Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saving Children

Marie Leech's article in the Birmingham News about the many gaps between Birmingham schools and the suburban schools-performance, technology, etc.--makes our efforts to kick off the Scrollworks program in January seem timely and even urgent. If we can duplicate the results of El Sistema, the benefits to the children are clear:
"...students who go through the sistema become more productive and responsible members of society...
...Studies link participation to imporvements in school attendance and declines in juvenile delinquency. Weighing such benefits as a falloff and school dropout rates and a decline in crime, the band calculated that every dollar invested in the sistema was reaping about $1.68 in social dividends." (New York Times, 10-28-07)

"...the most important aspect of El Sistema is that it is literally saving children's lives.

Every one of them has a story to tell. "I'd either be dead or still living on the streets smoking crack like when I was eight," said a french horn player.

"I'd be like the other 17-year-old girls in the barrio - hanging with the gangs and pregnant," said a violinist.

"Joining the orchestra changed not only my life but my whole family's. My father was drinking far too much, and my brothers had dropped out of school. When I got hooked on my instrument, my father stopped drinking and, one by one, my brothers went back to school," said a trumpeter...

...Wouldn't it be marvellous if some big organisation - for example, one of those same tabloids that delight in lurid headlines such as "Anarchy!" and revelations about the sex lives of Big Brother participants - decided to back a scheme like this and make a real difference to our children's lives?

Any takers?" (Julian Lloyd Webber,, 9-6-07)

We've got teachers. We've probably got a location. We've got a budget. Now all we need is funding.
We'll get back to you on that!

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