BSD: Guarantee Quality Music Instruction for Every Student, Every Day

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Robin Carr
Robin Carr signed this petition

Traducción al español y más información disponible en: http://www.musiceducationmatters.org/wordpress/?p=1625

We the undersigned are supporters of a complete education that includes quality K-12 music instruction guaranteed to every student in the Beaverton School District.  We are petitioning the district to: 

Los abajo firmantes apoyamos una educación completa que incluye instrucción de música de calidad K-12 garantizada a todos los estudiantes en el Distrito Escolar de Beaverton. Estamos solicitando al distrito que:

  • Immediately reinstate the cut music positions at Cedar Park, Five Oaks & Whitford and offer choir curriculum at all middle schools by September 2019.
  • Reincorpore de inmediato las posiciones de recorte de música en Cedar Park, Five Oaks & Whitford y ofrezca un plan de estudios de coro en todas las escuelas intermedias para septiembre de 2019.
  • Guarantee daily band and choir curriculum and full time directors at all middle schools by 2020-21.
  • Garantizar el currículo diario de banda y coro y directores a tiempo completo en todas las escuelas intermedias para el 2020-21.
  • Create and fill a full time Music Administrator position by 2020-21.
  • Crear y llenar un puesto de administrador de música a tiempo completo para 2020-21.
  • Implement the recommendations of the 2014 BSD Music Task Force in full. 
  • Implementar las recomendaciones del BSD 2014 Music Task Force en su totalidad.

If you are a current or future BSD student or parent please note your neighborhood school in the comment area when you sign. BSD alumni, community or other connections please make a note in the comment area as well. 

Background: On June 25th, the Beaverton School District announced severe and unexpected cuts to music programs at 3 of 8 neighborhood middle schools and the district Fine Arts Coordinator position was cut in half. This happened after months of public budget meetings where dozens of music advocates were present and specific cuts to music were never mentioned.  It is a complete surprise with no plan in place to restore the programs, and it is coming after years of failure to fully implement the recommendations of the 2014 BSD Music Task Force.  

The staffing and scheduling cuts to Cedar Park Band, Cedar Park Choir, Five Oaks Band & Whitford Band will be devastating to those programs.  Student experience will be dramatically impacted by going from daily music classes to every-other-day and reducing instruction time by 90+ minutes per week.  Directors will straddle two schools and be responsible for teaching up to twice the number of students, with up to half the seat time, and without significant additional compensation or support. Our schools will struggle to retain quality directors under these conditions.  Without a successful experience, students may drop out before they reach high school, and treasured high school music programs will be effected.

The Music Status Report of 2013 (written by John Benham and sponsored by Beaverton Friends of Music) established the need for a Music Administrator.  This same need was identified by the district’s own Music Task Force in 2014.  The district allowed only a Teacher on Special Assignment with the promise of upgrading it to Administrator in a few years, then extended the duties to all of Fine Arts in 2015, and now the post has been cut in half. This cut greatly impacts the K-12 music program by reducing oversight and taking away a lifeline of support for programs right when they’re reeling from a massive cut. The Fine Arts Coordinator (TOSA) position was already charged with supporting 140 teachers in all 53 BSD neighborhood schools, and is now expected to complete the same work in half the time time without significant additional compensation or support.

Random cuts like this took place around the district in 2012, then again in 2015 at Mountain View. After that cut, the Mountain View community worked tirelessly for 4 years to see their director returned to full-time. This year, it’s finally happened, but the bottom is now falling out at 3 other schools including Whitford, where 30% of students were enrolled in band last year. You heard that right – the district is *adding* music staff at some schools while taking it away at others. Which kids win and which kids lose? It all depends on where they happen to live. This is not equitable.

Beaverton Friends of Music has spent the last seven years working with every level of district administration and the School Board to communicate our values and offer solutions to the inequity in the existing music programs. Other school districts around the state have found successful, equitable solutions to managing course scheduling, staffing, and program oversight, but students in Beaverton continue to suffer due to a lack of commitment to implementing the District Music Task Force's own recommendations over several years of community engagement and support.  We’re now going from 6 of 8 middle schools with daily band to 3 of 8 with daily band, and we’re going from 2 of 8 middle schools with daily choir down to only one with daily choir.  Three of our middle schools still have absolutely NO CHOIR offered.  This is unacceptable.  

Right now, music directors are being transferred around as they’re bumped from their positions.  Making matters more confusing, there will be music staffing increases at two of the schools that are not experiencing cuts. This doesn’t make sense.

The School Board and Superintendent have been well aware of the persistent inequities and have as yet failed to correct course. This week’s senseless cuts prove the problem is being systematically ignored. The BSD Strategic Plan pledges to expect excellence, embrace equity, innovate, and collaborate.  District leaders must be held accountable by our community.  No more excuses. No more waiting. No more stealing music education from our kids. We are invested in our schools, and we expect Leadership.

Beaverton Friends of Music (BFoM)

More details and history at http://www.musiceducationmatters.org