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May 2, 2006

Speak Up For Strings - Starting May 9th

Please Help Save Elementary Strings!!!
How: Ask the New School Board -
Work with the Community to Build Fine Arts Education!
When: Starting May 9th

Other districts facing fiscal and academic achievement challenges have had successes maintaining and growing their fine arts education - through strategic planning, active engagement and real partnerships with their communities. School districts in Arizona, Chicago, New York, Texas and Minneapolis are looking for innovative ways to preserve and to grow fine arts education when facing tight budgets.

What does MMSD do?

For the 5th spring, elementary strings are at risk. Superintendent Rainwater is proposing to eliminate elementary strings - to cut Grade 4 strings next year and Grade 5 strings the following year. NO other high demand, highly valued academic course is targeted in next year’s budget - NONE.

Hundreds of students, parents, teachers and community members understand the value of this course for young children and have shown their public support for this course before the School Board each spring. We need to remind the new School Board, once again, of the value of this course – to our students’ growth and achievement, to our community.


Enrollment Doubled - In the 1990s, course enrollment doubled to slightly more than 2,000 students – at the same time the low income and minority elementary student population increased. Approximately 50% of 4th and 5th graders elect to participate in elementary strings.

Low Income Enrollment Grew – Over time, low-income enrollment in elementary strings has grown. This year, the percentage of low-income children enrolled in Grade 4 strings is higher than the percentage of low-income children in that grade enrolled in the district. No other private/public organization in Madison teaches 550+ low-income children how to play an instrument at a higher level and to perform in ensembles.

You Can Help:
Speak to the School Board – bring signs, play your instrument
When: Tuesday, May 9, 2006 – 6:30 p.m., Memorial High School Auditorium [map]

Write to the School Board – - and ask them

  1. to reject the Superintendent’s proposal as inadequate, and
  2. to work with Madison by forming a community fine arts committee to address fine arts educations issues, such as strings, so kids can get the personal and academic benefits of fine arts education.

Five years of targeting strings is unacceptable, short-sighted and goes against a) what the research shows strings does for children’s growth, development and academic achievement, b) what’s being done in other areas in MMSD, and b) what the community values for our children’s education.

For more information, email:

Posted by at May 2, 2006 8:14 AM
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