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Program losses worry

August 5, 2012
The Mining Journal

To the Journal editor:

I am deeply concerned with recent decisions by the administrators of the Marquette Senior High School that have severely degraded the quality of music education. The choral program has been reduced by 75 percent and the marching band is on its way to becoming a thing of the past.

There may be other cuts that are being planned, but it's impossible to know with any certainty because there is no communication to the public from anyone in the Marquette Area Public Schools administration as to their intentions regarding the future of the school music program.

We can all appreciate the need to make budget cuts due to reduced school funding. At the last MAPS board meeting I went to, the 2012-2013 budget was laid out and approved. What is very unclear, and what no one seems to be speaking publicly about, is how this reduced funding is actually going to translate into changes in the curriculum and educational services.

After being raised in Marquette and being involved in the MSHS music program, I eventually went on to join the military where I now serve as a commander of a U.S. Army band. I have personally seen time and time again the higher levels of discipline, work ethic, resiliency and aptitude for learning in the band soldiers over their peers in other branches.

The bottom line is that music education can improve the lives of young people in very tangible ways. The impact of music education is a global one that will have a significant positive impact on everything else a child strives to achieve.

I call on the MAPS board to fully explain there recent actions with regard to the MSHS music department and outline their plans for future support of this vital area. Clearly there is an urgent need for much more transparency is needed in these and other budget-cutting administrative decisions

Parents and the entire Marquette community have a right to know the real implications of changes to the education of their children.

I further charge the MAPS board to look seriously at ways to reduce inefficiency and unnecessary spending in order to apply more funds to its core mission of providing a full spectrum of quality education to our young people.

Jeffry Larson




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