Cincinnati Schools have recently endured an increased number of teacher and staff layoffs. The changes being made are noticeably affecting the function of schools; many parents have perceived the losses and been able to pinpoint the changes these departures have made in the Cincinnati Schools. Before teachers, other workers in Cincinnati Schools are considered for layoff and the absence of these much-needed classroom helpers has had a debilitating impact on the learning environments.
After careful budget examination in previous years, the district has made efforts to save money and escape its financial difficulties. The budget, which rang in at a resounding $428.6 million, was seen as unacceptable. Cincinnati Schools have since been exposed to radical changes. Spending efforts have been seriously scrutinized and it has been determined that $39 million of the general budget needs to be saved. $39 million would total 9 percent of the overall budget and give the Cincinnati Schools a considerably healthier budget.
Schools officials are taking the brunt of the force when it comes to layoffs. Conditions are brutal as these teacher’s assistants, cafeteria monitors, and special-education aides are lost to the systems. Cincinnati Schools are experiencing increased mayhem in the larger classrooms where these aides were particularly needed. Keeping the order often becomes a dual effort of both teacher and assistant in a room full of thirty children. Cincinnati Schools in particular have large classrooms and utilized the position of classroom aide to benefit a structured learning environment.
Unfortunately, the layoffs in Cincinnati Schools are seriously impacting the students in other ways. While the absence of teachers’ aides may prove to be an incredible inconvenience, it pales in comparison to the shocking neglect that the music departments in Cincinnati Schools are now facing. Schools are returning instruments and losing their music programs in general as music teachers are considered for lay off as well. The VH1 Save the Music Foundation has given $1 million in instruments to 39 schools but will no longer fund band unless a school has hired a certified music teacher. This kind of selectivity will serve to injure the student public educational experience. The arts are being disregarded as unimportant in the Cincinnati School budget reconfiguration and the effects are devastating.
Studies support the existence of a strong connection between arts courses and academic achievement. These studies point especially to the dramatic improvement in student math scores when music is placed into the curriculum. Over time, the more that music and math are studied along side one another, the more elevated the math scores become. Comparatively, students who did study music scored 61 points higher on the math section of the SAT and 63 points higher on the verbal than did students who were never exposed to music courses in their time at school. This shocking statistic, provided by the 2001 College Bound Seniors National Report, should give Cincinnati Schools’ District Officials a pause as they consider which programs and instructors to cut next from their places of learning.