I normally don’t use our blog as a political platform. However, I would like to share two petitions on Change.org which shed light on upcoming Republican budget cut proposals – the complete elimination of the AmeriCorps program and zeroing out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Each of these proposals offends me as a blogger, educator, and musician.
On Saturday, February 19, the Republican majority in the U.S. House passed H.R. 1, a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of 2011. One component of the plan would be the complete elimination of AmeriCorps, a domestic community service program which formally launched in 1993. According to its website, AmeriCorps members address needs all across America in a variety of areas including tutoring and mentoring disadvantaged youth; fighting illiteracy; building affordable housing; cleaning parks and streams; and helping communities to respond to disasters. Full-time members who complete their service earn a Segal AmeriCorps education award of $4725 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans. Part-time members receive a partial award.
AmeriCorps plays a vital role in inspiring people to volunteer. There is a saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s important that we all work together to keep our country strong. Eliminating AmeriCorps sends a negative message about volunteerism and takes away an important resource not only for communities but also for college graduates who wish to give something back to their country.
Cutting Funding for Public Broadcasting
House Republicans have announced plans to cut all funding for the NPR and PBS, Pacifica. The Change.org petition cites the importance of public media as “one of the last bulwarks against the corporate media where the combination of consolidation and profit-motive has long since shifted the focus to infotainment rather than substantive news.” I agree with the petition, and I’d like to add that public media is an important educational and musical resource., the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including
PBS is one of the best sources for quality children’s entertainment. What would you rather have your child watch – a Disney Channel show which encourages them to buy toys and take a trip to Disney World, or a show like Sesame Street which teaches children to count, read, and speak other languages? PBS is also the sole free television resource which allows viewers all around the country to watch classical music performances. Whether you live in an urban area or a cornfield, you can turn on your TV and watch a performance at venues such as Metropolitan Opera. The future of classical music depends on its accessibility to new audiences.
NPR is also an important resource. Through listening to their wonderful programs, I’ve heard news about classical musicians all around the world. I’m also a fan of From the Top, a show which highlights pre-college musicians and sets a great example for young students.
If you feel as strongly about these issues as I do, please click on the widgets and add your name to the petitions defending AmeriCorps and public broadcasting.
- Aaron Marquez: AmeriCorps Faces Budget Cuts At Height Of Civilian Enrollment (huffingtonpost.com)
- First, they attacked PBS and NPR. Now this? (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Alums Will Stand for AmeriCorps (americorpsalums.wordpress.com)