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Saturday, January 22, 2011

We need (US)public art and culture


I was listening to Richard Crowson on KMUW (public radio) this morning and he was singing about Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s plans to cut public funding of arts and music. Ironically there are plans to cut government funding from public radio stations.

This is not the first time a politician or pundit questioned why we have to spend money on art and music. In the past there have been attempts to end art and music classes in the public schools. Also we really don’t force our high school students to take very much socials studies, especially world studies.

On a completely pragmatic level, students will need math, science and basic reading and writing skills for the job world. But is education only about getting a job? There was a time when education set people up for living in society and that went beyond just the work week.

As a nation, we have a lot of subcultures since many people’s ancestors came from other parts of the world. But people in all parts of the world want their young to know and understand their culture. We in the US should not be different. We should have some cultural understanding of our past, art, music and its influences over the years.

Some have argued that we need more minority views in the arts and philosophy studies. But who argues that we don’t need to teach any philosophy or cultural arts? This just doesn’t make sense. We may not be a perfect melting pot, but we should share some common culture. Taking all of that out of our schools, as well as public places, is stealing our young people’s ability to appreciate the art, music and history of this country.

The Crazy Horse Memorial

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