Despite the overwhelming sentiment against them, Anne Arundel County school board members stood their ground yesterday, voting to double the time sixth-graders spend in reading classes next year even though it means less time for art and music courses.
The board voted 7-1, with President Paul G. Rudolph opposed, to transform language arts into two periods a day with the hope that the action will reverse the trend of falling reading performance in middle school.
"Our students need this," said board member Tony Spencer. "I wish there was some other way."
Nearly all of the 20 parents, pupils and musicians who faced the board yesterday deeply disapproved of the proposal, which will mean two or three elective courses for sixth-graders instead of the five. They worry that the result will be the end of some thriving electives, many of them courses that give pupils the creative outlets they need.