Posted by: victoriapynchon | December 8, 2010

Expanded music programs give students choices

One under-resourced school near Austin, TX has decided to allocate funds towards optional music programs, giving them the choice to participate in something that was otherwise unavailable. Students have found that their participation in the music program has helped them with all of their studies. Perhaps it’s time for schools to consider the benefits of fine arts education, rather than trivializing it in favor of liberal arts. What do you think?

From the Dallas Morning News:

IRVING – The hallways at Austin Middle School were quieter just a year ago.

Cindy Mejias led her peers through the scales as they practiced for choir at Austin Middle School last week.

The school’s fine arts program was understaffed, and few instruments were available. Administrators didn’t have the resources to establish a large orchestra, band and chorus program, and many of the students couldn’t afford to buy their own instruments or take private lessons.

But today, music can be heard in Austin’s hallways, and gradually, throughout the district.

Irving officials are trying to reverse a history of little resources. It has spent about $450,000 in bond funds for 505 new instruments and equipment for its schools.

“Now they’re expanding it so more kids have a choice,” said Estephanie Gamboa, 11. “I’m really glad because my parents didn’t have the opportunity when they were little.”

In addition to the money for instruments and equipment, the Irving school district has added five new teachers, two of whom were placed at Austin. Administrators are hopeful that if children become more involved with music programs, their academic performance will improve.

Read the rest HERE.

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Responses

  1. Sadly, I see a real problem with schools I deal with choosing to minimize arts education, physical education, and so forth in favor of a dogged focus on the reading, writing and math that the No Child Left Behind Act’s measures focus on. There was even a CA Court of Appeal opinion within the last two weeks in a case where a school district tried to argue that a law mandating K-8 schools to provide physical education instruction “for a total period of time of not less than 200 minutes each 10 schooldays” didn’t actually mean they had to provide 200 minutes of physical education instruction.

    I get NCLB’s focus on improving academics, but if you ask me, the availability of fine arts, phys. ed., and so forth should be added as a NCLB measure. Otherwise, the clamor to improve test scores will, I fear, continue to push these important areas of child development to the margins.


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