NAfME Endorses Rebuild America’s Schools Act
Chairman Scott’s bill would create a $100 billion
federal investment in education infrastructure.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is pleased to announce our endorsement of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, as recently passed by the House Committee on Education and Labor. H.R. 865, introduced by Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-3), would create a $70 billion grant program and $30 billion tax credit bond program targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff. The committee passed bill includes as a qualified use for these funds the renovation or development of music facilities.
Music plays a vital role in the American educational system. Facilities for music learning should be designed in a fashion that protects the safety of our children while maintaining a quality learning environment for the rest of the school. However, the cost associated with creating or enhancing these facilities often leaves students’ health and safety at risk.
The funding this bill authorizes can prove crucial to school districts in need of renovating or creating music facilities. Music classrooms require more square footage per pupil than other areas of a school. Instructional space must allow for large groups of students to play instruments and stand on choral risers without being crowded. Doors and hallways must be wide enough to safely move through while carrying or wheeling large instruments and equipment.
Furthermore, the classroom design for music ensembles should accommodate the volume level of large ensembles. Ceilings must be high enough to reduce the volume in the classroom below the decibel (dB) threshold of causing permanent hearing damage. Walls and ceilings must include materials designed to dampen sound to reduce the classroom volume to safe levels and keep sound away from other classrooms.
NAfME and its members strongly advocated for music facilities to be included as an allowable use of funds in the Rebuild America’s Schools Act. We thank Congressman Scott for including this language in the bill and look forward to working with him and other members of Congress to pass this important piece of legislation.
Tooshar Swain, Public Policy Advisor, March 22, 2019. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)