Reimagining Our Education: Ensure Equitable Access to Music and Arts Education For All
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Music and arts education is deemed as an essential part of a well-rounded education. This is understood and supported by all federal and state policymakers, policies, and educational requirements. The vast majority of public school students participate in music and arts education programs. As these programs directly contribute to our national and local cultures, they serve as a necessity to improve the world we live in. According to the National Association for Music Education, research shows the study of the arts helps students think and integrate learning across traditional disciplinary lines... work cooperatively, pose and solve problems, and forge the vital link between individual (or group) effort and a quality result - skills and attitudes that are vital for success in the 21st-century workplace. As schools reconvene, regardless of format, music and arts education will continue to be essential in the support of our social-emotional development.
However, in response to budget concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our programs are being threatened with elimination in several school districts across the Country. The embedded social, emotional, and cultural benefits of music and arts education are essential for attending school in today’s turbulent climate. When we return to school, in order to positively contribute to the culture of our schools and society, we need the programs that help define us as people within our education.
We, the undersigned students and others who care about the access to musical/artistic culture within our education and how it affects us in the future, believe the following:
We believe all students deserve equitable access to high quality, culturally responsive, music, and arts education. As students, we should have a say in the creation of our educational future. Music and arts education is a powerful vehicle to improve the culture and climate of our schools, and the world we live in.
We believe that music and arts education is the key to unifying the world in which we live. Music and arts education holistically contributes to our social and emotional development. We learn how to be culturally responsive, competent, and aware contributors in our diverse society. By reimagining music and arts education, we are investing in an improved educational culture in a system that influences all current and future students in America.
We believe that, regardless of how instruction is delivered due to any restrictions, meaningful music and arts education can be provided this fall. Innovative music and arts education instruction have already occurred since the beginning of the pandemic. However, we can not receive that instruction if our programs are removed. All students have the right to protection from exclusionary policies and practices which threaten equitable access to and participation in music and arts learning. Every school district Board of Education, administration, and educational decision-makers should ensure that all students have their rightful access to high-quality music and arts education as a part of their educational experience.
For the reimagination of our education, we should have a significant voice in the decisions being made. These decisions will have immediate consequences on the culture of our Country and schools for decades to come. If the school administrators and school board members truly believe in the best interest for us, the students, they should take action consistent with our values and beliefs. We can not underestimate the power of music and the arts.
This is our education.
1. "Arts Education is Essential” NAfME, 2020 https://nafme.org/wp-content/files/2020/05/Arts_Education_Is_Essential-unified-statement.pdf
2. “The Value and Quality of Arts Education.” NAfME, 1999, nafme.org/about/position-statements/the-value-and-quality-of-arts-education-position-statement/the-value-and-quality-of-arts-education/.
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