Keep bands at elementary schools

Editor, The News:

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my sad duty to report that the hugely successful grades 6/7 elementary school band program is slated to lose funding in the proposed budget that will be presented to the schools (but no longer the public) at the local school district meeting Wednesday.

As many of you know, the elementary school program uses Ed Dumas to provide professional instruction at multiple school sites, allowing every elementary school to participate in the program.

The successful MRSS band program acknowledges its reliance on the elementary band program, as it receives only a small handful of new students in Grade 8 joining the program.

Without the students from the elementary band program, the MRSS band program will be unsustainable.

The link between involvement in an organized music program and increased academic performance is well established ( with test scores in math and language arts showing improvement with every year of involvement in an organized music program, and a far greater number of As and Bs reported in all academic subjects by children of all socioeconomic and ethnic groups by children involved in an organized music program.

With the benefit to our children being so clear from an academic point of view, and the joy and commitment to excellence and involvement that comes from involvement in the program, I would question why the district is choosing this program to begin its cost cutting.

The school board is proposing to fold all the elementary band students into the existing MRSS timetable, even though music instruction currently begins at 7 a.m. and runs until after 4 p.m., and even though the high school system functions on a rotating block incompatible with the scheduling of the elementary classes the children would be pulled from.

Discussion with teaching staff and administrators of both elementary and high schools involved have revealed that neither believes the board’s proposals are workable, and neither were consulted by the board before it determined what was possible, let alone desirable for this program.

The board is proposing nothing less than the destruction of organized music in our school system, with the loss of all its benefits to our children’s educational experience and outcome.

John T. Mainer

Maple Ridge


Music is too important

Editor, The News:

How extraordinarily short sighted for the school district to proposed cutting the itinerant primary school music teaching position for budgetary reasons.

The introduction of music in elementary grades 6 and 7 is a proven important part of a child’s development – not just music, but social skills, discipline and a clutch of other benefits.

In our school district, we have established a wonderful tradition of accomplished musicians and graduating students. The real loss would be the absence of streaming of trained and accomplished students into senior school programs.

This ill-conceived plan to cancel the teaching of music in elementary schools should be thought through and not approved.

Stan Stanley

Maple Ridge