So why has the Department of Education and Arne Duncan and friends who care so much about children implemented policies that cut music and the arts from schools in favor of high stakes testing.
It is like feeding junk food to a child and then expecting him or her to be healthy.
Hiring music instructors and teaching children music would be a huge boost for test scores because math and reading as well as nurturing the soul and overall health and anxiety would also be a valuable outcome.
However, it appears that all the talk these days is about test scores and standardized testing, and those all important "performance reviews" for teachers.
Today's NYT new series on "The Invisible Child" aka homeless children, shows us how well the no excuses policies have worked. The NYT reporter shines a bright spotlight on the lives of the 22,000 homeless children in the city. Meanwhile, their teachers are scrambling to let them know there are "no excuses" and a number on a bubble in test will determine whether his or her teacher will be fired.
A few music lessons and a place to escape might be a good alternative to drill and kill on meaningless fill in the bubble sheets and scripted curriculum. It would cost the taxpayers a lot less on the front end and the back end, but then again, Pearson, Bill Gates and all those other philanthropic billionaires might
feel like the hip, rock and rollers are getting too much of the limelight.
Perhaps one day, artists like Bruce Springsteen, all musicians will stand up and defend the one thing that saved their lives when they realized they just weren't that into academics and bubble in tests.
Reclaim school reform is a movement that can not be stopped. The current status quo of defining education as a number of a high stakes standardized test is unsustainable because it is essentially inhumane.
Neuroscientists are discovering multiple ways that musical training improves the function and connectivity of different brain regions. Musical training increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas. Playing an instrument changes how the brain interprets and integrates a wide range of sensory information, especially for those who start before age 7. These findings were presented at the Neuroscience 2013 conference in San Diego.
In a press briefing on November 11, 2013 Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD—who is an expert on music, neuroimaging and brain plasticity from Harvard Medical School—summarized the new research from three different presentations at the conference. These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain; have strong implications for using musical training as a tool in education; and for treating a range of learning disabilities.