It was recently announced that my alma mater, City Honors School, will be losing both its band and orchestra programs due to a labor dispute between the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the Board of Education. I am shocked and appalled that in the interest of saving money, music education will bear the major impact of the financial deficit caused by this labor dispute.
As an alumnus of City Honors, my experience as a member of the band program was instrumental in my development as a young person. While I never possessed the talent to be a professional musician, learning music theory helped me with my math courses; playing in ensembles helped me with my communication skills; and my band instructor, Donna Kerr, showed me what it meant to have an educator who cared about me and my growth as a person and not just my performances on homework.
Furthermore, I have made multiple in-kind donations of instruments and equipment to the music department, and I know others have donated money to be earmarked for instrumental programming. What will become of these donations?
While I am particularly disappointed in this decision because it indicates a lack of respect for the importance of music education for our Buffalo students, it especially saddens me when the ones who have to pay the price for these labor disputes are the ones who are most defenseless in fighting back – our young people – not just at City Honors, but across the Buffalo Public Schools.