NAfME Statement “On Affirming All Students”

NAfME recently released a statement “on affirming all students” and we wanted to share it with you. MMEA supports NAfME’s leadership toward more inclusive, equitable, and just music instruction. The actions toward this change will need to come from the “grassroots”–from us, as the membership. Creating equitable access to culturally relevant music instruction will require us to critically examine practices and systems in our own schools, explore the responsiveness in our own pedagogy, and consider any role that systems in music education might play in setting up or supporting injustice. That is: as the statement points out, all children are entitled to a music education that is responsive to their needs. Are we ready to examine our systems and practices to see if we are doing that? Are we willing to change if we found that we are less inclusive than we thought?

MMEA is committed to effecting needed changes to music education practices and systems at the state and national levels, and we stand ready to work with teachers to create more equitable, inclusive, just, and responsive music education programs at local levels throughout Michigan. We invite all of your participation and collaboration–please reach out to us with your questions, suggestions, struggles, and successes–we are here to support you as we work toward our common goal of music for all students in Michigan.

The MMEA Executive Committee
A Message from NAfME:
On Affirming All Students
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is dedicated to the making and understanding of music by all. As such, we strongly advocate for the inclusion of all students in music classrooms. Our mission, our vision, and our values cannot be realized in a world defined by the acts of terror and aggression that white supremacists displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past week. Hatred has no place in our nation’s communities or schools, and the idea that any group is inherently superior to another is incompatible with NAfME’s stated mission and our values. It is also incompatible with the engaged, responsive learning that is experienced in music education classrooms across our nation. In June, NAfME adopted a new statement addressing Equity and Access in Music Education and updated our statement on Inclusivity and Diversity. These statements together provide action steps we plan to undertake as an Association, in partnership with our members and our federated state associations across the nation, to support the study of music by all children, K-12, in our nation’s schools. In our Inclusivity and Diversity Position Statement, we have stated:
A well-rounded and comprehensive music education program should exist in every American school; should be built on a curricular framework that promotes awareness of, respect for, and responsiveness to the variety and diversity of cultures; and should be delivered by teachers whose culturally responsive pedagogy enable them to successfully design and implement such an inclusive curricular framework.
We call on all music educators to continue to create safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for all students. Music-making is an act of community-building, whether in a general music kindergarten class or for an advanced drumming ensemble in high school. All children have a right to a music education as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act, and should learn in their music classes the best of what American society has to offer – engagement; teamwork, creative collaboration; effective communication; diversity; and mutual respect and support.
And we call on all Americans to work toward an environment where all children feel safe, affirmed, and welcomed.