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So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Long Beach elementary parents decide to pay for extra music education

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Parents at a Long Beach school are taking their students' music instruction into their own hands and paying for two days of music instruction per week, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram.

The move will double the amount of music instruction currently available. 

In an article published last month, the newspaper noted that the PTA at Longfellow Elementary gave $20,000 to the school for students to learn music. The money came from $45,000 that the PTA raised during an October jog-a-thon.

The article, written by Nadra Nittle, said about three-quarters of the district's students get only one day of music instruction per week. 

Longfellow Principal Laurie Murrin said that the school’s stakeholders have traditionally supported all forms of art and praised the PTA for enriching arts instruction for students. Longfellow “always had a very strong choral music program,” thanks in part to the active group of parents there, said Murrin, now in her third year as principal.

Parent-teacher associations fill the arts education gap in many schools.

Nationally, 94 percent of public elementary schools provide music instruction, according to 2009-2010 data, the most recent federal data available. Most - 83 percent of elementary schools - also offered visual arts, but only 4 percent offered dedicated drama instruction and 3 percent offered dance.

What kind of arts education instruction does your school offer? KPCC is surveying school districts in Southern California. For details, contact Mary Plummer at mplummer@kpcc.org.

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