NAfME’s broader mindedTM Campaign Wins Power of A® Silver Award
“The Power of A Awards recognize a select number of organizations annually that distinguish themselves with innovative, effective and broad-reaching programs and activities that positively impact America and the world,” explained ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV. “The Power of A Awards recognize and celebrate the extraordinary contributions associations make to society by enriching lives, creating a competitive workforce, preparing society for the future, driving innovation and making a better world. Power of A Awards are the highest industry recognition that a program can receive.”
Understanding that music not only impacts academic achievement, but also shapes the way our students understand themselves and the world around them, broader minded promotes sequential, standards-based classroom music accessibility by emphasizing the need to educate the whole student. With an interactive website, other media, background documents, and merchandise, the campaign provides music education advocates—teachers, students, parents, and supporters—necessary arguments for the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of music education to use in making their cases for their programs.
Teachers and other music education supporters sought a more comprehensive and effective means of advocating for their necessary place in the education spectrum for music’s own sake alone. NAfME pulled out testimonies from teachers and students that demonstrated these inherent benefits, as well as the gap-filling and achievement benefits. Advocates can use the interactive website to find the points they need to make, along with footnoted research to back up their arguments effectively on the local, state, and national level with education policy. To date, the campaign has brought in over 2,000 personalized testimonies of music education’s impact.
Background. NAfME recognized the education community’s, as well as general public’s, fatigue with the education “reform” movement (overemphasis on testing, rampant cheating scandals, and overall teacher and student burnout, as well as parental exasperation). Traditionally, the music education field has been rather “inward-looking.” Listening to the needs of our 80,000 members, NAfME launched broader minded in February 2014 in order to pool together the research and arguments for the extrinsic benefits of music (from improving math and reading scores to increasing graduation rates) and go beyond those arguments to advocate for “music for music’s sake.” We wanted to change the conversation and remind people that education is about more than preparing kids to get jobs—it’s about preparing the whole child and creating developed people. Once actualized, the campaign became about how to utilize that strategy to conduct effective, impactful music education advocacy.
“Twenty-first century skills,” like grit, creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, are the ideas in the forefront of education policy as we seek to raise up a new generation of students ready to lead as they enter the workforce. Broader minded demonstrates how music education creates these and other strengths in students when they have access to sequential, standards-based music education. With this outward-facing platform, along with social media resources, NAfME has stepped into a new, more relevant role as the leader in music education advocacy, challenging policymakers and legislators to meet this critical need among our students—our future leaders—and the educators preparing them.
Ask any public school music teacher why music programs should remain an integral part of the curriculum, and be prepared to spend an hour listening to the reasons why. With broader minded NAfME has fundamentally changed the conversation on music education, fully reinventing music education advocacy. It challenges assumptions about music’s often-perceived supplemental role in school curriculum. It effectively articulates new arguments stressing the importance of music in every child’s education, equipping teachers and parents to advocate for their students’ complete education. It takes music educators off the defensive, establishing their necessity.
We are so pleased to be recognized by ASAE for our most exciting campaign to date. Please join us as we increase the momentum of advocating music for music’s sake by adding your voice to the campaign here. And then sign the petition to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education asking their funding and research policy decisions reflect their acknowledgment of music as a core subject.
Catherina Hurlburt, Special Assistant, July 31, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)