A world without musicMonday, February 27, 2012 By Andie White
If you have ever been around little kids for more than thirty minutes, you will most likely hear them spontaneously burst into song for no reason at all. It is one of the funniest and most endearing moments, depending on the child, but no one can argue that it is just part of life even from such an early age. Growing up you can find music is your daily routine: singing in the shower, blasting music in your car as you try to wake up, even listening to music in class to drown out the Charlie Brown “wah-wah-wa-wah-wahs” from your teachers. However, our public schools believe it is important to take music programs out of the school budget and deprive children of music. According to The Denver Post , “The district is looking at $70 million in budget reductions over the next two years. A Citizens Budget Advisory Council created a list of recommendations for cuts, including eliminating elementary instrument instruction and more than 18 music teacher positions.” However, Jeffco Public Schools are sending mixed signals. Under the music department on their website, their closing statement is this, “ The study of music develops essential skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and team work. Participation in music supports our District's Mission: To provide a quality education that prepares all children for a successful future.” So why are they taking all those benefits away from kids ? If schools cut the instrumental programs for elementary school kids, the students would be a level behind. For example, middle schools will get elementary beginner-level students and high schools will get those kids, and if the kids decide to pursue this in college, they will be slightly behind the kids who are attending that college, especially out-of-state schools where music programs had not been cut. Jenn Baker, a new music teacher at Maple Grove Elementary School, says that the schools are safe for another year, but next year if they can’t get the mill-levy passed the district will take the instrumental programs out because it is a “pull out class” because half the teachers voted that music programs are somewhere in the middle on an importance level and because of that and the money to get the mill-levy passed. ( A mill-levy is the assessed property tax rate used by local governments and other jurisdictions to raise revenue in order to cover annual expenses. The mill levy is calculated by determining how much revenue each taxing jurisdiction will need for the upcoming year, then dividing that projection by the total value of the property within the area, and finally adding up the rate from each jurisdiction to get the mill levy for the entire area.) If something did happen and the mill-levy did not get passed, the teachers who have been teaching music programs for a long time will be moved to teach another subject. It seems like a good idea to save their jobs; however, this is not a good situation for the kids because they will not get the best teachers for the job. For example if an orchestra teacher had been teaching fifth and sixth grade orchestra and now is teaching kindergarten they wouldn’t be as qualified for the job as someone who had gotten their masters in elementary school education, and it’s not fair to the kids or the new teachers. In order to get the mill-levy passed it will take several generous donations to cover the $30-$40 million to save the programs.