Teaching music in an era of high-stakes testing and budget reductions

Chad West, Ithaca College


Prior research suggests that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is having an adverse effect on school music programs, particularly in schools that have not made “adequate yearly progress.” In many instances, music programs are being reduced or eliminated, music teachers are being required to assist with the teaching of other subjects, academically low-achieving students are being precluded from participating in music, and the overall time allotted for music is being reduced. Because the arts are excluded from NCLB’s list of tested subjects—that is, subjects for which schools are held accountable—music has been relegated to a noncore status, even though the law identifies the arts as a core academic subject. This article discusses changing paradigms within music education and how some music teachers are adapting to these shifts. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.