The California Music Project Teacher Training Program as an intervention in poverty and income inequality
Ireland D'Ambrosio, Kara Elizabeth
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This dissertation examined the California Music Project Teacher Training Program, which was designed to address inequities of music education in high poverty schools, support music teachers so they remained in those schools, and encourage preservice music teachers to build personal and professional capacity for work in under-resourced school environments. I viewed CMP within a broader framework of income inequality that directly impacted children, families and neighborhoods, and through those mechanisms indirectly impacted school functions and educational attainment for children. In light of a body of research on interventions in poverty and income inequality designed to stabilize school operations and thus improve children's educational attainment, I framed CMP as a similar intervention, designed to stabilize music programs and music teaching in the San Jose area. The San Jose site of CMP thus became the case of interest and I sought a broad cross-section of mentors and fellows associated with that site to inform the research. Data analysis revealed two systemic impacts on CMP schools: 1) California had low per-pupil spending overall, and in some CMP schools, per pupil spending was lower than the state average; and 2) most CMP schools were required to provide remedial instruction for large numbers of students. Due to budgetary pressures from remedial programs, there were few funds available for music programs, and due to the many students who needed remedial instruction in CMP schools, overall music enrollment was low, yet class sizes were large. The mentors were sustained in several ways by having fellows who helped in their music classrooms; however, mentors did not attribute their longevity to CMP, and several CMP mentors left their teaching positions in under-resourced schools. Prior to 2012, most fellows initially became employed as music teachers in under-resourced schools, but only a few remained in those positions.