Mar 07 2017

Music Education Roundtable Message to the New Administration

The National Music Council is a member of the Music Education Roundtable, whose constituents believe that all children, regardless of circumstance, should have access to high-quality in-school music programs. Intertwined with our great society, music is central to America’s history and how we share that history and tradition with our nation’s children.

Music education provides a variety of assets for our students, improving quality of life, and creating impactful and successful citizens within our society. We sincerely hope to work with the Trump administration to develop policies that support and enrich these essential school music programs.

The following are policy proposals the Music Education Policy Roundtable hopes the Trump administration takes into consideration on behalf of advancing music education in
America’s schools:

Support and Continue the Proper Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Last year, the passage of ESSA marked a historic moment for public education. Through bipartisan support, the law includes a specific mention of “music” as a part of a “Well- Rounded Education, ”providing opportunities to increase access to music education for all students. We hope to see continued support for the law, and encourage active communication between the administration and authorizing congressional committees to ensure guidance and regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education reflect congressional intent, increasing state and local voices in decision-making regarding public schooling.

Maintain Equitable Access to a Well-Rounded Education for All Students One of the integral missions of the Music Education Policy Roundtable is promoting the study and making of music by all, regardless of circumstance or background. Today’s educational culture emphasizes the great need for 21st century skillsets and by incorporating a well-rounded curriculum that includes music, we provide the essential professional skills students need to succeed in not only academics, but also in the workforce. Unfortunately, the access to a music education is not available in every American public school, be it district or charter, or for every child.

  • Access to Music Education within Minority Populations According to the National Endowment for the Arts(NEA), Fewer than 30 percent of both Hispanic and African American students reported receiving any arts education, in comparison to 59 percent of white students. Crafting effective and inclusive policies will create pathways to lifelong achievement for all students.

  • Access to Music Education within Charter Schools Studies from Arizona and California show that students within charter schools have substantially less access to music and arts education than students enrolled in district schools. As affirmed in ESSA, music education is an essential component to a well-rounded education, which should be embraced and made available to all students in all schools -charter and district.

  • Collecting Accurate Data on Access to Music and Arts Education within our Nation’s Schools. Every decade, the U.S. Department of Education collects survey data on access to music and arts education through the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS). The next FRSS arts survey should be administered in the 2019-2020 school year. We look forward to continuing this important data collection tradition to help us better understand access to music and arts education and how we as partners with the U.S. Department of Education can grow access to music and arts for all students.

  • Collecting Accurate Data on student performance in music and arts education through the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP. This April, the U.S. Department of Education will partner with the National Assessment Governing Board to release the findings on the 2015-2016 NAEP Arts Assessment. This is an excellent opportunity for the administration to broadcast its support for a well-rounded education, including music and arts. In addition, the administration can work with the Governing Board and arts partners including the Roundtable to insure the continuation of the NAEP Arts Assessment next scheduled for 2024.

Increase State and District Flexibility by Supporting Funding in Critical Well-Rounded Areas The inclusion of “music” as part of a “Well-Rounded Education” provides a significant number of opportunities for increasing access to music education for students at the state and local levels. The specific enumeration of music in statute further articulates music’s eligibility for Title I-A, Title II-A, and Title IV-A funding. In order to make these opportunities a reality for students, the Trump administration must follow ESSA’s congressional intent, and ensure states, districts, charters, and local schools have the most flexibility to spend their federal dollars where needed.

Robust funding for all well-rounded programs, including Title IV, Part A, must be a priority to protect this flexibility. Reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA)& the Student Debt Crisis Throughout the recent election cycle, candidates have recognized the prevalent student loan crisis within the United States. With ESSA the law of the land, the long overdue reauthorization of HEA represents the next step in reforming federal Education policy, through a thorough examination of the post-secondary education landscape. The Roundtable is devoted to serving the future of the music education profession. In light of ESSA’s commitment to providing all students with access to a well-rounded education, we hope HEA is reauthorized to support music and well-rounded educators through teacher preparation programs, teacher recruitment and retention opportunities, and student loan forgiveness eligibility.

Reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act As education and economic needs change in the 21st century, the educational environment must be prepared to adapt and incorporate innovative programs to fulfill those demands. We hope that the next reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act integrates a well-Rounded curriculum, so that schools can pioneer innovative courses, such as music technology and recording arts. Through revising this legislation, we give students the opportunity for success in non-traditional careers that consist of high-skill and high-wage occupations.

Support Military Readiness of Armed Forces One of our nation’s most important assets are our servicemen and women. Unfortunately, in recent years, our public education system has failed to sufficiently prepare young Americans for military service. According to The Education Trust, more than 1 in 5 high school graduates aspiring to join the Army could not score high enough on the military entrance exam to enlist. Studies have shown that schools with music programs demonstrate significantly higher graduation and class retention rates than those without such programs. By delivering robust funding to key well-rounded programs, like music, we strengthen our nation’s national security through providing educated, able, and qualified personnel.

Support U.S. Military Music Ensembles With dedication and integrity, U.S. military music ensembles connect American citizens of all generations through our country’s musical heritage. These service-men and women set one of the highest examples of musical achievement, pride in nation, and further the aspirations of all citizens, including young American music students across the nation. In addition, members of these ensembles uphold a significant role in music education by contributing countless hours of service each year, through special student outreach in a variety of demonstrations, clinics, and students. As ambassadors for the Armed Forces to students, citizens, and other countries, we ask that the Trump administration continue to support funding for U.S. military music ensembles.

Sep 28 2016

Music Education Roundtable: ACTION ALERT

After a usual long summer recess, Congress came back in session on Tuesday, September 6. With less than a month remaining until the fiscal deadline, Congress will more than likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government.

So how does this effect “Well-Rounded” programs within ESSA? Regardless of the CR’s duration, Congress will also begin negotiations for an Omnibus bill. Although none of the House and Senate appropriations bills made it beyond Committee approval, these serve as a touchstone for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees as they craft an Omnibus bill.

Neither the House nor Senate bill matches the authorized $1.65 billion level, but the most shocking variance is the $700 million difference for Title IV, Part A, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG). SSAEG was created and authorized in ESSA to provide supplemental funding to help states and school districts provide access to “Well-Rounded” education subjects, which now include music and the arts.

Voice the importance of music education to Congress by going to NAfME’s Grassroots Action Center and send a letter to your representatives, asking them to support music education and fully fund SSAEG at its $1.65 authorized level. For a quick refresher on the Government’s Appropriations Process, visit here.

Sep 28 2016

Dear Congress: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is Broken and No Longer Works for Creators.

Sep 28 2016


Remember watching the little orange AOL man walk across your screen as you waited to log on to the Internet? Hearing “You’ve Got Mail” upon entering the World Wide Web was a cultural phenomenon that excited everyone lucky enough to be granted access – until you were booted off when someone answered the phone. What a new and fickle technology the 1998 Internet was!

Naturally, this fickle technology has evolved tremendously in the past 18 years. And as we all know, so have the many ways in which music is distributed online. Unfortunately, a digital piracy law enacted by Congress way back in 1998 is still on the books today, but with the opposite intended effect. This antiquated law – called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – places an undue burden on creators by forcing them to police the entire Internet for instances of theft while unfairly favoring technology companies and rogue pirate sites. Perhaps searching for and taking down links to illegal uploads was possible back in 1998 when getting online required a landline and a prayer, but not so for today’s sophisticated Internet (the musicFIRST coalition, a broad-based coalition of artist and industry groups, has its clever take on the issue here).

Further, the DMCA has propagated an unfair licensing regime where some of the biggest ad-supported music services like YouTube pay artists and musicians peanuts, all while music consumption on those platforms has skyrocketed. The stark disparity between the meager music revenues from these services and the enormous amount of music consumption on them has been dubbed “the value gap.” In short, the DMCA has effectively helped enrich big tech companies who distribute music at the expense of artists and creators who have tirelessly worked to bring that music to life.

That’s why this past summer an unprecedented coalition of more than 500 artists – from superstars to independent artists spanning across all genres and generations – and 20 music organizations and companies signed an open letter to Congress decrying a broken DMCA. The open letter was published as advertisements in major Washington D.C. political publications, coming at a critical time as U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is reportedly planning to soon unveil reforms to U.S. copyright law. “As songwriters and artists who are a vital contributing force to the U.S. and to American exports around the world, we are writing to express our concern about the ability of the next generation of creators to earn a living,” reads the letter. “The DMCA simply doesn’t work…We ask you to enact sensible reform that balances the interests of creators with the interests of the companies who exploit music for their financial enrichment. It’s only then that consumers will truly benefit.”

As we all know, the music industry is relatively small compared to the weight of Silicon Valley who would prefer to keep the DMCA as is. But a unified music community lending its voice to ask for reforms sends a powerful message to policymakers. It’s important to stand together to strengthen the music economy and create a healthier, more stable ecosystem for the next generation of singers, songwriters, and musicians.

Apr 26 2016

2016 Legislative Agenda

2016 Federal Appropriations Requests

Who We Are:

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is among the world’s largest arts education organizations, representing more than 60,000 music educators across the nation. Advocating at the federal, state, and local levels, the Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels, grades PreK-16, for more than a century.

The Music Education Policy Roundtable (MEPR) is a coalition spearheaded by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), consisting of organizations such as the National Music Council who advocate for and support music education access for all children. MEPR believes that music education should be taught by certified music educators, delivering sequential, standards-based music education to all students across the nation, regardless of personal circumstance or background.

Overview of 2016 Requests:

With the recent passage and signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), NAfME and MEPR would like to take this time to thank Congress for passing this historic piece of legislation. The legislation’s enumeration of “music” as part of a “Well-Rounded Education” marks an unprecedented step forward for music education. As ESSA implementation gets under way, the most important request that our organizations can make is for Congress to fully fund this legislation. As such, the Roundtable has developed several specific appropriations requests, which we offer for consideration, as funding proposals begin to take shape in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding the programs authorized within ESSA.

Roundtable Federal Legislative Recommendations:

APPROPRIATE FUNDING FOR ALL ‘WELL-ROUNDED’ PROGRAMS: The inclusion of “music” within the definition of a “Well-Rounded Education” in ESSA provides a significant number of opportunities for supporting access to music education at the state and local levels. The specific enumeration of music in statute further articulates music’s eligibility for Title I, Title II, and Title IV funding. In order to realize the vision of maximizing these new federal resources in support of music education, Congress must do all that it can to prioritize ESSA funding during the upcoming appropriations process. As such, we ask that Congress:

  • Support Access to Music Education for the Most Disadvantaged Students by Fully Funding Title I, Part A: Title I, Part A programs, both school-wide and targeted, are now available to provide supplemental funds for a well-rounded education, including music.
Funding History for Title I to LEAs (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$14,409.80 $14,909.00 $15,359.80 $15,359.80
(Authorized Level)

Under the new ESSA, the School Improvement Grants (SIG) were eliminated and states are now required to reserve 7 percent of Title I, Part A funds to support school improvement in the place of this elimination. In order to ensure school districts do not see a decrease in Title I, Part A allocations due to this reservation, we ask Congress to fully fund for Title I, Part A at its authorized $15.36 billion level, which is the combined total Title I, Part A and SIG program funding in FY16.

  • Support Professional Development for Music Educators by Fully Funding Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A and F: These funds may be used to support professional development for music educators, as part of supporting a “Well-rounded Education.”
  • Supporting Effective Instruction, Title II, Part A (formerly, Teacher Quality Program)
Funding History (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$2,349.83 $2,349.83 $2,250.00 $2,290.00
(Authorized Level)
  • Assistance for Arts Education (formerly, Arts in Education), Title IV, Part F
Funding History (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$25.00 $27.00 $27.00 $30.00

Our music educators deliver an important role in enabling student success. Appropriate funding levels for these programs provide unique federal support for professional development for our educators and bolster the skills development they need to provide a high-quality music education for our nation’s students, part of Congress’ vision of a “Well-Rounded Education.”

  • Support Access to Music Education as Part of a Well-Rounded Education by Fully Funding Title IV, Part A:
    Under Title IV, Part A of ESSA, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) provides a new and clear intent to support our nation’s schools through a “Well-Rounded Education.” As such, this new competitive block-grant may be used in part to improve access to music education, and in turn, to support not only student success, but also the promotion of constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution. In addition, other funds may be utilized to offer a broad array of enriched educational experiences, such as providing music to underrepresented, disadvantaged, and minority student populations.

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), Title IV, Part A
Funding History (in millions)
ESSA Authorized Level FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$1,650.00 $500.00 $1,650.00
(Authorized Level)

Despite being the third largest authorized program within ESSA, the President’s FY17 Budget request only recommends $500 million for the grant, less than one-third of its authorized funding level, which Congress agreed upon in a bipartisan manner. By significantly underfunding this program, it undermines the greater flexibility that Congress had intended for states and districts, and would not allow schools to make meaningful investments in critical areas of need, such as school music programs.

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Mar 26 2015

Ask Congress to #StandWithSongwriters

The Songwriter Equity Act has been reintroduced. Take action now!

We are happy to report that Senators Hatch (R-UT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Alexander (R-TN), and Corker (R-TN) and Representatives Collins (R-GA) and Jeffries (D-NY) have recently reintroduced the Songwriter Equity Act in the new Congress.

This legislation, which was first introduced early last year, is important to music creators because it addresses two outdated sections of the US Copyright Act that currently limit your ability to get paid fairly when your music is streamed. We must deliver this message to Congress.

Songwriters, composers and music publishers rely on the royalty income they earn through two separate rights: the right to publicly perform their music works, and the right to make and distribute mechanical reproductions of those works.

Two outdated portions of the US Copyright Act, Section 114(i) and Section 115, currently prevent songwriters and composers from receiving royalties that reflect the fair market value of their intellectual property. This inequity harms America’s songwriters, composers and music publishers in the digital age.

To remedy this, SEA would allow a “rate court” to consider other royalty rates as evidence when establishing digital performance rates for songwriters and composers, and it would also adapt a fair rate standard for reproduction (mechanical) licenses.

Statement from ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams:

“The Songwriter Equity Act represents an important first step toward updating an outdated music licensing system that treats songwriters differently than other copyright owners and prevents us from earning a fair market royalty rate when our music is streamed or downloaded online. We are grateful to Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander and Corker and Representatives Collins and Jeffries for their efforts to attract bipartisan support for these simple and reasonable changes. They are vital to ensuring that next generation American songwriters are able to make a living creating the music we all love. We look forward to working with policymakers to reform the broader regulatory framework, including ASCAP’s outdated consent decree with the DOJ, so that music licensing better reflects the way people listen to music today.”

Click here to Take Action Now

Thank you in advance for your participation!

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Mar 05 2015

NMC Supports NY State Music Tax Credit Legislation – Join Us in Our Advocacy Effort

Legislation is pending in Albany that would provide a tax credit for music that is created and produced in New York. The legislation was conceived by Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol, and is championed by a coalition called New York is Music. The National Music Council supports the measure, and encourages the music community – especially those residing in NY State – to demonstrate to Assemblyman Lentol and the coalition that we are with them. Sound your voice on this important issue. Join the coalition at or by texting MUSIC to 52886. For further information, visit the links below:

NY Times piece

Lentol press release

Current draft of legislation

Jan 26 2015


On January 13th the Music Education Policy Roundtable, a coalition of likeminded organizations and institutions, advocating for high quality music education in America’s schools, identified its legislative priorities for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The Music Education Policy Roundtable has outlined these priorities for Congress: To create policies and teaching environments that give all students access to a well-rounded education which includes high quality instruction in music.

With the goal of soliciting bipartisan support to accomplish these goals on behalf of all students across America, the Music Education Policy Roundtable has identified five key areas of prioritization in this reauthorization:

I. STRENGTHENED STATUS: In order to strengthen the importance of music education in the law, for purposes of both garnering state-level funding and other forms of support, we ask that Congress maintain the core academic subject section in any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

II. INCREASED ACCESSIBILITY: In order to ensure that even the most disadvantaged students have access to high quality music education programs no matter their personal circumstance or background, we ask that Congress strengthen language throughout any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act so that it increases clarity as to the availability of such resources for use in this regard.

III. EQUITABLE TEACHER EVALUATION: In order to ensure that music educators are always evaluated by qualified individuals utilizing reliable measures germane to their discipline of study, and to make certain that ultimate accountability for all such measures is directly attributable to music teachers themselves, we ask that Congress offer language in any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, recommending the institutionalizing of this practice.

IV. BALANCED ACCOUNTABILITY: In order to ensure that, in making school district accountability determinations, “well-rounded” factors, such as achievement in music, are considered, in addition to state assessment results in reading/language arts and mathematics, we ask that Congress recognize the reliability of such multiple measures of performance, in developing corresponding State plans, in any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

V. ENHANCED TEACHER PREPARATION: In order to ensure that all federal granting opportunities for purposes of preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers and principals include a measure of consideration as to the importance of high quality music and arts education delivery abilities, we ask that Congress insert further clarifying language in any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The National Music Council is a member of the Music Education Policy Roundtable. 
For more information on the Roundtable and its legislative agenda, including the specific requests as they relate to ESEA Reauthorization, please visit the Roundtable’s website ( action/music-education-policy- roundtable/).

Oct 09 2014

Music Education Policy Roundtable Lobbies 114th Congress

The Music Education Policy Roundtable, of which NMC is a member, has drafted the following letter to the 114th Congress. We encourage everyone to support these policies by writing letters of their own to legislators.

Dear Senator/Representative:

On the eve of the 114th Congress, and with the state of our nation’s prekindergarten-12th schools ever in the forefront of the minds of voters and candidates, we ask that you make classroom music education a priority in any legislation pertaining to education—from preschool development funding to reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The Music Education Policy Roundtable, a coalition of 30 organizations standing together to promote music education for every U.S. student, uphold the following status for music education and seven legislative priorities:

  • Core Status: In order to ensure that all students receive a comprehensive education including sequential, standards-based music education as part of the core curriculum, we ask that Congress maintain the status of the arts as a core academic subject in any reauthorization of the ESEA.

  • Evaluation: Congress and the U.S. Department of Education should offer guidance language recommending that music educators be evaluated on how well their students learn and achieve in their respective disciplines. Accountability for any and all such measures of evaluation should be directly attributable to certified music teachers. New evaluation systems should be developed in the context of the number of students being taught and instructional time available, limiting the use of data to reliable measures. Likewise, observation-based teacher evaluations should be limited to those conducted by individuals with expertise in music education.

  • Research: Congress should mandate that the U.S. Department of Education develop and carry out the process of collecting and disseminating federal data pursuant to the status of music education programs in order to generally benefit the field, and to assist organizations working to accurately gauge the landscape and provide support to educators in areas of the country where music education is threatened.

  • Accountability: Congress should include in any re-authorization of the ESEA, accountability provisions that include a measure of and for student achievement in music, to be implemented in a manner that ensures fairness to all students.

  • Funding: Congress should ensure that all appropriate federal funding streams authorized under the ESEA, particularly Title I monies, are made available for purposes of teaching music and for music education teacher training.

  • Accessibility: Congress and the U.S. Department of Education should offer language acknowledging the nationwide trend of reduced school day time for music education programs, and recommending that this trend be reversed, via an increased focus on the delivery of comprehensive curricula of learning.

  • Charter Schools: The U.S. Department of Education should offer guidance language to those involved in the development and administration of public charter schools, recommending that curricular decisions be made with an eye toward providing all students with a comprehensive education, including music taught by certified educators.

  • Early Childhood Education: Congress should ensure that all appropriate federal funding for early childhood education, including but not limited to those funds made available under Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, as well as any proposed legislation, is made available for early music education and for purposes of early music education teacher training. Further, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education should issue guidance language clarifying the availability of funds under such programs for the purpose of early music education. 

    Please keep these priorities in mind as you clarify your positions on educational priorities during election season, and when you return to Capitol Hill in January. Our nation’s progress depends on the success of our students, and we know music education is a critical component of a complete education, preparing students for the 21st century workforce. 
Will you stand with us in these commitments to music education? We look forward to your statement of support.

    Click here for more information about the Music Education Policy Roundtable.

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