Campus: San Francisco State University -- March 24, 2004

SFSU Experts Can Comment On Cuts To K-12 Music, Sports, P.E. Programs

Professors say exercise, music programs are imperative to children's education

San Francisco State University offers several faculty experts who can offer knowledgeable perspectives on issues surrounding cuts to sports, physical education and music programs in K-12 schools.

Earlier this month, the school board of the West Contra Costa County School District approved a plan to cut $16.5 million from its budget by ending sports programs at six high schools, closing all libraries and eliminating music programs in 39 elementary schools. No schools will have guidance counselors, and 20 elementary schools will have to share their principals.

Susan Zieff is an associate professor of kinesiology and an expert on sports and culture. She can be reached at (415) 338-6574, (415) 215-2271 or susangz@sfsu.edu.

Zieff said the elimination of high school sports would especially penalize children from low-income families who have the potential to become successful in athletics. “Cuts to high school sports tend to disproportionately affect low-income families who don’t have the financial resources to support their children in club sports or other venues that usually have a substantial cost. For some athletes, school sports are their only resource for sport participation,” Zieff said.

Carolyn Lindeman is a professor of music and member of the board of the directors of the International Society for Music Education. She is also former president of the National Association for Music Education and California Association for Music Education and former chair of the California Coalition for Music Education. Lindeman can be reached at (480) 575-9820 or lindemanc@aol.com.

“Music study should not be limited to those who can afford to study it privately. It is part of the school curriculum and needs to be made available to all students. Obviously one of the most important purposes of our schools is to transmit our cultural heritage, and music is certainly one of the most magnificent manifestations of our cultural heritage,” she said. “There is evidence that suggests performance in other subjects may be improved when music is at the core of the curriculum. The College Board reports annually that college-bound seniors with course work and participation in music score higher on the SATs than students with no course work or experience in music.”

Robyn Lock is an associate professor of kinesiology and an expert on youth fitness, physical education programs in schools and professional development for teachers. She can be reached at (415) 338-3882 (office) or rlock@sfsu.edu.

“Given the fact that obesity is at epidemic proportions in this country and that children have more body fat than their counterparts of 20 years ago, it is imperative that we instill in our children the love of movement,” Lock said. “Physical education programs have the potential to have a powerful and positive impact on children by giving them the skills, knowledge, appreciation and confidence they need to live physically active lifestyles. Investments in physical education in childhood can pay off with a healthy work force, one that will demand less from the health care system.”

Media Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665; matti@sfsu.edu


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