Erica's Policy

Erica Peter
Policy Paper

All throughout Iowa, music programs are deteriorating. The State continues to make budget cuts against the art and music programs, forcing schools to not require a fine arts credit. Music plays such a vital role in our learning process. It can stimulate memories and can make us feel a range of emotions. With this policy, the music programs in our Sioux City Community Schools will receive more funding and teachers to help keep music alive within our homes.
Currently, the students within the Sioux City Community Schools are only required to take one Fine Arts credit in high school for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years. Beyond those two years, students will not be required to take any fine arts credit; whereas, students in grades K-6 are required to take not just any fine arts, but both art and music classes.
Curriculums across the state have put an emphasis on the Math and Science programs and have cut back on the Music programs. What many people do not realize is that music increases not only a students math and science skills, but it also increases their reading skills. The College Board took a survey that showed that students that took four years of art or music in high school scored 103 points higher on their SAT tests in Critical Thinking and Mathematics than students who had taken one-half year or less of art or music classes.
With these findings, we can establish that music is vital in a students learning process, which is why we are proposing a policy for the Sioux City Community School District. If this policy proves successful, it will be spread throughout the state of Iowa and later through the nation. In order for this policy to take place proper funding must be established. As it stands, music programs are funded through property taxes. To release the burden of higher property taxes, we have created a new tax called the Education Tax. There are about 59,215 taxpayers within Sioux City, so when people in the Sioux City area file their taxes, five dollars will be taken out for the Education Tax. In order to fulfill the roughly $1, 544,066 needed, the tax will gradually take place over six years. This will give the city about $1,766,450.00 for the program to take place. The amount of funds will be determined by the school size, the amount of students attending the school, and the number of ensembles within the school. Each high school will receive two full time staff, one choral director and one instrumental director. Every other school will receive one full time staff until more funding can be established.
Within those six years, each school will create a Music Boosters. This team of people will be responsible for creating fundraisers for any extra funding needed by the school, setting up individual music student accounts, and will sponsor activities within and outside the school. This Music Boosters Team will meet twice a month, at the schools convenience.
To ensure maximum academic possibility for students within the Sioux City Community School system, graduation requirements will be changed to students being required to take two fine arts credits before graduation. This will change gradually from required to take no fine arts credits to two within four years. Each individual school will determine the amount of ensembles within their school. Yearly inspections will be made by the Iowa Department of Education to ensure that everything is taking place smoothly within our school systems.
Every policy has their flaws, in which will be addressed during this time. In regards to the new tax, to insure that property taxes were not raised any more, a new tax had to be created to provide the means necessary for this policy to take place. As far as the new graduation requirements, it has been proven that the arts stimulate a person’s brain to create higher test scores not only in math and critical thinking, but also in reading and comprehension.

Works Cited:
Sioux City Community Schools. (2007). Financial Report Data Definitions [Brochure]. Sioux City, IA: Sioux City Community Schools.

Americans for The Arts. (2006). Art Students Out Perform Non Art Students on SAT The College Board SAT.

Iowa Department of Education, (2006). Total Graduation Requirements. Retrieved February 27, 2008, from http://www.iowa.gov/educate/

City of Sioux City, (2000). My Home, Our Neighborhood, Everybody’s Hometown . Retrieved February 24, 2008, from Section 2: State of the City Web site:http://www.siouxcity.org/custom/plncompplan/02StateofCity_final_080105.pdf

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