NAfME Applauds Congresswoman Velazquez and Senator Tester on Introduction of Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) applauds the introduction of, and endorses, the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act (H.R. 1676 and S. 885). We thank Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-7) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) for their support of music and arts education and look forward to working with them to advance this bill in Congress.
If passed, this legislation would provide language articulating the ability for school districts to use their Title I, Part A funds to improve access to sequential music education, taught by certified educators, for disadvantaged and low-income students. The GAAME Act’s reinforcement that Title I’s school-wide and targeted assistance funds can be used to support music and arts education aligns with NAfME’s mission, which is to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all.
When students are denied a quality music education, they are denied the ability to hone skills valuable for success. Nationwide, over 1.3 million elementary students fail to receive any music instruction.
Research has shown that in-school music programs are highly valuable in engaging students by improving their overall participation and attendance, including for students deemed at-risk. Furthermore, the benefits of music programs transcend typical quantifiable markers of school success. Music education supports the development of essential 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem-solving, all of which are essential to future success in not only academics, but also the workforce.
Music education has a storied history with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Upon ESEA’s passage in 1965, Title I funds were used for music education programs in different parts of the country. The latest iteration of ESEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, allows Title I-A funds to be used for well-rounded programs, including music education. The GAAME Act follows this path by making clear Title I-A funds can and should be used to provide equitable access to music learning across the country.
Tooshar Swain, Public Policy Advisor, April 11, 2019. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)