On March 13, dozens of Howard County, Maryland, parents and students showed up for the county’s Board of Education meeting. The proposal on the table calls for moving five area elementary schools to the Ducketts Lane Elementary School block scheduling model. This model would cut time from music classes and eliminate sectionals, or single-instrument instruction—as well as increase the class size, taking away from quality music instruction.
“Elementary school music is the foundation for secondary programs, and this foundation requires a firm base and a strong support,” said Bernadette Giroux, leader of Howard County Parents for School Music.
“The small class size necessary for great music instruction does not fit in the block schedule model,” another parent, Mike Hossum, told the school board Thursday. “Please remember the arts rarely fit nicely into a box. That is the point of the arts: to allow us to experience the world in a new light, and be a free and open outlet for creative expression.”
School system spokesperson Rebecca Amani-Dove responded to the concerns by saying that scheduling decisions are “an administrative function,” and that the “role of the school system is to make decisions that are in the best interests of all kids, not just a particular group of kids who have a very active advocacy group behind them.”
The parents will next meet at Bonnie Branch Middle School on Thursday, March 20, 7:30PM EDT.
Catherina Hurlburt, Special Assistant, March 19, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)