Music Education in Sherman MIddle School: Pull Out or Afterschool

Sherman’s parents are puzzled and frustrated. Music classes for instrument and vocal will be during the day, but the classes will be pull out classes!

Last Monday, Principal Ann Yehle informed parents that orchestra, band and vocal music would be offered during the day if her concerns were met. Parents asked what her concerns were – the response they received was a list of what teachers needed in the exploratory classes to teach those classes – including certain equipment for a class in one case.
No mention was made of demographics, student academic background, etc. This week parents received a letter from the principal which says that all children will have the opportunity to play an instrument afterschool if the day schedule does not meet their schedule’s needs – good step. However, those children taking instrumental or vocal music during the day will be pulled out of various classes depending upon the week. Children in these music classes will not have schedules that accomodate their desire to study an instrument or to develop vocal skills and to fully participate in their other classes without the extra burden of making up work missed in class, which might be hard to do for some types of classes such as gym class. Children will need to take their instrument or vocal music class in addition to all the other “mandated” classes without having the full benefit of being in the class the entire quarter – bad step.
Madison’s music education curriculum is for grades K-12 and requires that students take classes in sufficient time and frequency to meet the standards set forth in the curriculum. There is reference in the curriculum that children should have the opportunity to study music during the day; however, I don’t think those writing the curriculum felt it necessary to add “study during the day without conflict with other classes.” Isn’t it about time that the music professionals had a chance to assess the impact on children’s learning of changes in the music curriculum at Sherman Middle School?
Earlier in the month, Principal Ann Yehle indicated that the instrument and vocal classes would be held during the day and the impression parents had was that she would work with them to plan for this for next year. It appears the Sherman parents are being handed another mandate and that children who want to play an instrument or train their voice are being penalized – and these were children who tended to have better school behavior!