The Green Party of PEI is registering its regret at the cancellation of a music program in the Eastern School District which was announced yesterday. “The cancellation of the highly successful and popular strings program is a short-sighted mistake,” says Green party leader, Peter Bevan-Baker. “It is another example of how the administration in our island education system is marginalising and discounting the value of arts in our schools.” The Green Party believes that we have to start asking some fundamental questions about the purpose of our education system. The arts offer unparalleled opportunities for children to learn responsibility, teamwork, striving for individual excellence in the context of a co-operative venture, critical thinking skills and creativity. In short, incorporating the arts into our education system creates better citizens. Numerous studies have shown the value of maintaining a strong arts component in an educational system, demonstrating that students are happier and smarter following a curriculum that includes the arts. Music in particular offers a forum within which children learn science, math, geography, history and language arts. “We are fortunate to have such a well established music program throughout our island school system, and it should be protected and enhanced. I have seen quiet, insecure students blossom into outgoing, confident people as a result of participating in arts programs in our schools,” continued Bevan-Baker. The Green Party also recognises string playing as an important historical thread in island heritage and culture, and that our fiddle music in particular represents a way of overcoming generational barriers and telling an oral history of ourselves to each other and our visitors. The Green Party calls for the board to revisit this decision and to reinstate the string program in the Eastern School District.