The battle for music and arts education is not soley the province of the US. Other nations are struggling to restore once vibrant systems. This article from Isreal highlights the issue – and showcases one man's solution:
Instrumental to our future
By Noam Ben Ze'ev
Music education in Israel, a glorious field up until about two decades ago, is now in a shameful state and in danger of extinction – despite the wealth of activities ostensibly being offered to students.
If a child wants to learn music after school hours, the public institutions, such as the conservatories and the community culture centers, vie for his enrollment. If a school principal is interested in providing music lessons to pupils, a list of teachers approved by the Education Ministry and a selection of educational programs developed by private foundations and orchestras are available as well as a series of morning concerts covered by the national basket of cultural activities.
Children can sing and play in youth choirs and bands and enjoy special programs that offer scholarships and competitions for those who excel. When they grow up they can specialize in performing, composing or teaching, at local colleges and universities.
From a distance this looks like paradise, but a closer inspection reveals a frightful and withering system: The teachers – who have been studying all their lives – are the victims of exploitation, working for minimum wage under poor conditions and without job security; the conservatories are starving for lack of budgets and the financing burden on the parents' shoulders is heavier every year (it has doubled since the late 1980s); the colleges are disintegrating, music instruction hours at schools are shrinking, the academic level is declining and youth music organizations are living hand-to-mouth in uncertainty.