For as long as anyone can remember, school has always consisted of math, science, history, gym, art and music. However, the No Child Left Behind Act has left many schools with no choice but to leave behind art and music.
The No Child Left Behind Act is an education reform that on paper is designed to improve student’s achievements and change the culture of America’s schools by making them more accountable to their community. The Bush Administration passed the bill in early 2002 and Sen. John Kerry voted for the act, however, in his campaign he argues that Bush has not adequately funded it.
[classroom] No Child Left Behind requires each state to measure every public school student’s progress in reading and math from grades 3 through 12, placing a new emphasis on science, math and reading in the curriculum. Parents receive detailed report cards on schools and districts, telling them which ones are succeeding and why. These report cards break down students’ achievement by race, ethnicity, gender, language, proficiency, migrant status, disability status and low-income status. If a school if found to be lacking in certain core areas, the district must use their federal funding to make the needed improvements, which poorer, often urban, schools can’t afford. This has lead to many districts cutting spending on music and art education.[kid]
“Children need more well-rounded education. It needs to be more leveled by having each one,” Katie Mirjah, a child development junior, said.
To some people, these cuts have a deeper meaning- especially to college students who want to be teachers. “I agree with the No Child Act, but cutting out music and art…kids need that,” elementary education junior Tanisha Sherrer said. “It was important for me while I was in elementary through high school to have art and music. I always knew I wanted to teach, having arts and music helped me meet my curriculum.”
With the cuts being made to music and art programs in public schools, parents and children are looking to alternatives to fill the void. The MSU Community Music School is one of these alternatives that offer a chance for children to learn or improve in an area of music such as piano, strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, jazz and guitar. Children can also join programs like Voice Carillon, composition and theory and choir, and there is even a program of early childhood music for newborns and toddlers.
Bruce Taggart, acting director of the MSU Community Music School, emphasized the importance of art and music.
“Art and music are equally important as math and science. I use to be a chemistry teacher so I know the value of both. I don’t approve of the [act]. It’s a terrible oversight, and programs like art and music should be funded,” Taggart said.
Thanks to many after school art and music programs, some lucky children will not have to ex art and music out of their lives. However, the absence of art and music during regular school hours still leaves many children unable to fill the void. The No Child Left Behind Act, although it sounds good in theory, leaves out a vital aspect of a child’s development.

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