GRE Argument Essay 75

The following appeared as a letter to the editor of a local Solano newspaper.

“The Solano school district should do away with its music education programs. After all, music programs are not especially popular in our schools: Only 20 percent of our high school students participated in music programs last year. Furthermore, very few of the Solano district’s college-bound students are interested in majoring in music at the university level. Also, when the school district of our neighboring town of Rutherford eliminated its music programs two years ago, the overall grade point average in the high school increased by 10 percent the next year. Surely the money spent on Solano music programs could be better used to improve the quality of traditional academic courses.”

The author of the letter to the editor of the local Solano newspaper holds the view that music education programs carried out in the schools of its district should be discontinued. This argument is supported by baseless evidence given by the author which, according to him, prove that there is decreased interest of students in music and that music education is a waste of money. This view however, can be criticized due to its one-sided nature.

The author says that only 20 percent of students from high schools have participated in music programs last year, which is a small number according to him. However, this may not be the case. There is no comparison presented by the author of the number of students who have participated from other places in such shows. Moreover, the argument gives an account of only the most recent year and there is no record of the level of participation in the previous years. While taking a decision of discontinuing music education programs due to the low levels of participation, the percentage decline of the past years should be taken into account and not just that of the most recent year.

At the university level, students become selective of the subjects they choose. However, in high school they are not choosy. A high school should ideally offer education for all the subjects since the basis of personality and education of a student is formed here. Even if very few students from Solano’s colleges are interested in majoring in music in the university level, high schools should give them the basics of music. Due to the majority, the few students who choose music should not suffer. If music education programs are discontinued in high school, these students will not get any basic education in music, which is very important for university education.

In the argument, the author says that the overall grade point average in the high schools of neighboring Rutherford district increased by 10 points after music education programs were discontinued. However, a careful analysis of this argument brings out many unexplained questions which are vital to know before making any judgement. Firstly, it is not sure if the change brought in the high schools of Rutherford district will suit the schools of Solano or not. If discontinuing music education has proved helpful in bringing up the grades of students in Rutherford, it may not prove as successful for students of Solano district. Secondly, it is likely that along with discontinuing music education programs, the high schools of Rutherford district have introduced some other changes that have benefited the average grade point. For example, there could have been an increase in the number of teachers and a decline in the student-teacher ratio which has improved the average grades. It is likely that the teachers have been replaced by more experienced and qualified staff that works hard to improve the grades of students. These factors could have been the actual cause behind the increase in the grade point rather than discontinuing music education.

As discussed earlier, high schools form the basis of a student’s personality. It is very important to introduce all the subjects to students so that it not only helps in development of an all around personality but also helps in bringing out the inherent talent and interests. That is why music education programs are very important in high schools. It should not be taken as a waste of money, but efforts should be made to introduce things like latest music instruments etc. so that the interest of students in music is kindled. Hence, it can be seen that the author of the letter to the editor has not been thoughtful enough to present his suggestions and must give it another thought so that his way of thinking improves.