Secondary school reform represents a vitally important topic. In the early twenty-first century, the major goal was helping all students reach high academic standards. This has yielded a number of innovative programs that attempt to balance students’ personal and academic needs. Effective curricula include core learning in discrete academic subjects, increased foreign languages, interdisciplinary courses, and alternative assessment approachesi. The foundational skills of reading and writing are garnering more attention at the secondary level in all content area classes.
Along with high standards, public schools must meet the needs of all students and provide an appropriate education for students with many diverse needs. Inclusion of students with disabilities requires schools to rethink the way classes are tracked and how services are provided to students who have difficulty in the school environment. Co-teaching arrangements, which allow subject area specialists to work with trained special educators in the same classroom, constitute one approach to meeting diverse needs. Some research indicates that smaller high schools are better settings for meeting adolescent needs and helping students reach their full academic potential. In an attempt to break down large comprehensive high schools, a number of options are being tried. Small school alternatives include schools-within-schools and parallel schools sharing the same physical space with distinct missions and programsii. Some large high schools separate students by grade level into separate wings.
Music Education Thesis
Along with having high standards in core subjects and other areas, the arts and aesthetic programs are either brought along with it, ignored, or stomped out. Depending on the view of the community and the school administration, the arts programs, especially music programs, can suffer from this increase in expectations. It is up to music educators of today and the future to continue to, in some area, fight tooth and nail for our subject’s justification in the school curricula. In other areas, the expectations are brought up in the music program with the other core subjects.
Flexible scheduling is used so that students and teachers can have enough time for a variety of instructional strategies and more personalized interactions. Block scheduling, one form of flexible scheduling, has increased class time. These larger blocks allow teachers to use a variety of teaching strategies and provide time for differentiating instruction to meet specific student needs. But, in opposite light, block scheduling can harm the music program. While block scheduling essentially adds another hour to your schedule, that schedule only happens every other school day. So, every other week, students are possibly going three to four days without being in the music classroom.
Crime and violence in secondary schools garner extensive media attention. Many schools are attempting to circumvent alienated youth through social and emotional intelligence programs, organizational structures, and increased surveillanceiii. Crime prevention in schools has risen as crime has risen in secondary school. Ever since the school shootings in Columbine, Minnesota, and Virginia, crime prevention in secondary schools have brought out metal detectors, heightened security, and a tension within the school body. While this is not supposed to affect classrooms, the fact is that is does in some cases. Research has it that some schools are implying a security guard or police to each classroom. This can raise tension in a room, but could also be seen as a preventive method to misbehavior.
The idea of where school is physically happening has also come into light. In some areas, state-supported academies for gifted students have been established. Charter schools attempt to meet the needs of a diverse group of students by forming a specific vision and plan outside of the ordinary. Technology may also play a role in the place and mode of secondary instruction as distance learning becomes more popular. Secondary schools continue to experiment with a variety of ways to meet the social, intellectual, personal, and vocational needs of students.
There is always change within the realm of education, and especially that of music education. As the populace of teacher, instructors, and professors understand more about how a person learns and processes information, more ways to give them that information emerge. There are multiple large philosophical ideas in teaching that can be seen every decade or so in the past one hundred years. These trends lead to enlightenment and knowledge in how to deliver information and how to get that information to “stick” with however the information is intended for. These current trends within education affect music education in general.