We value and are grateful for your support for our music program over the years. As you have heard, the current district budget cuts are threatening the viability of our music program.
Dr. John Benham, a national music education expert, was recently brought in to examine these budget cuts, assess the status of MBUSD music program, and propose clear, proven solutions to the current issues.
This report provides data-supported and research-driven in-depth evaluation and analysis of the MBUSD music program, and highlights important issues in the program along with strategic and structural recommendations. It is our goal to collaboratively resolve these issues in partnership with the District Administration and the School Board.
We hope you will review this report and help champion the unified efforts of choir, band and orchestra families to save and strengthen our music program for all our students, families, and the wider community. This report is also available on the Mira Costa Band, Choir and Orchestra Boosters websites.
MBUSD Music Coalition
If you have further questions, please email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Expanding the music program is financially beneficial to the District.
On the flip side, cutting music now is a lose, lose situation for the future.
The MBUSD music program is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the premier programs in the United States, culminating with the High School Music Program being awarded a Grammy in 2014, recognizing it as one of the top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education.
However, in the last few years, prior to the 2019-2020 academic year, there has been a systemic decline in the apparent support of the MBUSD administration, which has had devastating impacts on the ability of students to continue participation and subsequently resulted in declining enrollments:
In addition, in the past 2 months, in its February 26 and March 4 (2020) meetings, the School Board made the following cuts:
Cuts have been applied arbitrarily, without consultation with either the music faculty or significant community input, and without consideration of:
The School Board spent approximately 18 minutes during the February 26th board meeting discussing the elimination of Zero Period PE for grade 6 students, which appeared to be a spontaneous insertion into the proposed reductions. Little discussion was held on the potential or specific impacts on the grade 6 music curriculum or its residual impact on the program in grades 6-12. For the administration and school board to take away the second elective option for all grade 6 students for a mere $16,696 in program cost without adequate input from the music teachers and community seems precipitous.
Discussion on reductions to the music program lasted less than 5 minutes at the February 26th board meeting, with no specific recognition of the implications of the decision.
There is no mention of the reductions to the high school music program in either the February 26th or the March 4th School Board meeting, and it is likely that the board was unaware that the administrative recommendation included those cuts or it surely would have become part of the discussion.
Smaller ensemble classes have been cut without considering that smaller music classes fulfill a vital role in the development of the advanced students. It is similar to other academic areas in which the district strives to provide options for lower enrollments in advanced classes.
There is no specific administrative oversight of the program, student outcomes, or the faculty. Therefore, there is no advocate for the program, making it an easy target for attack and/or neglect when other issues arise such as the elimination of 6th grade Zero Period PE. Whether this individual is an administrative position or teaching assignment is not the primary issue. The issue is that no one is in charge.
There is a lack of communication about the music program between administrative levels. There is also a lack of participation and communication with music teachers and the community. The rights and responsibilities of the various constituents in the educational and citizen community have been circumvented by the administration and school board, either by default or intent.
The recommendation of the administration, as approved by the school board, demonstrates an attitude relegating music education to extra-curricular and expendable, denying all the research, decisions at the federal level (ESSA) and recommendations of national administrative organizations (ASCD). In general, the music program as designed fails to meet basic national standards for music education. One major example is the failure to provide equal access to the various aspects of the music program for all students.
There is clear evidence that the music program is in need of complete review. The qualitative level of excellence achieved by the few students remaining in the program by the high school years is, without question, a tribute to the perseverance of both the students and the teachers. However, the quantitative characteristics of the program indicate the presence of significant factors that at least inhibit, if not prevent, student options to participate in the music program.
It is possible, in fact probable, that the current reductions recommended to and approved by school board action forecast a continued decline in student participation leading to the potential collapse of the entire program. The current situation is unsustainable.
While the wisdom of the approved reductions in the music program are at best questionable from the aspect of its financial validity, the resulting devastation to the music curriculum, and the lifetime loss of opportunity to the students is without justification.
The community recognizes:
Therefore, it is with careful consideration that we request: