Somewhere along the advances of technology and the need for science, math and engineering, the importance of music was lost.
Las Positas College is going to hire five new, full time faculty members. The Faculty Hiring Prioritization Sub-Committee assessed and ranked the needs of each department to help decide whom they were going to hire. President Walthers has the ability to change as he sees fit. The committee ranked the top five as Biology/Anatomy, Theater Arts and Math I, with a tie between English and Music I.
President Walthers decided to break the tie between English and Music in favor of English, despite the fact that there are already 10 full time English teachers and only one full time music teacher at LPC. He continued to bump Music lower and move Business from seventh ranking to fifth, deciding that it’s best to hire a Business faculty member.
“We have raised a substantial amount of money (and continue to do so) by explaining to the community our critical need to fund bottleneck courses and courses that lead to transfer or job skills,” Walthers said.
Since Proposition 30 was passed, none of the music classes were dropped. That stops it from getting worse but doesn’t help make it better. During times of financial depression, and since every department in the school is in desperate need of more help, music and art programs often get pushed aside so schools can prioritize their attention on their technical programs.
“I feel distraught,” Cindy Rosefield, LPC’s only full time music teacher, said. “ I do have to say that President Walthers made it a point to talk to me in person about his decision and rationale, and again I thank him for doing it in person, but I don’t agree with it.”
But many studies from schools such as Harvard and Carnegie have proved that music helps improve academic scores and the learning process. In places like Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands, where music classes are mandatory, are found some of the highest math and science test scores.
The school has a process that they follow. They ranked the department needs, but music was pushed lower and lower in order to keep up the image of the schools that’s projected into the community, a school that focuses on solid CTE (Career/Tech education).
“I did not know that this was a tech college. I thought this was a community college where we’re suppose to offer a well-rounded, transferable education,” Rosefield said.