Music: A Key To Learning
Source: (AP) The Shelby Daily Globe, Shelby, Ohio - June 15, 2000
WASHINGTON (Associated Press)
Three in four U.S. adults think states should require a daily
dose of music education in the nation's classrooms, says a
Gallup Poll released Wednesday amid a broad, star-powered
campaign for more interest, funding, and respect for the
"It's essential that we continue this way of thinking as we
try to reform education in this country," Connie Britton, an
actress who appears in the ABC television series "Spin City,"
told an audience of students, teachers, and lawmakers
Her visit came a day after the show's star Michael J. Fox
asked Congress to boost research funds for Parkinson's
disease, the progressive brain disorder he was diagnosed
with in 1991.
Music education advocates nationwide released studies
bolstering their support for music classes and proof that such
lessons help children learn -- and therefore deserves as
much time in a student's day as math or science.
Music educators named school districts in Coppell, Texas,
and Farmington, Mich., as the nation's top providers of
music education. And the groups -- which included the
National Association for Music Education -- commissioned
a poll of more than 1,500 adults on the topic, a follow-up to
one three years ago.
In the 1997 poll, 69 percent of respondents said school music
activities produce better grades and test scores; this year, 81
percent of adults believed music would help children
Also, this year 93 percent of adults said music instruction
should be part of every child's education; 78 percent said states
should mandate that instruction.
Several speakers Wednesday urged congressional lawmakers
considering the education budget to increase federal money
for music and other arts programs.
"I urge members of the Senate to listen to the music and the
message of those gathered here," Education Secretary
Richard Riley said, referring to the Senate Appropriations
Committee that is debating the $340 billion in education,
labor and health spending being considered for fiscal 2001,
which begins Oct. 1.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., promised arts advocates he would
fight to increase such funding in the House version of the
spending bill.
Keegan Younsman-Via, a 13-year-old seventh grader from
Portland, Ore., said arts education grants at his school
helped support a production of a Thornton Wilder classic:
"I got the lead role in 'Our Town' this year. I'm hoping to
excel as an actor."
On Wednesday, New American Schools, a non-profit group
based in Arlington, Va., announced that arts learning would
become a key part of its curriculum offering to schools. The
programs are funded by federal grants for schools to try
innovative education methods.
The new partnership with the Grammy Foundation's
Leonard Berenstein Center would give schools nationwide
lessons that combine music, drama, and other arts with
traditional subjects like reading and science.
"There is a saying: 'A child goes to school a question mark
and comes out as a period.,'" Riley said. "Thanks to the work
of people here today, we may have a new saying for many and
future generations: 'A child goes into school as a scale in
C major and comes out as a symphony.'"
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