Michigan Music Education Advocacy Day

Update: The Arts Education Advocacy Day scheduled for April 20, 2023 has been cancelled. We are hoping to reschedule at a later date in May, so please watch this page for future updates.

Arts Education Advocacy Day

Advocating for Arts Education for ALL Students

Every PK-12 student in Michigan deserves equal access to a comprehensive and sequential arts education, taught by certified, endorsed music and art educators as part of a well-rounded curriculum.

Why are music classes important? Does every student have equitable access?

  1. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes important language that clearly states that students should have opportunities to engage in a broad curriculum as part of a “well-rounded” education and that music and art should be a part of every student’s education. Additionally, strong arts programs support the state’s Top Ten Strategic Education Plan goals. 
  2. Arts classes provide places where ALL students can be successful. Music and art allow students to be creative and innovative. Gaining artistic literacy also fosters personal growth by integrating physical, emotional, and cognitive selves, bringing students and communities together.
  3. However, access is not equitable in Michigan. In 2017-2018, 82.2% of schools employed a music teacher, but only two-thirds of urban schools reported having music teachers, while other locales were significantly more likely to do so. Just over half of charters had music teachers compared to 86.4% of traditional public schools. Title I-eligible schools had fewer music teachers, as did schools with the greatest proportions of economically disadvantaged students and students of color. Data from 2011-2012 suggest uneven access to art education as well. 
  4. The bottom line: we need strong policy to support access. This means a K-5 arts requirement, sustaining a 1 credit arts graduation requirement, updating standards, and collecting updated data on school-level access/resources. 

Why are the arts a vital part of students’ schooling? 

  1. Arts classes support engagement in school, empathy, and a range of cognitive skills and achievement across the curriculum. They provide visibility and pride for communities. 
  2. Arts classes offer some of the only cooperative group environments in schools. These make them natural facilitators of relationship-building and social awareness skills. Additionally, goal-setting, self-management, and creativity are inherent in the process-focused work of learning to achieve in music. 
  3. Schools have smartly prioritized holistic education as they acknowledge the toll that COVID-19 has taken on students’ well-being. Music classrooms are an essential place for the development of a sense of community. 
  4. The bottom line: Schools with music programs are vibrant places to be, and we can support districts in providing well-rounded music experiences. 

What can legislators do to help support music education in Michigan?Support legislation to guarantee K-5 arts education.  Proposed bills would authorize best practice guidelines for K-5 general music contact time and teaching environment and would help to ensure high quality arts education experiences for all Michigan students.

Virtual Advocacy Day 2021

Parents from Edmonson Elementary from Detroit Public Schools Community District recorded testimonials on the importance of music in their child’s education. Shared with state legislators at the virtual Advocacy Day 2021.

Justin Long
Danielle Brown
Ellen Gilcrest

2018 Advocacy Day Performers:
MMEA: Longacre Elementary School 2nd Graders (Farmington Hills), Jennifer Bailey director
MSVMA: Skyline High School “Skyline Blues” (Ann Arbor), Lyn CieChanski director
MSBMA: Okemos High School String Quartet (Okemos), Joel Schut director

Please Ryan Shaw, Advocacy Chair, with any questions: rshaw@msu.edu or phone 517-884-9416.

The Michigan Music Education Association is a professional organization that serves music educators, students, parents, and community members through leadership in the advancement of music teaching and learning. MMEA offers professional development workshops throughout the state and performance opportunities for elementary, middle & high school students. MMEA has a strong history of providing state and national advocacy/legislative support and outreach to pre-service, current and retired Michigan music educators of all experience levels. MMEA is a proud state-affiliate of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

Nikolas Simon, 2017 violin soloist (Conant Elementary School, Bloomfield Hills)