Despite fears that the arts have been crowded out of schools by the No Child Left Behind law’s emphasis on reading and mathematics, public high school music enrollment rates have remained flat for about three decades, according toin the Journal of Research in Music Education.
Study author Kenneth Elpus of the University of Maryland, College Park, combed through 229,830 high school transcripts from nationally representative, federal data collected in 10 different years between 1982 and 2009 to find that at least one-third of students consistently take at least one class in music prior to graduation.
During that same period, the percentage of graduating students who had taken four years of music increased, from 5 percent to 9 percent. However, rates for some minority groups, such as Hispanics, dropped after the passage of the law in 2001.
A version of this article appeared in the June 11, 2014 edition of Education Week as Arts Education