Over the past 4 years, the Allentown SD has greatly reduced its music programs, cutting related arts teachers as a short sighted solution to a budget crisis. Over 1/4 of staff has been lost over 4 years. At the middle schools, that's a 50% reduction in long standing arts programs that children need. One classroom music teacher is stretched to cover two middle schools. Some middle school students won't have music class all year. A school's curriculum should reflect what a community values, and our city leaders tell us that the arts are a centerpiece in Allentown's "rebirth." So, why aren't the arts just as important at our city public schools? The reality is quite the opposite, and children who attend city schools are being short-changed.
Trexler MS serves approximately 1,000 students, but there are only 14 students in the orchestra. It seems like each year, that number gets smaller. The instrumental music teacher is stretched too thin, as are all ASD related arts teachers. She teaches both band and orchestra. Our small but mighty orchestra sounds terrific, but should be much bigger. I'd hate to see this program just disappear. These programs need community support, and moreTEACHERS. Arts enrichment and integration to replace certified teachers is insufficient. We need TEACHERS who connect with students, providing consistency and continuity.