Divisive Concepts Laws (DCL) are legislative and executive orders that seek to restrict teaching, professional learning, and student learning in K–12 schools and higher education regarding race, gender, sexuality, and U.S. history. Since late 2020, a number of these legislative and executive actions have been proposed and enacted across the United States, and individuals and groups have reported adverse effects on teachers, students, and educational programs.

This report was designed (1) to provide music educators, music/fine arts supervisors, and music teacher educators with information on DCL, (2) to investigate how DCL are impacting music educators and music education, and (3) to offer resources. It is organized in three sections: (1) FAQs on DCL and how other professional organizations are responding, (2) a summary of responses to a survey regarding how DCL are impacting NAfME members’ teaching, illustrated with stories from selected members, and (3) information and resources from NAfME member experts regarding navigating local and state policies, culturally responsive pedagogy, repertoire diversity, social and emotional learning in music, gender and sexuality in music classrooms, and music teacher recruitment and retention.

This report does not constitute legal advice. Readers are responsible for independently verifying any applicable state and local laws and ensuring their own compliance with applicable laws and, if applicable, the policies of the school where they teach. This report links to websites operated by, and information on publications authored by, third parties; NAfME does not make any representation or warranty regarding the accuracy of such websites or publications and provides such links and information only as a convenience and resource to readers. NAfME disclaims any responsibility for any specific results related to the use of this report, for any errors or omissions contained in the report, and for any liability, loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of this report.


  • DCL Overview and FAQ: Divisive Concepts Laws and Music Education: A Report from the National Association for Music Education (January 2023)
  • Full Report: Divisive Concepts Laws and Music Education: A Report from the National Association for Music Education (January 2023)

Additional Resources

NAfME thanks the following individuals for their efforts to produce this resource:

  • Karen Salvador, Michigan State University, report author

Contributing authors (in alphabetical order)

  • Joseph Abramo, University of Connecticut
  • Cara Faith Bernard, University of Connecticut
  • Andrew Bohn, Michigan State University
  • Deborah A. Confredo, Temple University
  • Ashley Cuthbertson, A. Cuthbertson Consulting
  • Rob Deemer, State University of New York at Fredonia
  • Rollo Dilworth, Temple University
  • Suzanne N. Hall, Temple University
  • Benjamin C. Helton, Case Western Reserve University
  • Anne Martin, Michigan State University
  • Nicholas R. McBride, The College of New Jersey
  • Constance L. McKoy, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Saleel Menon, Michigan State University
  • Lorenzo Sánchez‐Gatt, Michigan State University
  • William R. Sauerland, Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Ryan D. Shaw, Michigan State University
  • Stefanie Weigand, Music‐COMP

Questions or comments?

Email: equity@nafme.org

April 2024 Teaching Music


  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA)

Resource Type

  • Report

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April 2024 Teaching Music
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