poll, 2007
I know that no one wants their great love on the chopping block. I freely admit that music is one of the cornerstones in my life. But I think cutting funding to the arts is a mistake.
Gov. Brownback may want to reconsider. I know that Bono is no great philosopher, but I do think this particular "slogan" has some merit for the Land of Ahhs:
Music can change the world because it can change people.