Educational policy and instrumental music finding: teachers' perceptions of how No Child Left Behind and the economic recession have affected instrumental music programs in Massachusetts public schools
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The purpose of this study was to determine what effects, if any, No Child Left Behind, and the economic downturn starting in 2008, had on the staffing, scheduling, instructional time, and funding of Massachusetts' public school instrumental music programs between 2002 and 2009. This study also attempted to document some of the anecdotal evidence on the state of instrumental music programs in Massachusetts. It was theorized that NCLB and the economy had some effect on instrumental music programs. The study employed a survey design in order to investigate instrumental music teachers' and music, fine arts, and performing arts directors' perceptions of these changes, if any. A researcher-designed questionnaire was sent to instrumental music teachers and directors to gather data on the staffing, scheduling, instructional time, and funding of their programs. Closed and open-ended response items were used to gather the data. The questionnaire was distributed via email over three weeks yielding 81 usable responses. One-sample t-tests were used to determine the statistical difference in the means for staffing levels, the number of students enrolled, and instructional minutes between the 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 school years. Data from the open-response items was coded and analyzed to determine the respondents' perceptions of changes to their programs. The findings demonstrated statistically significant changes in staffing levels between the two years in question. Changes in the number of instructional minutes were statistically significant at the elementary and high school levels, but not at the middle school level. The effect of standardized testing on instructional minutes was also statistically significant at the middle and high school levels. NCLB and the economy affected funding of instrumental music. The number of districts collecting fees for instrumental programs increased significantly between the two years. Money was increasingly directed away from music programs to fund reading and math positions. Funding cuts affected staffing, class sizes, and equipment purchases. Recommendations for application of these findings and suggestions for further research are included.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University