New ESEA Legislation Gave NAfME's Hill Day 2013 a New Urgency



NAfME President-Elect Glenn E. Nierman, NAfME President Nancy E. Ditmer, and Scott C. Shuler, NAfME Immediate Past President, gather before Hill Day gets under way.

On June 28, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) began its annual Hill Day by recognizing U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici and U.S. Representative Aaron Schock for their efforts in heading up the Congressional STEAM Caucus. The Caucus seeks to bring increased attention to funding for arts education.

After that presentation, more than 130 NAfME state and division leaders, as well as other music education supporters, fanned out across Capitol Hill, undaunted even by afternoon thunderstorms on a sultry Washington, DC day.

Hill Day 2013 took on a new immediacy. Over the past several weeks there has been more progress on the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) front than has been the case  in well over a decade.

With ESEA legislation under consideration in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S  House of Representatives, NAfME delegates from state associations, and members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable (MEPR) discussed recent ESEA developments with elected officials. They made a  case  that music education be included in any final version of the legislation.

MEPR members joined NAfME’s Hill Day advocacy efforts for the first time. MEPR is a coalition of music organizations that has been advocating for music education since February 2011.

Country singer Sarah Darling, an Iowa native who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, visited elected officials in Iowa and Tennessee, including the office of Senate Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. On June 4 Harkin introduced  the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 which seeks to reauthorize the ESEA.

After a day of walking through the halls of Congress, the advocates attended a reception where Darling performed. NAfME also videotaped interviews with NAfME leaders for use on the Association’s new Google Plus Hangout page.


Here is a snapshot of Hill Day 2013 events:



A Hill Day visit: (from the left) Nebraska President-Elect Sam Zitek, NAfME North Central President-Elect; Lance Nielson, Nebraska President-Elect; Nebraska President Judith Bush; Congressman Adrian Smith from Nebraska’s 3rd Districtm and Glenn E. Nierman, NAfME President-Elect.



Country singer Sarah Darling (center, back row) and Scott C. Shuler, NAfME immediate past president (right of Darling) advocate in Senator Tom Harkin's office.