Petition's Progress: Chicago Public Schools Arts Head David Roche Gathers Signatures

Ethnomusicolgist David Roche, director of the Office of Arts Education in Chicago, is a strong supporter of school music education — so much so that he conducted his own petition drive recently in support of MENC’s Petition for Equal Access to Music Education.

David Roche

Roche, who is an MENC member, said he first saw the petitions while attending the trade show of NAMM, the International Music Products Association, where he discussed the petition drive with MENC Senior Deputy Executive Director Mike Blakeslee.

“When I saw the petition, I thought it was a great idea,” says Roche. “And I knew I had a way to reach some heavy hitters when we had a meeting of 18 private and public funding agencies that work with the office of Arts Education in Chicago. I talked about the petition’s aims and MENC’s national advocacy efforts and said, ‘I have this petition here. Feel free to sign it.’ Everyone did.”

Before coming to the Chicago Public Schools, Roche was executive director of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. He has served as vice president of the Chicago Board of Governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, artistic director for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and culture critic for New America Media Online. He holds a Ph.D. in music from University of California, Berkeley.

The mission of the Office of Arts Education (OEA) is to provide more students with access to a quality arts education with meaningful arts experiences inside and outside the classroom. OEA is a resource for teachers, principals and arts organizations on arts curricula and discipline-based learning strategies, arts integration, professional development for teachers and principals, arts partnerships and arts teaching credentials. OEA “passionately advocates for greater funding in arts education.”

Roz Fehr, March 17, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education