MIOSM and Music Education State Advocacy

MIOSM® and Music Education
State Advocacy

As we end another successful Music in Our Schools Month® (MIOSM), we would like to highlight some of the great advocacy efforts by our Federated State Music Education Associations (MEAs).  The tradition of advocacy during MIOSM started with New York State School Music Association’s (NYSSMA) Joe Sugar Day.  Since then, states across the country have been organizing their own advocacy days to support their music programs. 


While NAfME traditionally showcases great advocacy efforts by our state MEAs during MIOSM, the reminder of strong advocacy for music comes at an important time.  Because in large part of the efforts of music advocates across the country, Congress funded ESSA’s Title IV-A, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, at $1.1 billion.  This a 250 percent increase from last year, and will allow all school districts to receive formula funding.  Up to 80 percent of this funding could be used for a well-rounded education.  It’s also a reminder that advocacy must continue in order for your music program to receive these funds. 

Thank you to all the states that supported MIOSM this year, and we look forward to working with you the remainder of this year in our continued goal of music, for, and by, all. 

New York

NYSSMA held its 45th annual Joe Sugar Day on March 5th.  NYSSMA’s asks included opposing the Board of Cooperative Services’ two percent tax cap on property tax, supporting the hire of an arts specialist at the New York State Education Department, and advocating for the “I Support Music Education” License Plate Bill. The funds (donations collected) from the purchase of the license plates will be used to support scholarships for the New York State Summer School of the Arts program.


On March 13th, PMEA hosted yet another successful advocacy day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, with live music performances occurring throughout the day.  State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski introduced the MIOSM resolution.  PMEA asks included increasing Basic Education Subsidy Funding, opposing any education savings accounts that take money away from public schools, and reinstating the PDE Arts Content Advisor / Liaison. Their asks were delivered to all 253 legislative offices in the Capitol by PMEA advocates. 

PMEA with Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (Photo courtesy of PMEA)


Wisconsin MEA held its drive-in day on February 7th.  The focus was to reach as many education committee members of the legislature as possible.  The drive had 21 participants, which included music educators, music business representatives, parents, and administrators.  The group reached out to 28 legislators, 12 Senators, and 16 Representatives.  Wisconsin MEA advocated for annual School District Report Cards to be amended to include local and state enrollment percentages in music, visual arts and drama as data on the student engagement indicators page.  This data would be presented for informational purposes only and not considered in a district’s accountability calculations.


On March 15th, fifteen music educators and future music educators (NAfME Collegiate) visited their state capitol in Jefferson City to advocate on behalf of music education in Missouri schools. 

The group visited approximately 25 legislators to share their concerns and joys, including increasing the percentage of music instruction time during the school day, and continuing support for hiring qualified teachers fully certified in teaching music.  

Missouri State Advocacy Day Participants (Photo Courtesty of MMEA)


50 music retailers, manufacturers, music not-for-profits and partners joined Indiana MEA’s advocacy day.  Several student ensembles performed during a hosted open lunch reception for legislators.  Advocacy asks included ensuring the state continues its focus on a well-rounded education, and support for legislation that enhances the possibility for students to participate in music and the arts.

Following the reception, Indiana MEA was recognized on the floor of the House and Senate with proclamations.  Students from Shelbyville performed Back Home Again in Indiana on the House floor by invitation of the Speaker.

Indiana Music Students Perform on the House Floor (Photo Courtesy of Indiana MEA)

North Carolina

The North Carolina Music Educators Association worked with Governor Roy Cooper to introduce the state’s MIOSM. This is a first for the Old North State and henceforth will be observed every March. 

To honor this event, NCMEA celebrated by hosting two days of inspirational concerts in the Capitol featuring performances from area schools. Singers from the Overhills High School show choir Perfect Intentions opened the first day followed by the Advanced Honor String Orchestra of Carnage Middle School. On the following day, Broughton High School’s acapella vocal group performed along with Enloe High School’s Quintet. 

North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper attended the MIOSM Celebration. She shared with those in attendance that her youngest daughter had been a member of the acapella group at Broughton High School. She spoke about how music is big part of their family life.

NCMEA with State First Lady Kristin Cooper (Photo courtesy of NCMEA)


The Michigan Music Education Association (MMEA), in collaboration with the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) and the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA), celebrated Music Education Advocacy Day on March 20th at the State Capitol in Lansing.  20 delegates had a total of 16 meetings with legislators.  Participants advocated to lawmakers that every pre-K-12 student in Michigan deserves equal access to a comprehensive and sequential music education, and should be taught by a certified music educator as part of a well-rounded curriculum.  A performance featuring three ensembles from K-12 Michigan schools was held at the Glass Floor Rotunda.


On March 15th, members of KMEA met with some key legislators to gather information and support for a legislative initiative to increase state matching funds from 50 to 75 percent for rural teachers in the defined “hard-to-fill” subjects areas, which includes music.  Lawmakers were receptive and are helping to gather information on the initiative. The Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Vicki Schmidt, offered to help KMEA write the legislation.  The prospective legislation would be offered in the 2019 session.


Nebraska held its Music Education Week at the Capitol March 6-9, where performing ensembles played throughout the week in the Capitol Rotunda.  Performers included the Ashland-Greenwood High School Concert Choir, the Scott Middle School Select Choir, Malcom High School Concert Band, Omaha Westside Highschool Chamber Ensemble, and Dawes Middle School, Jazz Ensemble. 

Tooshar Swain, Public Policy Advisor, March 29, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)