Band geek parents, unite!
In the face of deep budget cuts and persistent worries about narrowing curriculum, a new national parents group has formed to fight for music education. The Indiana-based Association of Music Parents, or AMP, says it's aiming to build a grassroots movement to make sure arts and music programs continue to be a mainstay. Its new web site alludes to fears that the dominant vision of education reform doesn't recognize links between art and music and other academic subjects:
"Why is it that the top three countries (Korea, Finland and China) in each category of math and science performance each have a requirement of Music and other arts in their curriculums in order to graduate from high school and much of America does not?"
"If we expect to compete with the world leaders in education, we must look at the link between math and science performance and the requirement of MUSIC as an academic mandate."
In Florida, it's not hard to find anecdotal evidence about cuts in art and music classes. In Pinellas, arts and music education have gotten a big boost from the half-mill referendum money, which will go before voters again some time next year.
(The photo is from St. Petersburg Times coverage of the last show performed by the Southside Fundamental Middle School band, in 2009.)