As Edmontonians, students and graduates of the Music Enrichment Program, parents, teachers, musicians, and music lovers in Edmonton and beyond, we believe that Edmonton's Music Enrichment Program is an invaluable part of the city's competitive advantage in preparing its young people for full lives and successful careers.
We're asking Premier Alison Redford, Alberta Education, and the Edmonton Public School Board to consider options for keeping this life-changing but relatively inexpensive program alive. To put the financial question in perspective, the province's own budget website forecasts a 2014-15 budget surplus of $5.2 billion--more than twenty thousand times the annual cost of this program.
The program is relatively inexpensive, at $220 000 per year, and has touched thousands of lives in the over fifty years of its operation. By offering young people an affordable means to pursue music lessons and work with their peers in an intensely collaborative, intensely competitive environment, the program is an invaluable part of the city's competitive advantage in preparing its young people for full lives and successful careers. More than any standardized test, the Enriched Music Program gives young people the opportunity to learn how to work hard and take pride in their achievements--all while exposing them, their families, and their audiences to the lifelong joy of music.
Describing the decision in an interview on CBC, Jane Sterling, communications officer at the Edmonton Public School Board, had not one negative word to say about the program. Instead, she said: "It's a really wonderful program that thousands of children have benefitted from." The sole reason for the program's closure is provincial budget cuts. The province's own budget website forecasts a budget surplus of $5.2 billion for 2014-15. That's enough money to run this program for over 5000 years.
Given the amount of wealth that we share in this province, how can we afford to NOT invest in our childrens' futures through such a vital program?
We are asking the province to reduce the severity of the budget cuts imposed upon the Edmonton Public School Board, and asking the Edmonton Public School Board to reverse its decision to cancel the Music Enrichment Program.