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veteran teachers

  • A New Spin on the Survival Guide

    Mike Lawson | July 6, 2009

    According to the Web site for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "At least 47 states faced or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or the next year or two. Combined budget gaps for the remainder of this fiscal year and state fiscal years 2010 and 2011 are estimated to total more than $350 billion." When we originally envisaged the SBO "Survival Guide," it was intended to be a publication for new and veteran teachers to provide support and ideas to help them deal with the normal, day-to-day struggles as a music teacher. Although we still provide this type of information, with the current economic meltdown, this issue has taken us on a divergent path, and that is to be more focused on how to save music programs from being cut from school budgets.

    I have seen firsthand the effects of the cost-cutting measures within my son's middle school, as several highly skilled and well-liked academic teachers have been given pink slips. The music program was spared this downsizing, although many parents were quite nervous throughout the process. One person whom I hold in very high regard, Dr. John Benham is, unfortunately, quite busy now due to the fact that he is applying his expertise in saving school music programs. We consult with Dr. Benham in this issue to discuss myriad ways to manage the potential cuts to music programs.

    Two important points, among many others, stand out within Dr. Benham's approach, and they are political power and a sound economic argument. The power is in the numbers, and the more people who are marshaled and represented in support of music education, the greater chance there is surviving of an economic cut. It's hard to ignore a well-organized group of parents and students who show up at a school board meeting to let the superintendent know that they don't want to lose their children's music program.

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