Press Release: Revised PreK-8 Music Education Standards Open for Public Comment June 30

National Association for Music Education Encourages Teachers and Administrators to Engage in Process of Reimagining 1994’s Effort

RESTON, VA  (June 25, 2013) –The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) announced that the first draft of the revised PreK-8 National Core Standards for Music Education will be posted online for public comment on June 30, 2013. NAfME seeks input from music educators, arts administrators, music teacher educators, and the general public on this document, which will be posted online at

The draft PreK-8 music standards are the work of a broad coalition of stakeholders, the National Coalition of Core Arts Standards, of which NAfME is a part. The Coalition is developing standards that reflect and encompass the most current research in the field, national and international developments in education, and policy directions, including Common Core State Standards and the drive to develop twenty-first century skills. The writers of the  National Core Arts Standards are committed to articulating the aspirations of the arts community, educators, and the public in a web-based format that will be accessible to and relevant to all those interested in furthering education for American students.

“Our nation’s first standards for arts education were published in 1994, and have served for nearly two decades to guide improvements in the structure, delivery, and assessment of arts education,” said Mike Blakeslee, deputy executive director of NAfME. “With the increasing emphasis on core standards as drivers for our education system in areas ranging from curriculum development to teacher assessment, we need music standards that match current and future policy needs. If we don’t revise our standards to meet these new challenges, the arts risk being marginalized in American schools, limiting our young people’s access and opportunity to a full, balanced education. “

The re-imagined standards differ from the current arts standards, which were accepted by the Department of Education in 1994. The new standards intentionally connect students’ music achievement with thinking processes and other skills that not only align with Common Core standards, but also contribute to success in later life. They provide compelling philosophical foundations, “enduring understandings” and “essential questions,” and anchor and performance standards to guide instruction and curriculum. Responding to music educators’ increasing need to measure student growth and achievement, the new standards will also include model cornerstone assessments.

 “Literally hundreds of music educators have already contributed to the development of our new standards, and in June you too will have an opportunity to lend your ideas to this important process,” said Scott C. Shuler, immediate past president of NAfME and member of the NCCAS leadership team, urging educators to participate in the review. “I encourage you to mark June 30 on your calendar, when you will be able to review and comment on the draft framework and PreK-8 performance standards. Lend your expertise and voice to this process, helping us make our new standards as visionary and useful as possible.”

To date, all resources for standards development have been provided by coalition partners and by the states that participate in the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education.  Initial drafts of substantive portions of the new standards were reviewed by a select team of trained state-led reviewers and other volunteers in March 2013. The high school music standards draft is scheduled for release in January 2014. Detailed release of the standards, and the beginning of fieldwork for implementation, will occur around April 2014.

“It’s important for music teachers to get involved in this process,” said NAfME’s Blakeslee. “The standards will help professional music educators hone their curricula, and also help administrators and parents deepen their understanding of why music is good for students.”



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National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is a partnership of organizations and states who will lead the revision of the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education. NCCAS plans to release initial drafts of national voluntary arts education standards in spring 2013 for review. The standards will describe what students should know and be able to do as a result of a quality curricular arts education program. NCCAS is committed to developing a next generation of voluntary arts education standards that will build on the foundation created by the 1994 document, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, help ensure that all students are college and career ready, and affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum.

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