Home > Uncategorized > Motown Sound a Legacy of Detroit Public Schools… Alas, Standardized Tests Do Not Promote the Same Level of Creativity

Motown Sound a Legacy of Detroit Public Schools… Alas, Standardized Tests Do Not Promote the Same Level of Creativity

November 13, 2020

Writing for JStor, a weekly blog that provides interesting slants on history and contemporary culture, Livia Gershon describes the role music education played in the early days of Motown records. I was somewhat surprised and pleased to read that Martha Reeves, the lead singer for the Vandellas, cut her teeth on Handel as a high school student… and glad to see that the Detroit schools provided a means for talented young performers to share their talents in popular music— unlike the suburban junior high school I attended in the early 1960s that was disdainful of anything that was written by anyone in the 20th Century.

Sadly the push to use standardized test scores as the primary metric for schools is driving out high quality music programs from urban schools except for magnet schools whose attendance is limited to “gifted and talented” students in music and the arts. Music education in Detroit Public Schools left a lasting positive legacy. The legacy of standardized test scores, though, is shameful.

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