The quality of our education system has for decades been a national challenge as we have watched the test scores of American students drop relative to their international counterparts. As Common Core, the Federal government’s latest attempt to raise education standards, takes center stage in the mid-term elections, we are reminded of the difficulty in developing and implementing a broad-based solution. For music educators, the impact has been even more onerous as most of the attention is given to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. Notwithstanding the studies that show clearly how music education can enhance a student’s performance across academic disciplines, it is often the first to have its budget reduced or eliminated altogether. Such was the case this year with the Scottsdale School District, in one of the wealthiest sections of Phoenix, which cut out music, art, and physical education due to lack of funding. There are few signs that this trend will change.
HELP IN MEETING THE CHALLENGE
For all the discouraging news of shrinking budgets for schools in general and a reduced profile for music in particular, there is hope. The impact of technology holds promise via innovative approaches that have the potential of raising student performance while actually reducing the cost per student. One-to-one computer learning, virtual and blended learning, cloud-based curricula, digital learning platforms, and other approaches are being introduced across the country. Though the results so far are mixed with respect to specific techniques, the movement is clearly in the direction of using technology for more personalized learning, more accurate assessments, and improved intervention responsiveness.
A ROLE FOR QFAME
It is into this conversation of seeking a response to the challenge that we at QFAME wish to speak. Our mission is to promote music education by conducting quality research, testing innovative teaching techniques, sponsoring academic studies, recognizing excellence in teaching, and supporting other activities that enhance the cost effective delivery of music education. We are mindful of the myriad other organizations with similar purposes and larger budgets, who will be making their own contribution. However, either by getting alongside these kindred organizations or supplementing the information base with our own research, we believe we can make a difference.
In identifying ourselves, we have incorporated the name of an innovate music education company (Quaver) that shares our desire to see music elevated to its rightful place in the profile of American elementary education. Though we are committed to serve the music education community as a whole, QuaverMusic.com has generously offered its resources, financial and material, to support our mission. As we begin to demonstrate our help in meeting the challenge facing music education, we expect to attract other partners and contributors.
We wholeheartedly support the efforts of educators and politicians to regain worldwide leadership in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But to that population of STEM-skilled citizens, we want to blend an understanding of and appreciation for music in all its culture-defining, mood-altering, behavior-modifying ways. Music brings together the head and the heart through a language that knows no boundaries – geographic or temporal. We look forward to working toward advancing music education to give tomorrow’s adult the ability to learn and to love this universal language. We welcome any and all individuals and organizations who share our passion for music education and wish to join us in advancing its role in our children’s academic and cultural growth.
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