MENC Calls You to Action

I am a member of MENC and I got the following email this week.  I think it is very important and I want to share it with you.

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Dear MENC Members,

Congress has proposed drastic spending cuts that include over 70 education programs and all Arts in Education programming, specifically.  We are gravely concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on music education programs across the country now and in the future.  We are contacting you to ask that you please reach out to your elected officials in Washington, D.C. today.  Advise them to reject the language in Continuing Resolution H.R. 1, and tell them that in order to provide America’s students with a well-rounded education:

Funding must remain available to music programs in all appropriate ESEA-authorized programs, particularly in Titles I and II.

We understand the urgency to identify savings in federal expenditures, but this should not be done by further diminishing a well-balanced curriculum.

As you already know, music provides students with the opportunity to express creativity and to develop skills that will benefit them throughout the rest of their lives.  In addition to its inherent, cultural value, music teaches everything from coordination to self-discipline, and provides a variety of unique avenues for intellectual growth.   Additionally, music education helps children practice teamwork, poise, and public composure.  Truly, music is the ultimate vehicle for 21 st Century Skills. 

You can make a difference now, by contacting your U.S. Senators and Representative by phone, e-mail, via personal letter, or by visiting a district office in your area, and by sharing these important points regarding the intrinsic value of classroom music.   For today’s students to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music taught by exemplary music educators.  Please do not delay!

A series of talking points, an overview of jeopardized programming, and a breakdown of funding allocations have been provided below to aid in your advocacy efforts.  Click the embedded links in order to find your elected officials.

·          Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

·          Contact your House Representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

In addition, we invite you to join us for a special MENC webinar dedicated to music education and the national funding crisis.  We will address current Congressional spending measures, impacts on state budgets across the country, and what advocates can do to help.  The Webinar will take place this coming Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 7:00 PM ET.   Register now at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/425647369 , as space is limited.  If you should require assistance, or have any questions at all about this call to action, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Woodside at chrisw@menc.org or 703.860.4000 (ext. 217).  Thank you in advance for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Butera

Executive Director, MENC

View a brief video presentation of Michael A. Butera calling members to action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKDK9AmA4WA

Advocacy Talking Points

·          Music  promotes 21 st Century Skills development, offering a well-rounded education to students and better preparing them for the workforce

·          Students with 4 years or more of arts and music study score significantly higher on reading, math and writing sections of the SAT College Board test

·          Arts-based learning is known to promote collaboration, creative problem solving, and the ability to apply learning across different disciplines

·          Schools with music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than those without programs

Arts in Education Threatened Programming Overviews

·          Very Special Arts

VSA offers support for projects that encourage the involvement of disabled people in the arts and foster an increased awareness of the need for arts programs for the disabled.  VSA projects include training and technical assistance activities, information services, and public awareness activities.

·          John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts  

The Kennedy Center offers performances, professional development, and other educational activities that emphasize the importance of the arts in education.  The Kennedy Center also works with the Alliance for Arts Education, a network of state arts education committees, to focus on incorporating the arts into school curricula.

·          Professional Development Grants  

This program supports the implementation of high-quality professional development model programs in elementary and secondary education in music, dance, drama, media arts, and visual arts for arts educators and other instructional staff of K-12 students in high-poverty schools.

·          Model programs  

This program supports the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that demonstrate effectiveness in:

-Integrating into and strengthening the arts in the core elementary and middle school curricula

-Strengthening arts instruction in those grades

-Improving students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts

·          National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government.  To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.  The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.  

·          National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Breakdown of Funding Allocations — http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget12/justifications/d-eip.pdf
Please reference pages D77 – D83 for Arts in Education funding

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