“We believe that educational inequality matters and government needs to place far more emphasis on the most underachieving pupils in our education system to improve social justice and social mobility.”
Centre for Social Justice
Federal Funding for Schools
Children in low-wealth urban and rural communities typically face major obstacles to a good education. High quality pre-K is rarely available for these children, so the achievement gap is already in place when students enter school. Also, schools serving disadvantaged students often have barriers to educational opportunity such as inadequate buildings, too few books and computers, and teachers with less experience than those in suburban schools.
Even though they tax themselves at higher rates, low-wealth communities are unable to generate sufficient funding for their schools. And state funding usually falls short of allowing them to provide adequate resources for their children. Some states even distribute funds in ways that worsen resource inequities.
Damaging disparities remain in educational opportunities, despite our nation’s soaring declarations about equality in our founding documents and our heritage of equal rights advocacy and laws. Federal law calls for a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education, but that opportunity is denied to many children, especially low-income and minority children.
Federal funding is less than 10% of the money schools use, but federal policies are changing local schools, and the impact has grown, especially via:
- Federal K-12 mandates, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
- Federal mandates for states to qualify for competitive grants, e.g. SIGs (School Improvement Grants)
In contrast, federal policymakers have not used their leverage to push for equitable state funding or the Opportunity To Learn for all children.
Debates over federal education policy have largely ended in stalemates on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was due to be reauthorized in 2007. ESEA provides the largest single portion of federal funding for education, about $15 billion a year. Education Justice, Education Law Center, and many other education advocacy organizations are weighing in on ESEA debates and other aspects of federal education policy.
Two of the key federal laws that establish students’ rights are:
Playing music positively affects the development of children’s cognitive skills. It builds confidence, self-discipline and inspires creativity. Also, playing music can increase productivity and help kids and teens connect socially with their peers.
According to the Northwestern scientists, the findings strongly indicate musical training adds new neural connections — and that primes the brain for other forms of human communication.
In fact, actively working with musical sounds enhances neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and change. “A musician’s brain selectively enhances information-bearing elements in sound. In a beautiful interrelationship between sensory and cognitive processes, the nervous system makes associations between complex sounds and what they mean,” Nina Kraus, lead author of the Nature paper and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, explained in a statement to the media. “The efficient sound-to-meaning connections are important not only for music but for other aspects of communication.”
For example, researchers have found that musicians are better than non-musicians in learning to incorporate sound patterns for a new language into words. Their brains also appear to be primed to comprehend speech in a noisy background.
What’s more, children who have had music lessons tend to have a larger vocabulary and better reading ability than youngsters who haven’t had any musical training. And children with learning disabilities, who often have a hard time focusing when there’s a lot of background noise, may be especially helped by music lessons. “Music training seems to strengthen the same neural processes that often are deficient in individuals with developmental dyslexia or who have difficulty hearing speech in noise,” Dr. Kraus stated.
By S. L. Baker
I interviewed a Vice Principal who did not wish to be recorded or documented.
Vice Principal at a Unified School District elementary school in Pittsburg, CA. I asked him his opinion on extracurricular activities being cut among public schools and here’s what he had to say:
“The current focus particular on underperforming title 1 districts like where I work, the push is so heavy on subjects like language arts, english, math takes president over everything. Kids would actually lose their ability to take electives at all, music being one of those, because they would have to take a double period of english and or math, and kids who had language learners would often take a third period of ELD, which would basically make it three periods of english, two periods of math, and a PE because you have to take a PE by law. Music and art has definitely taken a back seat to the pressure to performing in english and math. I think it’s unfortunate that these extracurricular activities are being eliminated because if those two subjects aren’t your strong suit you’re being denied the ability to find other avenues.”
Advocates Groups for Music Programs
This video gives examples of how programs such as art and music helps with a students education. Music can attribute to a better understanding of math and art can encourage a students creativity in order to excel in subjects like english.
This is a speech Obama gave on the advantages that music and art programs give as a more well rounded type of education.
Personal View: Cutbacks in public schools such as music, art, and sports programs are disadvantages to the young student. Extracurricular activities like these are proven to help a student achieve more in school. Especially the opportunities that open up for a student that include scholarships for college. Many students in college are there on scholarship due to their amazing talents in sports, music, or art which they received training and practice from kindergarden to senior year in high school. Without these programs students like these will not be able to advance their talents to a collegiate level.