Music program marching on
Since we have taught in Douglas County schools for more than 25 years, we have had first-hand experience with the music program, and with those who have been teachers and leaders. We have nothing but praise for what these dedicated musicians have done to bring music appreciation and performance experiences for students at all educational levels. We commend the School District for maintaining the program at a time when many districts across the nation have dropped music education due to budget constraints and shifting priorities. Our sons benefitted from music, band, and chorus opportunities when they were students and we hope that future students will be given similar experiences. Therefore, we were surprised and disappointed to read the statements made by School Board Member Sharla Hales at a recent board meeting where she said, “ I don’t think we have a quality (music) program.” She also stated that she was unwilling to be specific regarding what she felt the problems were or what actions the board should take to remedy them. The effect of her blanket criticism of the program demoralizes all of those who are currently teaching or leading music groups throughout the District. Without being specific about the perceived shortcomings, and given her position on the board, the entire music program and those who are a part of it must feel unsupported and are now publicly suspect for not providing a “quality” program for our students.
We believe the board should take an interest in providing support for the music program and to take steps to improve it if needed. However, we also believe that the board should first investigate the programs, interview staff, students, and parents, identify specific areas of concern, and propose solutions that will lead to an improved program for all Douglas County students. Ms. Hales’ general condemnation accomplishes neither support nor leadership for a program that has survived budget cuts and recent personnel changes but is still educating students every day to appreciate and participate in music.
Mike and Meredith Jessup