While I am not about to step into the variable debate, I agree that funding is a major problem. I work at the state level in education and am fortunate -or unfortunate - to be able to see what is occurring at many, many schools. When money isn't there the arts are the first area to be whacked. It has also become very expensive for parent. For my son's HS - middle class HS here is Alabama, I wrote a $250 check for summer band, another check for band fee, another check for uniform, -and I am sure there are more to come. Oh yeah, -while not band, I sent a check last week for $20 for allstate tryout music for choir. A lot of kids come from homes where all these expenses, plus instrument and care become out of reach for them.
It also seems that "interest" is another issue. Even where directors are available, the kids aren't lining up for band. Almost all who are playing in the band at the HS my son attends have parents who also played in band (i.e., encouraged to take band because of parents). Directors have to work very hard at recruiting members today. As in a previous post, I think part of that results from lack of exposure to "band" type instruments on TV and lack of folks to emulate. (When is the last time kids saw a famous clarinet player on TV?). Kids don't have the opportunity to see bands -other than at half time. I remember seeing a HS trumpet player (he ended up #1 ALL State) playing with a HS jazz band back when I was in 4th grade -from that moment I knew I would be a trumpet player. Still remember the song that was playing -well, actually not the name, but can play the tune.