As policymakers plan for school reopening in the fall, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation has joined over 50 national music and arts organizations in a statement that supports an arts education for all students.
In the statement, “Arts Education Is Essential,” the signing organizations, including the Country Music Association (CMA) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) convey that the arts have already played a pivotal and uplifting role during the health crisis, and that arts education can help all students, including those who are in traditionally underrepresented groups, as students return to school next year.
“Arts Education Is Essential” speaks to arts education’s role in supporting the social and emotional well-being of students, an area that administrators, educators, and parents have highlighted as essential to student safety and success during the pandemic and as students return to school, whether in-person, online, or in a blended fashion, this fall. Arts education also creates a welcoming school environment and a healthy and inclusive school community, helping students, educators, parents, and the community-at-large build and strengthen their connectedness during this time of social isolation and social distancing.
The statement also reminds the public that arts education is a part of a well-rounded education as defined by the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and supported in state laws throughout the country. Forty-six states require an arts credit to receive a high school diploma, and 43 states have instructional requirements in the arts in elementary and secondary schools.
“It is vitally important to advocate for music and arts education now, as school districts and states begin to undertake the challenging task of planning the 2020–2021 school year,” said Mary Luehrsen, director of public affairs for NAMM. “We need to remind policymakers at all levels, from state legislatures to school boards, that the arts are part of a complete and well-rounded education that every student regardless of background must receive. Music and the arts are part of the solution as schools address the learning needs of students now and in the months ahead.”
NAMM has been helping music educators adjust to the new COVID-19 realities and now, preparing for the return to school in the fall. Advocacy and support efforts include:
- Dozens of high-quality professional development webinars, featuring ways in which to teach music successfully in a virtual setting, as well as additional resources to support standards-based music instruction.
- Instrument hygiene guidelines in partnership with the NAfME and the National Federation of State High School Associations, explaining how instruments can be safely returned and cleaned for use next school year.
- A public advocacy campaign to support federal funds to backfill state education budget shortfalls. More than 10,000 participants have signed on to voice their support to Congress, urging our lawmakers to support public education.
The music and arts education community have been active during this pandemic to provide administrators, educators, and other stakeholders guidance and support, as well as forward-thinking planning for music educators and district arts supervisors to take the lead as school districts make plans for the next school year. In any decision about how school districts will operate in the next and future school years, music and arts education will be essential in providing all students equitable educational opportunities that also continue to prepare them for an ever-changing world. Music and the arts are at the heart of learning for all students.
Arts organizations signing on to the statement include Afterschool Alliance; American Choral Directors Association; American Composers Forum; American Orff-Schulwerk Association; American String Teachers Association; Americans for the Arts; Barbershop Harmony Society; Carnegie Hall; Casio America Inc.; Chorus America; CMA Foundation; College Band Directors National Association; Conn-Selmer, Inc.; D’Addario Foundation; Eastman Music Company; Education Through Music; Educational Theatre Association; Give a Note Foundation; Hal Leonard; Historically Black Colleges and Universities National Band Directors’ Consortium; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Jazz Education Network; KHS America; KORG, USA; League of American Orchestras; Little Kids Rock
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation; Music for All; Music Teachers National Association; National Art Education Association; National Association for Music Education; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Coalition for Core Arts Standards; National Dance Education Organization; National Education Association; National Federation of State High School Associations; National YoungArts Foundation; Organization of American Kodály Educators; Quadrant Research; QuaverEd; Recording Academy; Save The Music Foundation; State Education Agency Directors of Arts Association; The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation; United Sound, Inc.; Varsity Performing Arts; West Music Company; WURRLYedu; Yamaha Corporation of America; Young Audiences Arts for Learning; and YOUnison.
To add your voice to this statement, your organization can sign on to the statement by emailing Essential@nafme.org.