On August 8, leaders of the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) spent the day in productive meetings with Maryland legislators on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Their aim was to build the long-term relationships at the Congressional level that are essential to garnering support for music in education.
Chris Woodside, assistant executive director for advocacy and public affairs for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Shannon Kelly, director of advocacy capacity building and communications, accompanied the leaders on their visits.
Maryland MEA Advocacy Chair Ronald P. Frezzo said the meetings aimed to “Press the case for maintaining the arts, music specifically, as a core subject when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is reauthorized. This bill is overdue for reauthorization, but with the many issues facing Congress, it has not been fully addressed.
“As Congress is in recess, we met with staffers of Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and House Members Chris Van Hollen and Elijah E. Cummings,” he said.
Frezzo said they also left NAfME position papers and DVDs of Maryland all-state performances at the offices of Representatives Donna F. Edwards, Steny Hoyer, and Andy Harris.
“We received very positive responses from all staffers that this was very much on the legislators’ agenda,” Frezzo said. He is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and choral music teacher at Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Other members of the group included Steve Miles, MMEA president elect; Mary Pitta, MMEA orchestra chair; and Debbie Turner, MMEA public relations chair.
On the Hill, Woodside (Christopher Woodside@MarylandDChris) tweeted about the visits, including: “Another solid meeting with Rep. Van Hollen’s staff. One more Member [of Congress] that gets it and will stand behind our agenda. Go MD!”
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Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, August 17. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)