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19 Responses

  1. furiousBall says:

    I want a kantele now

  2. Jazz says:

    I'd like to go to the language magnet school please.

    Oh yeah, right. Won't exist.

  3. Becky Cazares says:

    When I was a kid, magnets were for picking up weird stuff off the ground and impressing younger cousins with the amount of sewing pins that could be stuck together all at once. But "music appreciation" was a significant part of kindergarten through 3rd grade thanks to Miss Alice and her insistence that we learn to appreciate the classics such as Vivaldi and Grieg and learn to plunk simple tunes on the upright piano. Of course this was the 1960s in a three-classroom reservation school with no govt funding at all so the idea of banning music to emphasize test-taking skills would never have occurred to any of the four excellent teachers, two of whom were my dad and my uncle. Such a rich education I got! And how impossible to replicate today, if I had a young 'un to attempt to educate proper. Sigh…

  4. Erin says:

    Run for public office Jocelyn. Please. I will vote for you!

  5. Logophile says:

    You want I should call this guy I know?
    Gimme some names, little lady.
    We'll learn 'em (that is my second online Wind in the Willows reference in the last couple days, wonder what that is about?).

    Not that this is helpful in your situation, but this is why I homeschool. I deeply empathize with your frustration.

  6. alwaysinthebackrow says:

    Standardized testing is really not designed for the children, but to appease the public for "accountability" of teachers. A good Music teacher-like your son's-is worth her weight in gold. And no standardized test could weigh it. Tests have shown that music increases test scores. What are they thinking?

  7. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    It's a travesty for sure.

  8. Pam says:

    Already happened here in South Australia Joce. Can't speak for other states. First is was our country schools instrumental teachers who were cut back. Then music in schools generally. In this state we have three music focused high schools, where it is necessary to audition to get accepted into the program.The National focus is on literacy and numeracy testing in Years 3 and 5, results of which go on a national schools website,accessable to all.Most teachers are against struggling schools and their communities,often those whose focus is based on English as a second language , being "named and shamed" in such a public forum,in comparison to their often wealthier counterparts who enjoy a great deal of Government funding, which many feel could be better directed. At one stage in my teaching career I was employed as a co-ordinator in our school, of a national campaign to mop up the fall-out of the underachieving students. It equated to 12 minutes a week per child, just so the Government could say they had provided funding to address those they (as skilled teachers we knew them anyway) identified with literacy and numeracy difficulties in the test that year. The Teacher's Union tried to boycott the administration of these latest tests last week,but to no avail. Sounds like your family is having a wonderful time by the way,(meant to say that earlier in the comment, rather than at the end of a whinge!!)

  9. Ellie says:

    You're absolutely right, we should keep dumbing down… Ensuring that anyone who achieves will have had to clamber up out of the pit we condemned them too. Fun, hey?

  10. secret agent woman says:

    The fine arts have been getting short shrift around here for a while. Makes me a little queasy abou our future.

  11. Shania says:

    Isn't it amazing how these decisions are always made before we even know about the discussion? This is why I make my husband sell his plasma to send Silas to private school. A lady showed up last week with a didgeridoo. Not something you see every day.

  12. Jeni says:

    Frankly, judging by the conversation with Paco and yourself and his identification of various pieces of music, I'd say he's a darned quick learner even if he gets all tired out and "slumpy" in the music and chorus classes. And I think too all this fuss and muss about the "No Child Left Behind" is leaving more and more kids left behind in the long run -like after they manage to get out of school, having graduated mainly just knowing the texts and tests they'd been spoon-fed but not knowing much of anything then about other little things -problem-solving, common sense among lots of other things. Yeah, call me old-fashioned but the education provided to me in the little school, in the little village where I grew up had done me well -provided a good solid base that 32 years after I graduated though I remembered next to nothing about chemistry except what H20 and NaCl stood for and I still couldn't do an algebra problem on paper but I could figure it out in my head and I tested high enough on the English skills to qualify to test then for the English honors program. My basics came from teachers who had taught the generation before me in many instances, and many of them didn't know English before they started school but they learned it as they worked through their lessons in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades with no separate classes to teach them the language their peers already knew. And a lot of those folks went on to do some pretty darned good things with that basic teaching too! Music and art are excellent forms for children to learn so many other things in life that are necessities and why schools love to clip them out first is beyond my perceptive skills completely!

  13. geewits says:

    And here I thought there was a big movement to bring music INTO schools, not take it OUT. That's really dreadful.

  14. Deborah says:

    Well you won't get any arguments from me. As a former music teacher, mother of a flutist, a guitarist/drummer and a listener-of-rap-and-assorted-electronica I do firmly believe that music is a wonderfully enriching experience. Moreover, I do not know what else on earth I would have done with myself for the 15 or so years that I taught piano – possibly giving a lot of Tupperware parties.

    It's an intangible, unfortunately, unlike math and English and physics and all those other things you can study that have immediate and practical applications in the world and are more easily quantifiable by state standards. It is a great pity that these programs have a hard time surviving (it's the same story up here i.e. in Canada which is where I am and why I've been so lazy i.e. busy and not been blogging) but the good thing is that music is out there all around us. Parents can pick up the slack, as they have been doing already for some time, and turn on the classical music station, go to those concerts and music-fests or even enroll their children in those expensive music lessons. Sigh. The thing is, music is also all about math and humanity and joy and I'm certain it's every bit as useful for staving off Alzheimer's as learning a second language. And indeed, it is a second language.

    All right, I've spouted off enough here. Time for your kudos.
    When I saw that you had a new post, I grinned, poured myself a fresh cup of coffee, hunkered down on my stool at the kitchen island and leaned into your story.
    And loved it. You take the most ordinary everyday occurrences and with that glitter glue of yours, make magic stuff out of them. All the while staying true to the rigour of your English literature background, with wonderfully well-formed structure, compelling arguments and, where it not for the lack of funding, a truly satisfying conclusion.
    And funny. Every time I read you, it sounds so EASY that I think I should be able to do it too. You pull me in and carry me along and it feels like the words pour from my own brain.
    All right, that's enough for now. I have to get some work done and MAYBE even post something of my own today. And thanks to reading this, I will be better able to dose it with a little humour (although perhaps I could work on improving my English).

  15. Green Girl in Wisconsin says:

    I cannot imagine such a thing–a school without the arts. SHAME!
    That music teacher sounds divine.

  16. lime says:

    i should not have read this just before trying to go to bed. the utter stupidity and counter productivity of this bureaucratic caca makes my blood pressure spike and makes me want to stand on a desk and spew forth profanities aimed at the administrative dickwads ramming this decision through. the high school i graduated from is ready to axe the foreign language dept. which was once far superior to that of the university i attended. our children's school axed the elementary writing curriculum and a host of exciting and inspiring thematic units. all the local schools are laying teachers off (but nary an administrator) even though we are 1 of 6 GROWING counties in the whole freaking state.

    this crap infuriates me. i think it calls for some angry punk rock or thrash metal in protest….or heck, call in pete seger.

  17. chelle says:

    so sad … really what kids are want to go to school when all the fun classes are gone? I really believe it needs to be a balance of hard core academics and the good stuff, like music, art, phys ed … without the balance it is all work and no play. Yuck.

  18. Pearl says:

    I'm so sorry to hear about the cuts. THe Boy and I lived in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, a nasty little area where my son, who is quite bright, was engaged to "tutor" his fellow students who only spoke Hmong. I was not pleased.

    There's a two-year music school in Minneapolis called Perpich Center for the Arts, should the kids pick up any of the arts and show promise. The boy went there (it's only 11th and 12th) and it's a boarding school for those from outstate.

    Just so's ya know. 🙂


  19. Patois says:

    I think I told you our school has a one-year reprieve. People are trying to come up with some type of new identity to keep it afloat. It's so damn disheartening to lose the good things in cases of such short-sightedness.

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