Schools and music - How much and what?

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Postby Glissando88keys » Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:08 pm

Guest wrote:Before we can begin talking about curriculum essentials, we must first establish that Music, in any form, is worth spending money on in the classroom.

...This probably sounds foolish, but I do not think that all school administrators take for granted the necessity of musical education...

...However, it is an inescapable reality for the public school system in the united states [sic] and thus, so is the need for a good argument in favor of any form of musical education within this system.

It is very true that many administrators may take for granted the necessity of a music program, and certainly do not or will not prioritize such a program. Perhaps the value of a music program in the public school system has not been properly established, as you point out.

Funding of music education needs to be addressesd based on its value and relevance to the educational goals of today's student, thus, warrant its necessity.

The decision to include music in schools should be evaluated based on current wisdom extolling the virtues of music in its proven ability to

complement and stimulate learning!!!!

not only on parent or student preference, and not necessarily because of its ancient Greco- Roman or Medieval tradition, whose wisdom notwithstanding, may or may not have relevance to today's student. The argument for the wisdom of the Ancient tradition is another topic.

This simple fact, alone, is argument in favor of funding music programs in schools.

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Postby Stretto » Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:13 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Drewnchick and Glissando, thanks to you both for insightful comments.

As an example, my state long ago cut out funds for the frivolity of music. Schools have choirs and bands, of course, for those who wish to take them, but that's all. We seem to be in a period where tight budgets and fiercely monitored political correctness are mandating programs that really serve no educational purpose, and the dumming down of much of the core curricula. The Arts always get short shrift at such times.


What are some examples of some programs in schools that serve no educational purpose? And what are some examples of the "dumbing down of core curricula"?

My daughter just finished Kingergarten last year so I have just peeked around the curtain to see what goes on in a public school around here. I was kind of concerned about what I might find. Outside of the deteriation of the facilities themselves in the public schools around here, I was quite pleased and impressed on all other counts: academics, music, arts, physical fitness, behavior, etc. I actually saw little difference in the way things were ran and what was learned than when I was a kid 30 + years ago :D except that kids are learning more.

Some of the things my daughters school did as far as music education are as follows:

Fairly frequent assemblies held where singing songs were a regular part of the assembly.

One patriotic song (I forgot which one) sang every morning in class as well as at assemblies.

Music class twice a week. The music room shelves housed a couple long rows of brand new textbook-style music books.

Each class performed a separate music program. The programs where scheduled throughout the school year with each class performing for the entire school during the day at assemblies and also performing again the same evening. The
school counselor was a really good pianist and accompanied the class performances.

My daughter's classroom teacher had a cd collection in the class and played various cd's for the class regularly, I think mostly at rest time. Her classroom teacher was a huge Elvis Presley fan and even played Elvis for the class and one day my daughter came home rattling off a huge list of Elvis facts!!! (I thought maybe I should donate to the classroom few more folk or classical cd's!).

My daughter's teacher also taught them several songs in the classroom. At the Mother's Day "Tea", the class sang several Mother's Day songs taught by the classroom teacher. The class also showcased a few of their favorite songs they had sung in class during the year. One favorite was a silly counting song so they were learning numbers and singing at the same time.

On field day, the school had a sound system set up and were blarring oldies rock songs while the students had their field events.

Other things the schools around here do:

Students from the high school or colleges bring their instruments and perform for the kids

Field trips take kids to the local performing arts hall where kids get to hear a private matinee of some of the performing artists (wish I could attend those!)

Talent shows for student participation

One of my students in 6th grade said she was learning music history in music class and had learned about the different time periods.

I think my daughter's school did a good job exposing the kids to quite a wide variety of music and music-related activities. One concern I had was that in music class the students would do only "new" and "updated" kid's songs and none of the songs from "the good ol' days". But I was pleasantly suprised and pleased to hear my daughter come home one day singing some of the same songs I learned in school such as "Ten Little Indians" and "Little Bunny Foo Foo". I figured these songs were from "days gone by" :D .

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Postby Glissando88keys » Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:54 pm

Stretto, here's an example of Dummying Down:

..."How is it that in 2005, 44 percent more kids achieved “proficiency” on Arizona’s AIMS test than on the widely respected National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam? "...

..."Harvard professor Paul Peterson and American Enterprise Institute scholar Rick Hess have examined the difference between the percentage of children scoring proficient on NAEP and compared it to the percentage scoring proficient on state exams, such as AIMS. They performed this analysis for both 2003 and 2005 to see which states toughened their standards vis-à-vis the NAEP exam, and which had in one way or another dummied down their tests."...

..."While some states actually increased their standards on state exams between 2003 and 2005, Arizona standards suffered the biggest decline. The biggest culprit, although not necessarily the only one, in this dummying down of AIMS was a lowering of the cut scores. A cut score is the percentage of questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass. In 2003, a student was required to answer 73 percent of AIMS reading questions correctly in order to pass, but in 2005 they only had to answer 59 percent correctly..."

..."State policymakers have gravely compromised AIMS as a tool for parents to use in judging school quality, and reporters should keep this gaming in mind as claims of “progress” on AIMS are touted in future years..."

Another example, from a perceptive teacher:

...“What happens a lot is that teachers start to [believe] that it can’t be done because they don’t have strong parental support,” he says. “You start dummying down the curriculum. What was a C five years ago is now an A. You stop giving homework. And you give the students 10 chances to finish one assignment. Kids know when adults don’t believe in them.”

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