On Thursday, May 19, the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) hosted the 5th annual Stand Up for Music Education Advocacy Day at the California legislature. Stand Up for Music is a coalition of California music education organizations and associations ranging from the Northern California Band Directors Association to the Music Association of California Community Colleges. Under the leadership of CMEA, these organizations come together to advocate for quality, sequential music education in California’s K-12 public schools, taught by highly qualified music educators. CMEA also welcomes non-music members to the Coalition, partnering with the state’s K-12 arts education service organizations in dance, theatre and visual arts. Leaders from all these three disciplines attended and spoke at Thursday’s Press Conference.
While the advocacy coalition began their work at the state capitol 5 years ago talking about the importance of music education with state legislative leadership, in the last two years the coalition has come to the capitol with specific legislative asks, working under the leadership of their state Legislative Advocate, Lynne Faulks. The 2016 legislative asks are:
- Support passage of Assembly Bill 2862. AB 2862 requires California to update and revise the Visual and Performing Arts standards for students in Grades Pre-K-12. The last adoption of standards for the Visual and Performing Arts was fifteen years ago in 2001. The bill is currently on “suspense” in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Thanks to the good work of Thursday’s advocates, CMEA is hopeful that the bill will move forward at the end of the month when the Appropriations Committee determines which bills with costs attached (including AB 2862) continue to move forward in the legislative process.
- Support passage of Senate Bill 916. SB 916 would create teacher certification or licensing credentials for California’s theatre and dance teachers. Part of the coalition’s work to support high-quality, sequential, rigorous learning on all the arts, SB 916 would put dance and theatre educators on par with other content teachers in California. Interestingly, only two states do NOT currently have dance and theatre certification – West Virginia and California.
Photo: California Music Educators Association
Shown: El Camino High School Pep Band; Director: Kevin Glaser
Highlights of the 2016 Stand Up 4 Music Education Advocacy Day in Sacramento include:
- 65 participants advocating with state leadership and legislators that day – the largest group so far.
- A thorough morning briefing for all participating advocates at the California Teachers Association offices.
- Performances by student ensembles in the capitol rotunda and on the steps of the North Capitol –a half day Concerts at the Capitol program.
- A press conference panel including Superintendent Cindy Marten of San Diego Unified School District, the nation’s 8th largest school district and 2nd largest in California, speaking passionately about the importance of music education for all children
- The inclusion of music industry supporters. For the first time, the Stand Up for Music Education Advocacy day included 12 advocates from California’s $3 billion music industry, including the National Association of Music Merchant’s (NAMM’s) President and CEO, Joe Lamond.
Lynn Tuttle, Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, May 27, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)