SCHOOLS UGLY DUCKLING

Why Is Music Being Cut From School And What Can We Do About It.

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At the end of every budget cycle music advocates, parents, teachers, and students wait to find out whether their favorite programs have been cut, this has become more and more common in so many schools across the USA. Always the first to get and last to be added even though, given the choice, most people would keep music in the school curriculum. Unfortunately, most of us feel we have little if any influence on the decision, so there’s a general feeling of powerlessness, What can’t be denied is that ultimately, cutting music from the curriculum is wrong and denies students a vital resource that would benefit them at every stage of their lives and not just in the classroom. So why is it that the cuts continue despite the fact that we all generally appreciate what a musical education has to offer and what can we do about it?

Schools Are Not Innovative - the value systems in schools are outdated, the fact that we are living in the fast-paced 21st century, and schools stuck teaching 19th-century music remains operational despite the fact that it has become outdated and irrelevant. Superintendents and school boards cut music programs because of weak programs, along with a lack of support from parents, which makes music an easy target, especially when budgets are tight.

Value Systems Outdated - Administrators admit music is important, but many don't actually believe that the school curriculum would be lacking if music was excluded. Those leading education reforms are inadequately armed. Most children are highly talented and creative who think they’re not because the thing they are good at school doesn’t value. We can’t afford to go this way, and it is time we insist our school leaders and legislators stop throwing around words like “innovative” and “creative” and instead begin to model that behavior themselves; through creative scheduling and divorce from standardizing our kids in order to measure their growth. 

Underperformed  Music Programs -  Math, English, and other subjects are never cut, it doesn’t matter if teachers are effective. The arts face the challenge of proving and justifying their actions. A bad music program is worse than none, there's nothing worse than a poor musical experience. The effects of a failed music program are easy to spot; students quit.  Keeping a music program alive and well requires a great teacher, one that builds a community around the program, thereby making it very difficult to cut.

Short-Sighted Approach to Budget Constraints - Music classes tend to have higher student-teacher ratios, and cutting them will trigger the need for elective classes with low student-teacher ratios that will be more costly. In other words, while cutting music programs may be seen as a quick fix for budget issues, it actually has negative financial implications. Cutting a music teacher results in more teachers needing to be hired later to provide elective classes with low student-teacher ratios.  The cuts end up being myopic and bringing back the music program once its cut is rare and difficult to do.