Our school board (North Clackamas, suburb of Portland) here in Oregon is facing what could be major cuts in State funding for public schools next year. As before (1980's), there will be discussion of eliminating elementary music and physical education. For several years during the 80's, there was NO music or PE in grades 1-6. Currently there are two sessions of general music per week, and of course PE is back, reinstated 4 years ago. BTW - this may seem like I live in the sticks, but this school district is not small, so decisions affect around 2500 kids in grades K-6 (and where is the audience for Art suppose to come from in future years, and where are the high school kids suppose to learn to play in band, or sing in a choir? aaargh!)
Since I intend to go fight for at least keeping what we now have, I wanted some feedback from you folks, those that have kids in public schools or know the curriculum in your district.
What options for music are available in the elementary schools (choir, band, orchestra, individual instruction, etc.), how many times per week, are there additional fees, is there strong support for the music component of the curriculum, do the parents/faculty/administration know how essential music is to the development of the student or do they tend to approach music as being superfluous. . . or anything else you can think of would be appreciated.
If you respond, please mention your City/State. I would like to be able to cite facts and figures, so mentioning a specific state or school district would sound very good. Many of us parents just can't allow the school board to cut programs (again) while they make it seem like everyone should agree the arts go first! There are several of us banding together to take them on this time.