What is it, and why do we need it?
ad · vo · ca · cy
- The act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal: He was known for his advocacy of states' rights.
- The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.
- Active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something.
All three of these definitions have one very important word in common: "active." Our current state of educational policy demands that we, as music educators, also be music advocates, and in some cases, arts advocates in general. Administrators of all levels have been guilty of putting the demands of the AYP bar above all other educational priorities, sometimes to the detriment or elimination of music and other arts programs in schools. It is up to us to actively promote our programs and make the value of what we do obvious to others, inside and outside the school system. We must put our programs at the center of school life in such a way that no one could imagine cutting music instruction from the curriculum. Does this take some extra work? Yes. Are we paid extra for it? No. Is it in the best interests of our students and communities? Absolutely.
As Advocacy chairs, we are here for any teacher, parent, program, or school to help provide guidance and resources for music education advocacy. You will find our contact information at right, and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions comments, or concerns.
Here are a few internet resources, each of which provides a great deal of information on music education advocacy. These are good starting points and can point you in the direction of more specific information. If you do not find what you need, you can contact me as I have collected a lot of articles and resources.
A wealth of information, sponsored by MENC and NAMM.
Also has a shop with advocacy items.
- The U.S. Dept. of Education has designated music and the arts as core academic subjects in "No Child Left Behind". What we do is important, for it is at the core of the curriculum. It is not a "frill."
- Music and the other arts connect subjects across the curriculum. We can reinforce all kinds of non-musical learning in our classrooms, including general life skills, history, science, and other areas.
- Music demands excellence - this is why the best and brightest students thrive on the challenges of music performance when other subjects seem easy to them.
- Music education connects students and communities. Community festivals, sporting events, holidays - none of these have the same color, charm, and excitement without the contribution of music.
- Solutions to world problems are dependent on creative thinking and problem solving, skills intentionally and systematically taught in music and the other arts. What we teach requires students to engage the highest levels of their intellect.