Best 100 Communities for Music Education. (Association News)

Article excerpt

Persevering in the face of widespread budget cuts, 100 communities in thirty states have been named the Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America for 2003. It is based on a nationwide survey that MTNA co-sponsored with the American Music Conference, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the National School Boards Association, VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Yamaha Corporation of America.

Music education faces a crisis in America, as budget cuts and a new emphasis on standardized testing threaten to marginalize arts programs. These cuts come at a time when the importance of music education is better understood than ever before. The College Entrance Examination Board found, for example, that students in music appreciation scored sixty-three points higher on verbal testing and forty-four points higher on the math than students with no arts participation.

Thousands of public school and independent teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, parents and community leaders, representing communities in all fifty states, participated in the web-based survey earlier this year.

The survey results show successful music programs are found in communities that balance measurable resources, such as budgets and buildings, with fewer tangible assets--such as the will to make quality music education a reality. The top schools for music education are found in urban communities and rural ones, in wealthy areas and not-so-wealthy ones, but the common thread is they benefit from the support of parents, teachers, school decision-makers and community leaders who value music education highly.

"The survey demonstrates that excellent music instruction is more than a process--it's a partnership," says Ingle. "Successful music programs result from the cooperative efforts of public school teachers, independent music teachers in the communities, parents, administrators--everyone who's in a position to influence students. Having physical resources isn't a cure-all. A quality musical environment is something a community must want for its young people and work together to achieve."

Of the 100 Best Communities, thirty-four were on last year's list. Those cities and school districts include the following, listed in alphabetical order.

School District Name                City              State

Bay Shore Union Free
School District                   Bay Shore             NY
Beachwood City Schools            Beachwood             OH
Berea City Schools                Berea                 OH
Brentwood Union Free
  School District                 Brentwood             NY
Buffalo ISD 877                   Buffalo               MN
Clarkstown Central
  School District                 New City              NY
Dearborn Public Schools           Dearborn              MI
Edgeley Public School             Edgeley               ND
Fargo Public Schools              Fargo                 ND
  Central Schools                 Manlius               NY
Fleetwood Area School District    Fleetwood             PA
Fulton County Schools             Atlanta               GA
Grand Forks Public
  School District #1              Grand Forks           ND
Greater Johnstown
  School District                 Johnstown             NY
Harborfields Central
  School District                 Greenlawn             NY
Henrico County Public Schools     Richmond              VA
Jericho Union Free
  School District                 Jericho               NY
Katy Independent
  School District                 Katy                  TX
Lombard School District 44        Lombard               IL
Madison Public Schools            Madison               NJ
Middle Country Central
  School District                 Centereach            NY
Monroe Public Schools             Monroe                MI
Nevada Community
  School District                 Nevada                IA
Northport-East Northport UFSD     Northport             NY
Oak Park Elementary
  School District 97              Oak Park              IL
Osage County R-II                 Linn                  MO
Ossining Union Free
  School District                 Ossining              NY
Pennsbury School District         Fallsington           PA
Pittsford Central Schools         Pittsford             NY
Richardson lSD                    Richardson            TX
Roanoke County Public Schools     Roanoke               VA
State College Area
  School District                 State College         PA
Syosset Central School District   Syosset               NY
Torrington School District        Torrington            CT


For the complete list of communities and schools, go to www. …