Music Programs in Charter and Traditional Schools: A Comparative Study of Chicago Elementary Schools

Jamey Kelley*, Steven M. Demorest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Since the arrival of the first charter school in Minnesota in 1991, charter schools have become one of the largest movements in educational reform. In recent years, research has emerged that has compared the effectiveness of charter schools with their traditional school counterparts. The purpose of this study was to compare the extent of music offerings between charter schools and traditional public schools in the same urban district and geographic location within the city. Results indicated that while all schools in the sample offered significantly less music than national averages, significantly more charter schools offered music during the school day. Charter schools were more likely to offer traditional music (band, choir, orchestra) as electives. Schools with music programs, regardless of school type, had higher test scores and higher attendance rates even when controlling for differences in socioeconomic status between music and non music schools. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the charter school movement, arts education policy, and suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • access to music
  • arts policy
  • charter schools
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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