From the "now I have seen everything" category we have this little tidbit from the great state of Texas. Could it be that the next great threat to music and arts programs in the United States is not No Child Left Behind, or State High Stakes Tests, or increase graduation requirements, or block scheduling, or class size reduction, or the school facilities crisis… but could very well be driven by our consumption of corn syrup otherwise known as The Child Obesity Crisis?
Read and react:
A new law intended to fight childhood obesity has some arts advocates worried that music, dance and other art classes could lose ground at middle schools that are already strained by budget cuts and the pressure of high-stakes testing.
Round 1 will play out at next month's meeting of the State Board of Education.
Because of a new law that took effect in September, the 15-member body is now charged with deciding whether to require middle-school students to participate in regular physical education.
Board members expect to be swamped with e-mails, calls and speakers, much like they were when they set a physical education standard for elementary school students in 2002.
They know that any new requirement could be a blow to arts programs that have suffered financially while schools concentrate on core subjects included on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, such as math, reading and science.
"I don't want to chose between the two," said state board member Barbara Cargill, a Woodlands resident who has three middle-school-aged sons. "I want to find a place for both. Some way that's got to happen."
Carving out time for physical education is a tougher sell at middle school, where students are torn between experimenting with different electives and preparing for the TAKS.