Press Release: National Association for Music Education Members Discuss Transforming the Teaching Profession with the U.S. Department of Education in Special Focus Group

Teachers from Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware Share Views on RESPECT: Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching

RESTON, VA (March 16, 2012) –The National Association for Music Education announced that 24 association members participated in a February 29 U.S. Department of Education focus group to provide insight and feedback on a “vision” to “transform” the teaching profession. The Department has been holding a series of national conversations about teaching to help provide input on the administration’s 2013 budget proposal and on the broader effort to reform teaching.

Laurie Calvert, a teacher liaison at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), asked NAfME for the input from music educators. Calvert explained that ED aims to “greatly transform the teaching profession so that it is much more highly regarded, better compensated, and thought of as a true profession.” NAfME put out a call to K – 12 music educators in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia. Within just a few hours, the 20 spots were filled; the department allowed the group to expand because of the high interest.

Participants were asked to complete assigned reading in advance to inform them of the initiative and make for richer dialogue. The special session, held at the U.S. Department of Education, was led by Calvert, and observed by Steven Means, special assistant and senior policy advisor, of the U.S. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Ms. Tyra Mariani, deputy chief of staff for operations and strategy and PROJECT RESPECT coordinator; Peter Cunningham, Assistant Secretary of Education, communications and outreach; Aurora Steinle, special advisor to the chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary at ED; and additional Teaching Ambassador Fellows working at ED, Genevieve DeBose, Maryann Woods-Murphy, and Greg Mullenholz.

“When the Department of Education suggested holding a focus group with music teachers, we jumped to take advantage of this unusual opportunity,” said Michael A. Butera, executive director and CEO of NAfME. “It’s not every day that music teachers are asked for their insights and opinions. Music teachers play an essential role in helping insure students receive a well-rounded education; the federal government recognizes this. These NAfME members represented the organization beautifully, articulating the challenges of teaching music, and providing thoughtful, constructive feedback on the ED’s proposed RESPECT project. The Department was impressed by our members, and NAfME is very grateful for the dedication these teachers have to their profession, and for their time and interest as advocates for NAfME.”

The teachers were

Sarah Aherne, Newark Charter School, Newark
Genevieve Van Catledge, Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington
Louise Foster, Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes

Maggie Beth Corfield Adams, Walkersville Elementary, Walkersville
Joann Benson, Sandymount Elementary School, Finksburg
Sally Burns, Bowie High School, Bowie
James Dorsey IV, Cooper Lane Elementary School, Landover Hills
Mary Jennings, Hammond Middle School, Laurel
Corin Overland, Centennial High School, Ellicott City
Donald Synder, Prince Kenmoor Elementary School, Landover

Doug Armstrong, Mountain View High School, Stafford
Lisa Brininstool, Lee Davis High School, Mechanicsville
Arthur Broadbent, Norview Middle School, Norfolk
Jim Criswell, St. Stephens and St. Agnes School, Alexandria
Bob Curry, Stonewall Jackson High School, Quicksburg
Laura Filppu, Daniel Morgan Middle School, Winchester
Boyce Flowe, Oak Knoll Middle School, Mechanicsville
Debra Kay Robinson Lindsay, Crestwood Elementary School, Springfield
Chris McCarney, Manchester High School, Midlothian
Anne Miller, Oakcrest School, McLean
Sheila Monahan, Grace Miller Elementary School, Bealeton
Barbara Morrow, Carlin Springs Elementary School and Glebe Elementary, Arlington
Naomi Shick, Colvin Run Elementary School, Vienna
Mary Wagner, James Madison University, Harrisonburg

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National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers, and with 60,000 honor students and supporters, NAfME serves millions of students nationwide through activities at all teaching levels, from preschool to graduate school. NAfME’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. Since 1907, NAfME has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. NAfME activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.

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