Letter to the editor: A Thriving Program — A Damaging Decision by our Board of Education

parsippany focus

lettersDear Editor:

In early May, our community found out that the Board of Education would be implementing a cut in the Music Department impacting both Middle Schools and High Schools; the cuts involve reducing the number of teachers in the program while increasing the class size for instrumental lessons for the students. Many parents and students have attended subsequent board meetings voicing their concerns and attempting to educate the Board of Education members on what is an instrumental lesson and why it cannot happen effectively in a larger class size. Testimony after testimony has brought to their attention the significant negative impact this decision will have on the music education of hundreds and hundreds our students, their future, and the overall quality and level of education offered here in the Parsippany School district (not to mention the added constraints, challenges and burdens the remaining teachers will face). For most of these students, music education is not an extracurricular activity, nor it is an “elective;” it in fact is the heart of their education and it will be the means to a successful and fulfilling future.

It is undeniable that for the past few years, our teachers and students, with the support of our community and district, have significantly raised the standards for the quality and effectiveness of the music education in our schools and that is awesome! Recent awards ceremonies affirm this with the highest levels of recognition awarded to school band ensembles, as well as numerous individual awards granted to students. One cannot begin to quantify the positive impact this gradual improvement will have in years to come for these students and our community. Yet, an immediate measurable result is the increase in the number of students who wish to and will be participating in our music programs this coming year, both at the Middle School and High School levels.

So, in summary, we are faced with a thriving music program in our schools, acclaimed at the local, state and national levels for its outstanding quality and effectiveness, along with an anticipated increase in the number of students who want to be part of this program! It is in light of this that it is so difficult to even being to understand why the ruling direction by the Board of Education is to degrade the program by cutting its resources, rather than to nurture its growth, or at least maintain the current standards.

In closing, I am deeply grateful to the selected few members of the Board of Education (especially Mr. Shamsudin and Mr. Martin) who at any point or another during these meetings made an attempt to have the remaining board members reconsider this damaging decision. I urge parents, students, teachers and community members not to give up and to continue speaking up on behalf of our students and the community at large.

Cristina Folan

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