Earlier this month, I attended an event at the Center for American Progress where former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) and Congressman Joseph Crowley (D) spoke about the importance of music and the arts. Huckabee discussed how to expand quality music education, particularly with programs like MusicianCorps, which was named a “Top-10 Nonprofit policy proposal to strengthen U.S. communities” by the Aspen Institute.The idea is to utilize the national service model and recruit musicians as MusicianCorps Fellows who would work in concert with urban school music teachers. The fellows would likely serve as mentors, directors of afterschool programs, artists in residence, implementers of music activities at nonprofit service providers, and more. MusicianCorps aims to expand access to quality music education in schools that currently have limited music programs.
It has been reported that students involved in high-quality music programs have higher graduation rates, higher scores on standardized tests, and slightly better performance on the SAT. So, why are schools narrowing the curriculum when it comes to the arts? Some would point to the inception of NCLB. In actuality, NLCB includes the arts in its list of core academic subjects:
“The term ‘core academic subjects’ means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.”
- No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9101 (11)
Bottom-line is that the arts aren’t part of standardized tests or included as a factor in meeting AYP. And schools fold under pressure.
But, as a musician myself (I sing and play piano and clarinet), I have experienced first-hand the benefits of quality school music programs and they are not expendable. Ninety percent of “likely adult” voters agree. – Laura