Music and Arts Education: What's the True Story?
An article from the Dallas Morning News has stirred up debate among music and arts educators. The article cites a recent government report that reveals 90 percent of elementary teachers surveyed stated art and music curriculum remained the same from 2004 to 2007. The article suggests the report's findings mean No Child Left Behind has had less of an impact on the narrowing of the curriculum than oft thought.
But the article fails to emphasize that teachers at schools identified as needing improvement and those with higher percentages of minority students were more likely to report a reduction in music and arts instruction time. In addition, the report indicates that some principals have replaced music and arts instruction during the school day with after-school options, while still others have allowed students to be pulled from arts classes for remediation. These practices deny students—especially those who might particularly benefit from arts education—the opportunity to learn in different ways.
Moreover, the report itself conflicts with existing research. In 2005, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) found 22 percent of school districts had reduced instructional time for art and music. In 2006, CEP revealed 71 percent of schools had cut music programs.
Richard Kessler over at Dewey21C has raised some interesting questions about the report's research methodology, as well as some of the leaps the Dallas Morning News article made about the report's conclusions.
What do you think? Has music and arts instruction changed in your school or district? If so, how has it changed?