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Isaiah Durgin
Mrs. DeBock
English 4
13 April 2016
Teaching on a High Note
Imagine being a teacher who teaches at a school that had just cut the music program, the
program that the teacher has been fighting to keep said program running for the last few years.
The first day of school comes around and students pour into the classroom, a room in which they
will be learning how to read, write, and perform music. However, before the school year started,
when the teacher went to but the needed supplies and equipment to educate these students, the
teacher was unable to buy the required materials due to low funding. Now when the teacher tries
to teach these students to become proficient in their instruments of choice, they will not have the
correct materials to do so. The decrease of school funding has put a burden on teachers by
placing them in the position of not being adequately prepared.
The logic behind cutting the funding to struggling music programs is one of a paradoxical
nature. Funding is cut because the program is not doing well but the program continues to do
poorly because the program is not able to buy the necessary equipment due to the lack of funds
available. In an article written by Adam Ford, he states, “The quality and frequency of arts
education in California public schools is highly inconsistent due to competing priorities and
limited discretionary funding…” In saying this, he explains that the reason for arts programs not
doing well is because of the lack of funding that the programs receive from the school. Not so

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coincidentally, the beginning of a major budget cuts to arts programs began shortly after the No
Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2004 when more funding was, in fact, given to schools but
these funds and other funds were put forward into training more administrative staff (“School
Funding”). The paradoxical nature of cutting funding to music programs provides educators in
this field in the situation of having to hold fundraisers and other activities to raise money just to
run on a basic schedule, many of these events carrying the risk of costing the program more
money than what they are making by participating.
One of the problems facing music educators is that of gaining the interest of students in
their program. Author Jody L. Kerchner is a musician that travels the country teaching seminars
and classes to students of varying ages. In one passage, she tells of her teaching a group of
middle school students who had no interest in joining an ensemble but had no classes to attend at
the time of her class and were thus forced to attend by the school. The students were those of
troubled backgrounds and were often in detention or suspension. However, through the course of
the passage, Kerchner describes how as she taught the students how to hear certain things, they
came to appreciate music more and became willing to participate in an ensemble (Kerchner 183198). Though this worked for the students that participated in this study, not every school is able
to have a professional music teacher such as Kerchner and must make up for it as best that they
can. Schools are faced with an ultimatum by state and federal governments, an ultimatum that
states that they must perform well or risk being fiscally punished (“School Funding”). They try
to avoid receiving these punishments by giving emphasis to different areas, leaving arts
programs to either go about their business running on the funds provided to them by the school

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or by trying to raise the needed funding themselves. Many programs eventually have to do both
because the funding that they receive from the school is not enough.
Teachers face the challenges of teaching classes without proper funding therefore leading
to music not being efficiently taught to students. The teacher used in the introduction is only the
victim of circumstances that cannot be controlled by them. This leads to the teacher having to
make up for the lack of funding in other ways, which in the long term leads to the students being
improperly taught. As these students progress to become teachers themselves, having been taught
improperly impacts their ability to properly teach the same subject. As shown through this
example and throughout the article, funding plays a vital role in the education of students in all
areas of study. Teachers cannot be expected to correctly teach students if they are not given the
appropriate amount of funding.

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Works Cited
Ford, Adam. “Point: The Arts are a Vital Part of Education.” Points of View: Arts & Music in
Public Schools (2015): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 9 Feb. 2016
Kerchner, Jody L., and Carlos R. Abril. Musical Experience in Our Lives: Things We Learn and
Meanings We Make. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009. Print
"School Funding." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.