On Wednesday, March 30, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) held its fifth annual Music Education Advocacy day at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. PMEA’s Advocacy Day closes out Music In Our Schools Month as music ensembles from across the state performed in the Capitol Main and East Wing Rotundas throughout the month of March to celebrate the occasion.
A full press release of the event can be found here.
As part of Advocacy Day, several speakers were featured in a press conference where audience members had the opportunity to listen to remarks of those who have been positively impacted by school music programs. One of the key speakers included Pennsylvania State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, stating “music educators in this commonwealth are committed to maintaining and improving school music programs for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status or their abilities.”
Other speakers of the press conference included:
- Mark Despotakis, PMEA Advancement of Music Education Council Chair
- Ronny Lau, NAfME Legislative Policy Advisor
- Scott Sheehan, NAfME Eastern Division President
- Richard Sniscak, PMEA Outstanding Superintendent, Parkland School District
- Mairi Cooper, Fox Chapel Area School District, 2015 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year
- Ron Cowell, Education Policy and Leadership Center
- Abby Garrigan, Senior, Salisbury High School
- Dennis Emert, PMEA President
The event concluded with performances by the Salisbury High School Chorus and the Central Dauphin High School Wind Ensemble. Both ensembles performed remarkably and we applaud both directors (Rachel Reinecke and Matt Carraher) for their fantastic work with these groups.
Concluding Advocacy Day, members of PMEA met with Pennsylvania legislators and their staff to share the core message of the importance and value of K-12 sequential, standards-based, arts curriculum taught by certified arts educators. PMEA is concerned with three primary legislative priorities relating to the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania budget:
- Increase Basic Education Subsidy Funding
- Enact a Fair and Predictable Funding Formula
- Reinstatement of a Pennsylvania Department of Education Arts Content Advisor/Liaison
Further information on PMEA’s legislative recommendations can be found here.
Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, April 4, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)