As policymakers and school administrators are reviewing school opening options for the forthcoming school year, the CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), has lent its voice to support the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and 53 national organizations in a unified statement that advocates for an arts education for all students. View the full list of organizations that have joined the appeal below.
“It is crucial that we prioritize music and arts education in school curriculums,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director and CMA Vice President, Community Outreach. “More than ever before, music is providing inspiration and support to carry students, teachers and parents through the immense uncertainty we’re experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes as no surprise that music is thriving in virtual learning settings. It is imperative to recognize the importance of arts education and its impact on the development of youth during this time, so that students around the country can be provided with the well-rounded education they deserve.”
In the statement, “Arts Education Is Essential,” the signing organizations convey that the arts have already played a pivotal and uplifting role during the current health crisis, and that arts education can help all students, including those who are in traditionally underrepresented groups, as students return to school this fall.
“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. 46 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.
NAfME has been helping music educators prepare for the return to school in the fall. Advocacy and support efforts include:
- A “Music Education and Social-Emotional Learning” brochure, outlining how music education can support quality social-emotional learning outcomes for students.
- Instrument hygiene guidelines in partnership with the NAMM Foundation and the National Federation of State High School Associations, explaining how instruments can be safely returned and cleaned for use next school year.
- 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.
- A public advocacy campaign to support federal funds to backfill state education budget shortfalls. More than 10,000 letters have been sent to Congress, urging our lawmakers to support public education.
- A forthcoming guide to school reopening plans, featuring how music can be taught safely and effectively to students both in-person and virtually next school year.
The music and arts education community has 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 a 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.
Organizations that have joined the “Arts Education Is Essential” appeal 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
- Holland’s Opus Foundation
- Music for All
- Music Teachers National Association
- NAMM Foundation
- 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
- 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
- Yamaha Corporation of America
- Young Audiences Arts for Learning
To add your voice to this statement, your organization can sign on to the statement by emailing Essential@nafme.org.
About the CMA Foundation
Established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the CMA Foundation is committed to improving and sustaining high-quality music education programs across the United States, working to ensure every child has the opportunity to participate in music. Through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has invested more than $27 million across the national public school system, after school programs, summer camps and community outreach organizations. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, proceeds from CMA Fest, the four-day long music festival held annually in Nashville, are used to power the CMA Foundation’s social impact and unique model of giving.
For more information about the CMA Foundation, visit CMAfoundation.org.