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Catalyst Chicago Magazine - News and Analysis

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sad News


It is with regret that I report to you that SPPS has cut music.  These cuts which include hires up to 1999 were even deeper than expected, and include classroom music specialists. We have lost more than 30% of our teachers even though the SPPS only experienced a 5 % cut. Instead of evenly spreading out the cuts SPPS chose to eliminate the entire program.
What this means:

SPPS will go forward with its plan to outsource elementary instrumental music teaching (classroom music also), replacing full time positions with part time workers either before/after school and on Saturdays.   The details of this plan will be made public to the remaining music teachers on Monday. Details will follow here.

Those of us who remain are now placed in the position of supporting this plan whether we think it good policy or not.

It means that this is no longer just a music issue, but also an issue of  total quality instruction, full participation, school culture, and identity.

Schools are not factories. 

Related Problems:

Elementary Classroom Music.

By law elementary classroom teachers are just as able to teach music as specialists are.  Classroom teachers take only 2 classes to be qualified.  In addition, classroom teachers are allowed to interpret the standards in their own way i.e.  The State Elementary Music Standards have no standard so they have no meaning.

Why this is bad

There is no need for classroom music specialists.  They are expendable.

Outsourcing isn't cheaper.

Commercial music schools and instrument rentals are much more expensive than SPPS in house music specialists and school rentals.   Commercial music schools have mostly private lessons and few ensembles.

If outsourcing isn't cheaper how is this going to work?

Fewer participants?
Short term artists in residences?
Outside funding?

Details will follow Monday's meeting.

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