On September 22, the U.S. Congress adjourned, heading to home districts to campaign before the November 6 elections. According to the Associated Press, Congress will return November 13 to “face a crowded list of must-do items, topped by avoiding what’s been known as the fiscal cliff: the combination of George W. Bush-era tax cuts and automatic spending cuts… .”
Unless Congress passes legislation to postpone them or finds other ways to reduce the federal deficit, those cuts of $110 billion would kick in January 2 and impact the defense budget and “discretionary” spending, like education programs.
In the meantime, members of Congress are catching up with constituents in their districts. Chris Woodside, NAfME assistant executive director for advocacy and public affairs, said this is good time for music educators to visit their local elected officials:
“While the NAfME advocacy staff lobbies with members of Congress on behalf of Association members here in Washington, there is a lot NAfME members can do at the local and state level. Elected officials like to hear from voters.”
NAfME offers a variety of resources for music educators and music education advocates who want to carry a concise, targeted message to a discussion with an elected official.
Join the NAfME Music Advocacy Groundswell for legislative updates, blogs, opportunities to share advocacy success stories, and ways music educators can contact elected officials on important arts education issues.
The advocacy guides include “Get the Message Flyers,” An Advocacy “Grab and Go” flyer, a Music Booster Manual, information on building support for music programs, an advocacy position statement, “Music for All Students,” a planning guide for state-level advocacy, and a link to a book by John Benham, Music Advocacy: Moving From Survival to Vision.
In addition, NAfME has presented a number of advocacy-oriented webinars that are are archived on the Groundswell site.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced a schedule of three presidential and one vice presidential debate prior to the November 6 elections . The first presidential debate is at 9 pm ET on Wednesday, October 3, at the University of Denver in Colorado.
Roz Fehr, NAfME managing editor for news, September 27, 2012. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)