New National Arts Standards Roll Out June 4 Thanks to NAfME’s Major Role


Butera, Blakeslee, Wells, Shuler (3)
NAfME Executive Director and CEO Michael A. Butera; NAfME Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Mike Blakeslee, and Richard Wells and Scott C.  Shuler, co-chair of the Music Standards Writing Team talked in Reston, VA. after the final music writing team meeting.


 On June 4, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) will release the 2014 National Core Arts Standards. Over the past three years, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) developed the new National Core Music Standards and participated with a coalition of national arts, education, and media arts organizations to develop new Core Arts Standards. 

NAfME Immediate Past President Scott C. Shuler said music educators participated throughout the process as the Standards were re-imagined over the past three years. “NAfME has taken several steps to involve as many music educators as possible in the development and refinement of new National Core Music Standards,” said Shuler, who is also co-chair of the Music Standards Writing Team.

Richard Wells, Simsbury Public Schools (retired) and Music Chair for the Connecticut Common Arts Assessment Project, is the other co-chair.

The new National Core Arts Standards replace 1994’s National Standards for Music Education and now cover music as well as theater, dance media arts, and visual art. The Standards also emphasize lifelong learning goals for students of the arts.


Taking a 21st-Century View of Arts Education


The new, voluntary grade-by-grade web-based standards aim to:

•            Affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum

•            Support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers

•            Help ensure that all students are college- and career-ready.

The Core Arts Standards emphasize “big ideas” intended to guide the curriculum development and instructional practices that pave the way for arts literacy for all students. 



Writing the Standards Took a Village


“The standards process has involved thousands of hours of work contributed by NAfME members. From teachers writing and reviewing to scholars providing a research base and planning on evaluation strategies, literally hundreds of members have taken part in building the standards,” said Mike Blakeslee, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

“With the release in June, we’ll be beginning the next phase of advancing music education. And NAfME is already working on professional development and other support to help music teachers take full advantage of the forward-looking ideas spelled out in the standards,” he adds.


Mike Blakeslee discusses how the Core Arts Standards developed


Find Standards Resources

NAfME’s website offers a variety of Standards resources 

Read the new Standards on June 4, on the NCCAS website. In the meantime, the website offers videos, source materials, versions of the Standards throughout the review process, and other information.

Photo Courtesy of Richard Wells

Roz Fehr, NAfME Communications Content Developer, April 28, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (