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The Chalkboard: No More Sounds of Music?

With budget cuts swirling and states grappling with how to best respond, we wanted to direct our attention to a common casualty of the chopping block: music and arts education.

With budget cuts swirling and states grappling with how to best respond, we wanted to direct our attention to a common casualty of the chopping block: music and arts education. Because when resources are tight, it's frequently the first to fall by the wayside. And we know it works: High school music students score higher on their SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. Before any more money gets slashed from the budget, we wanted to know how our nation's eighth graders were faring when it comes to music instruction. Each year, the National Assessment of Educational Progress assesses eighth grade students, who attend both private and public schools. Students are asked to analyze, critique, and identify the musical instrument being played. Similar to subjects like English and math, achievement gaps in arts persist—with white and Asian students performing between 29 to 32 points higher than their black and Hispanic peers. City schools fared worse than their suburban and rural counterparts, as did children who receive a free or reduced price lunch. And while more than half of the students sampled attend a school where music instruction is offered at a minimum of three times a week, too many still attend a school where music instruction isn't offered at all.

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