(This is an open letter to the Norwalk Board of Education Members and the Norwalk Public Schools Central Office.)
I am writing to express my strong concern and lack of support for the proposed reduction in Middle School Music Department funding being proposed as part of the road-map to reduce the education budget for the coming school year.
I am fully aware that difficult choices must be made in order to address the financial challenges that our district is facing, however, the cuts to the music program will have far reaching negative affects that need to be considered. As the parent of two students who have matriculated through the middle school music program to the high school level, I have seen first hand the power that the arts can have on an overall education. We all know the facts, but I will state them here again.
Children engaged in the Arts gain critical life skills including:
- Problem Solving
- Non-verbal Communication
- Receiving Constructive Feedback
Specific to our own program, there are significant educational benefits that music education is providing to our students:
Band students excel academically:
- 3.276 Average GPA for all band students
- 65 % Qualify for honors
- 45% Qualifying for High Honors
- Less than 1% of students below 1.7 GPA (FCIAC eligibility)
- 98% of band students go on to post-high school education, 91% attend a 4-year college or university
I do not understand why we would put such excellence at risk.
You may think that High School Music and Middle School Music are not at all connected. The reality is that without instruction at the middle school level, we will see the number of students engaging at the high school level drop precipitously. Why would we take such a powerful and positive educational tool away from our students?
Finally, as President of the Norwalk High School Band Parent Association I have listened to each of you, as well as the Mayor and multiple other dignitaries, praise our music programs as a “shining start” and as “all that is right” within the greater Norwalk Community. The action that you are proposing will undermine all of that.
Again, I realize that we are facing financial challenges that must be addressed. I would, however, suggest that there are other means by which we can accomplish these difficult requirements without putting the future of our students and their well rounded education at risk.
Marching Bears Inc.