Music is Not a Core Class

Music is at the core of our society. It is not a “core class” as we are intent on defining it in the U.S.

Along with “core subject” status comes the need to know that students are proficient in this area. And the only way we know to assess their proficiency is … to assess them.

Right now, national organizations are beginning to pilot assessments they have developed. I simply do not believe that there is a way to create tests that meet both of these criteria:

  1. Provide lawmakers with clear, easily understood, objective data about student knowledge.
  2. Do not detract from the daily work of helping students to make art in the classroom.

Making art is a daily struggle; a bubbled test to verify that they have learned to make art will not improve my students’ education.

The argument in favor of core status for music is that it might help protect the jobs of music teachers – if it’s a core class, it can’t be cut so deeply or often.

But to what end? If the high school choral educators I know end up just as focused on preparing students for tests as the math and social studies teachers, hasn’t that diminished the experience they provide?