The recorder has developed somewhat of a bad reputation lately. We see it now as a children’s instrument, only a small teaching toy. In fact tough, it isn’t that at all. The recorder may be a simple instrument mechanically, but it is not simple musically. Remember, one of the the greatest orchestrators of all time, Hector Berlioz, was himself a recorder player.
Part of our stigma may stem from the fact that the recorder never grew up in a sense. During and after the baroque period, all the other woodwind instruments had key work added to them, when the recorder stayed unadorned. The lack of key work, in actuality, means that the recorder is harder to play than the rest of the woodwinds, not easier. The more complex the key system; the easier technique is on an instrument.
All that said, the recorder can become a valuable voice in a band. Any woodwind play can be called upon to play the instrument, and a makeshift quartet can be formed from various members of other section who otherwise would have just been doubling an already doubled part.
Nowadays, a set of five recorders (Sopranino to Bass) can be purchased for around $250 to $300 (with the Bass taking up more than half of that amount). This is pocket change for most band programs.