NAfME Endorses Sen. Tester’s GAAME Act of 2018

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is pleased to announce our endorsement of Senator Jon Tester’s (D-MT) Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act (S. 3391), which was released earlier on August 28. The legislation is a companion bill to the House of Representative’s GAAME Act, which was released earlier this year in June. If passed, the legislation would provide articulating language to encourage school districts to use their Title I, Part A Funds (school-wide and targeted assistance grants) to improve access to music and arts education for disadvantaged and low-income students, taught by certified music educators. 

Prior to his tenure in public service, Senator Tester was a member of the music education community.  In 1978, the Senator earned a Bachelor of Science in music from the College of Great Falls (now University of Providence). He then taught music for two years at F.E. Miley Elementary School in the Big Sandy School District of Montana and, subsequently, was elected to the school board shortly after.

NAfME Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Blakeslee, issued the following statement regarding the Association’s endorsement of the GAAME Act:

“As an Association representing more than 131,000 members of the music education community, we cannot think of a better individual to introduce this legislation than one of our own, Senator Jon Tester. We are thrilled to support him in introducing the Senate’s version of the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act. NAfME thanks him for his leadership on this important issue and we look forward to working with Senator Tester in improving student access to a sequential and standards-based music education.”

A full copy of the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act can be found here. Additionally, an associated press release issued by the Office of Senator Tester can be found here.  Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senator Tester as an original cosponsor of the bill.

The GAAME Act is led by bipartisan support in the House by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-7) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA-8).  Their bill now has 61 cosponsors.

Ronny Lau, Assistant Director of Public Policy, August 29, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (