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University of Texas to research Texas School music education.

The Texas Music Project has teamed up with the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin to research whether Texas school children have access to quality music education programs.

The benchmark survey is the impetus of Bruce Orr, who helped found the Texas Music Project, a nonprofit organization working to strengthen music education in Texas schools. The survey's purpose is to research how music education was being affected by a lack of funding and an increased focus on standardized testing.

The state of music education is a concern nationwide. In California, a recent study showed student participation in music dropped 46.5 percent between 1999 and 2004. The study hopes to find out whether Texas is experiencing a similar drop.

As state legislators struggle to develop a school finance plan, fine arts educators are becoming increasingly worried about staffing and budget cuts. While fine arts is a component of the state curriculum, it is not part of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, and it's not required for a school to be accredited. When budgets shrink, fine arts, along with other electives, are often the most at risk.

The UT research project will collect data on participation, teacher experience, budgets, resources, fundraising and determine whether students from various economic and ethnic backgrounds have equal access to music education. Initially, research will focus on the Austin school district but will expand next year to include school districts all over the state.
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Title Annotation:Items of Interest
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:245
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