Pro V. Con: Harsh chorus changes restrict members

This is the con argument on the effects of the new chorus class on students. To read the pro click here.

Besides gaining new teacher Julie Parrish, Chorus had two main changes this year. First, the class itself was moved from before school to after school. Second, the grading changed from pass/fail to a percentage-based letter grade.

Alone, each change is reasonable. Yes, the after-school time slot allows more practice time and lets bus-riders and others who couldn’t get to school early join chorus. Yes, as a teacher of an official class, Parrish has full authority to whatever grading policies she wants to use. However, when combined, the two major changes restrict Chorus members drastically.

Why were all sports practices pushed back to 3:30 in the first place? Why does the bus leave at 3:30 now? According to an email sent to parents by Principal Madelyn Ball on July 13, “All students should have the opportunity to meet with teachers, participate in clubs and activities, and even meet with classmates on projects, research, etc.” So why does the administration turn around and ensure that Chorus members have only one day a week in which to fit these meetings, projects, and other clubs? The same space which has been given to athletes and bus-riders, specifically, has been taken away from Chorus members. The bus leaves at 3:30, sports start at 3:30, and other factors such as parents’ work schedules or homework load prevent students from staying past 3:30, so Chorus members cannot be expected to stay later to participate in extracurricular activities.

On top of that, the new grading policies penalize students for missing class for other activities. This makes sense, but, given that anyone who participates in an extracurricular on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday will occasionally have to miss a Chorus practice, the students’ grades actually suffer if they participate in other activities. At each practice, the student earns two points: one for being prepared (and present) and another for participation.

Chorus as a class in an extracurricular time slot just doesn’t work. If Chorus is supposed to be treated more like a class than a club, it needs to go into the school day like every other class. This would allow students to join without sacrificing their other interests. It also incorporates Chorus more fully into the music department, since band class is during the school day. Chorus would retain the 40 minute time practice length and the percentage grade that make it a productive class. Chorus members should not be penalized and prevented from participating in other activities simply because they are in Chorus.

Kathy Deaver is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and