Music Education Research

September 13, 2009

No Child Left Behind and Music Education

Filed under: Policy — Rick Dammers @ 11:08 am

Gerrity, K. W. (2009). No Child Left Behind: Determining the impact of policy on music education in Ohio. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, (179), 79-93.

Kevin Gerrity, in his survey of principals of Ohio public schools (n=179), found that these principals had a generally favorable attitude toward music education. However, they ranked music as less important than the subjects measured in No Child Left Behind (math, reading, social studies, science, and writing).  Combining factors including staffing, course offerings, and instructional time, Gerrity found that 43% of Ohio schools had weakened since the enactment of NCLB, while 40% held steady, and 17% had strengthened. The reduction of instructional time, primarily through the inclusion of non-music academic instruction within music classes, seemed to be the primary weakening factor.

While this study cannot attribute causality, it does present some interesting correlations that strengthen anecdotal evidence that NCLB has not been music friendly. Looking forward to upcoming discussions of merit pay for teachers, the music education community needs to be proactive in suggesting how effective music instruction be measured.  Being left out of the measurements again could further marginalize music within the school curriculum.


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