Thanks to impassioned advocacy from committed NAfME members, Hill Day 2018 was a resounding success. Over 300 delegates representing Federated MEA leadership and collegiate chapters from across the nation shared their stories and conviction of the positive impact music education provides our nation’s students.
The day kicked off with a rally in the Hart Senate Office building, where advocates were joined by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07). Congresswoman Velázquez, a vocal champion for music education, recently introduced the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act (H.R. 6137) into the U.S. House of Representatives. Her legislation encourages school districts to use their Title I-A funds (school-wide and targeted assistance grants) to help provide music education for disadvantaged students. The Congresswoman gave a compelling address on the power music holds to transform lives and voiced her support for NAfME’s legislative agenda.
Following the rally, delegates spread across Capitol Hill for meetings with their elected officials. This year, our members requested Representatives and Senators to consider:
- Fully funding the Every Student Succeeds Act’s authorized levels for well-rounded education programs, including:
- Title IV-A, $1.6 billion
- Title I-A, $15.46 billion
- Title II-A, $2.3 billion
- Seeking additional cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives for the GAAME Act
- Introducing a companion bill of the GAAME Act into the U.S. Senate
Additionally, Hill Day delegations were joined this year by several special guests, including four members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable:
- American Orff-Schulwerk Association
- The Gordon Institute for Music Learning
- Organization of American Kodály Educators
- Education Through Music
Highlights from the survey results
Advocates carried out over 200 meetings with legislators. Following each congressional visit, NAfME delegates completed surveys to document the conversations held with legislators and their staffs. So far, there have been 191 responses recorded which will provide invaluable data to the NAfME policy staff as we move forward in our advocacy work.
- 79% of Congressional offices visited indicated support for Title IV, Part A funding, with 69% signaling support for full funding of Title IV, Part A.
- 72% of offices expressed interest in becoming a co-sponsor on the GAAME Act.
- 54% of offices indicated support for higher funding allocations for education in general.
At the Hill Day Evening Celebration, Michigan Music Educators Association (MMEA) was honored as this year’s State Advocacy Award recipient. Over the last several years, the tireless efforts of MMEA members and leadership have led to a dramatic increase to their influence on state education policy. MMEA has established itself as the state leader in arts education advocacy, participating in the dashboard indicators for Michigan’s ESSA school report cards and influencing certification (licensure) for music education in the state.
Additionally, the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation awarded State Music Education Advocacy Grants to 10 State Federated MEA’s. The following states each received a grant from the CMA Foundation that will allow them to augment their existing advocacy initiatives and create new advocacy opportunities:
Social Media Presence
NAfME shared the Hill Day 2018 Rally via Facebook Live, with more than 4,500 people viewing the Rally online. In addition, NAfME orchestrated a massive social media presence, reaching viewers using the hashtag #NAfMEHD18. The hashtag was used for posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; you can revisit our member’s experiences on Hill Day by following each of these accounts.
Another Successful Hill Day, Thanks to You!
Thank you, NAfME members, for your relentless commitment to music education. Your presence on Hill Day not only energizes the NAfME staff but, more importantly, puts the passion behind our cause on full display for members of Congress. The messages you continue to bring to Washington lay the groundwork for our advocacy efforts through the rest of the year. We simply could not do our jobs without your enthusiasm and support, and are in great appreciation of the contributions you make. Thank you for choosing to make a difference in the lives of students and sharing the power of music education with your communities, your state, and with federal lawmakers.
Rob Edwards, Policy & Content Coordinator, July 9, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)