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Will the Arts Survive? 


"Reimagining CR" (April 11) is a lighthearted way of describing the hatchet job going down at College of the Redwoods. What is really happening is a hostile takeover of the 112 Community Colleges of California. A unit is now $46, and student fees now pay more than half of the cost of a CCC education. Student debt nationwide is a ball-and-chain of over $1 trillion. "Philanthropic benefactors" offer millions of dollars, as happened at Santa Monica, to transfer the curriculum to online classes. Foundations such as Lumina, Gates and Walmart envision the masses being taught in "MOOCs" (Massive Online Open Classes). Education is at the mercy of the market. 

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges snoops around looking for inefficiencies so they can withdraw accreditation for the CCCs. However, efficiency is not an economic concept, it is an ideologic one.

In his first State of the Union address, George Washington emphasized the role of government in education, since it is, "in every country the surest basis of public happiness" enabling the people to "distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority." He said nothing about tailoring it to corporate demands.

Music and drama curricula provide a community with what is called social capital. 

Students practice working together cooperatively, strengthening relationships. Studies have shown that populations with social capital are more engaged, better able to defend their own interests and resist oppression. That these programs are being cut at CR does not deserve a meek response. The 34-year veteran teacher whose theatre program is a county institution should not be "thrown under the bus;" it is an outrage which should bring out our pitchforks and broomsticks.

Of course, if we're looking for where the money went, try the bailout, or the $4 trillion-$6 trillion we spent on destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia



It's nice that CR can sometimes provide a means to for us to indulge our avocations and fulfill our artistic expectations. But it would seem that when funds run low, it is time to reestablish the priorities which emphasize CR's basic mission, that of educating people so that they can participate in our ever more complex economy. Down the road, these same people might even earn enough so that they themselves can afford to take up an instrument and explore their own creative impulses.
It wouldn't seem that the refocusing at CR would diminish our art-rich community which currently overflows with plenty of imaginative people now wandering around outside the box. If they are talented and ambitious enough they might want take their chances in New York, Hollywood or the like where they can become valued successors to those who now dominate the world of imagination and creativity.
Don't think that the changes at CR will affect our supply of valued musicians, actors, writers, etc. But it might just supply us with some economically stable folk who might choose to support those who have chosen the creative life.

GT Buckley, Eureka



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