The participants of the #MusEdChat held on March 22, 2010 discussed the topic, “How does music education fit into the education reforms coming to the United States in the next five years?” While this was the topic that the group started with, participants quickly began discussing advocacy in its many possible forms in the K-12 level schools.
@Zweibz7 began the chat by tweeting a link to the Blueprint for Reauthorizing the NCLB Act. Multiple participants expressed concern that music is never mentioned in the blueprint, although the arts are mentioned four times. The arts are mentioned as a core subject, but participants wonder how this really plays out. As stated by @pisanojm,” Again, Music is named (through arts) as a core subject, but how did that help with NCLB?” Some of the biggest changes mentioned in this chat is the lack of penalties for all schools (rather only for the lowest 10%), and the replacement of AYP with preparation for college and careers.
Advocacy and Reform in Music Education
Other ideas began to surface at this point. An idea about others’ perspective on music education was proposed by @shawdave. He asked,” How can we make music appear more academic, less ‘activity’?” Quite a few responses were discussed, including assessment and teaching to the intrinsic value of music. @prettythewrld suggested that we can accomplish this, “by reinforcing that it prepares kids for college and careers by teaching 21st century skills”.
The topic then shifted briefly to assessment in music. A bit of a debate took place over whether or not music should be included in state standardized testing. While some believed that adding music on standardized tests would secure music departments while putting it on an equal level with other academic subject, others thought that this would not be beneficial in the teaching or learning of music. Other arguments stated that in order for legislature to take music education seriously, some kind of assessment needs to be in place. @Zweibz7 then clarified the difference between testing and assessment. He said,” TESTING is a stressful and tense solution. ASSESSMENT will help us advocate for music education, and yet still focus on student learning.” To see many other thoughts on this topic, check out the #MusEdChat transcript and recap of the chat on assessment in music.
The conversation quickly switched back to advocacy. Most of the participants agreed about the importance of involving community and parents in advocacy strides. Exactly what to fight for was also discussed. While music has many benefits, most participants agreed to push to keep music purely for the sake of music. As stated by @MusicEdTech , “Music for music’s sake. There is no other justification. It’s a brain thing and it has been documented. MUSIC BY ITSELF IS WORTH IT.” It was stated that we as citizens need to pay attention to who is running for school board positions and making decisions for our schools. Participants also expressed the need for advocates of the arts to go to school boards and hold them accountable. Multiple participants tweeted and retweeted the value of having students perform at school board meetings. This allows the school board itself to see the benefit of a music program directly, while making it harder for them to cut these programs. Music Technology was also mentioned. Many participants believed that music technology is the new face of music education, helping in both teaching music and preparing students for life in the 21st century.
An International Perspective
Participants in this chat had the opportunity to converse with three music teachers from Canada. @Dave_Parkes, @chriscoyle, and @laurendorphin all gave #MusEdChat a fresh perspective on how music education looks in Canada, and compared it to how we know music education in the United States. One event directly related to advocacy in Canada is Music Monday. Put simply by @Dave_Parkes, “Music Monday = as many students, same song, same time, all over Canada = united in song for sake of music.” It was also stated that unlike in the United States, Canada has no national standards for music. Rather, music standards change from province to province.
- Blueprint for Reauthorizing ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act) – http://bit.ly/brkAmr
- Music for Music’s sake - http://bit.ly/aHlZfK
- All subject areas needed to educate students - http://ow.ly/1pCj3
- @wbauer ‘s Faculty Advocacy Presentation -http://tinyurl.com/ygzf9np
- Music Monday Link – http://bit.ly/atQUXK
- Resource for advocacy – http://www.supportmusic.com/
- Canada’s Music Education Advocacy Body -http://www.weallneedmusic.ca/
- Follow MENC’s federal advocacy activities – http://tinyurl.com/l759v5
- Music Advocacy Articles - http://bit.ly/a7Gdh7
- Music Advocacy when it is relevant to the community -http://bit.ly/crXMt9
State Assessment Links
- CT State Music Assessment – http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?A=2618&Q=322250
- WA State Arts Assessment – http://bit.ly/aCkw85
Suggested Reading Links
- “Talent is Overrated” – http://bit.ly/b0CCw3
- Alfie Kohn – not using grades to assess -http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/fdtd-g.htm
- Cohort Study for dropout reduction in Fine Arts -http://tinyurl.com/y8ulb8u
- What the University will look like in 2010 - http://bit.ly/9omDlJ
- Gardner’s “5 Minds for the Future” - http://bit.ly/9QuZP1
- Pink’s “Drive” - http://tiny.cc/pvhhr
- Payne’s “Bridges Out of Poverty” - http://tiny.cc/fiyxd
Please take this opportunity to check out the transcript for this chat. While the main points of the chat are covered in this recap, there are many more great ideas and thoughts on this topic that can be found from reading through the chat itself. To join us in the weekly #MusEdChat, log on to Twitter on Monday at 8:00 p.m. EST. Learn how to participate here!