“Our nation has an identity theft crisis. The victims are our children—many times the most vulnerable and marginalized. The perpetrators are our most trusted officials, decision makers, and leaders. By cutting the arts and arts education in our schools and communities they are denying these youth the opportunity to find their true identities, their true creative selves. They are de-valuing and diminishing their true talents and potential; making them fit into boxes they don’t fit.”—Matt D’Arrigo, Founder and CEO, A Reason to Survive | ARTS.
This week the National Association for Music Education joins more than 85 other national arts organizations in cosponsoring the 2014 Arts Advocacy Day. Hosted by the Americans for the Arts, grassroots activists from around the country come to Washington, D.C., to advocate for “issues like arts education policy, the charitable tax deduction, and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.”
NAfME believes strongly in supporting sequential, standards-based classroom music education. National Arts Advocacy Day is one avenue where we speak up for this critical educational component.
As Philadelphia Assistant Superintendent Dennis Creedon noted recently, music and arts education is “not a frill. It’s actually the center of the core.” He continued, “If you cut these out of schools, you are really cutting the heart out of our children and their future.”
Creedon emphasizes that arts education gives students “the ability to not only express themselves, but to explore their own potential. . . . The arts are one of the things that enables us to have a resilience of hope. And the resiliency, that ‘grit’ that is needed in education to make it, is something that children have to have if they are going to not give up [during] the struggles that we have in life.”
These advocacy points Creedon raises are what NAfME’s new Broader Minded campaign is all about: Music education strengthens students in ways not always measurable in a standardized test. These strengths are critical to raising our next leaders and equipping our students to meet 21st-century challenges.
So we stand with our like-minded advocacy groups in supporting the 2014 Arts Advocacy Day to ensure all students have access to quality music and arts education.
Catherina Hurlburt, Special Assistant, March 24, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)