AdvocacyJuly 2020 KMEA North Central District Advocacy
Message from the Chair:
As the KMEA North Central District Advocacy Chair, I planned to start a series of monthly messages loosely based on themes based on those months of the school year. I didnt at all expect to start it like this.
June and July are typically the times, as music teachers, we attend conferences, workshops, or development opportunities in our specific content areas; we make plans or actually start rehearsing with our groups; perhaps some start beginners on instruments for the very first time; and of course there are a few of us that take a little time off. And then there was this year& As many of us are trying to plan for the start of this school year, whenever that may be, I would like to share some thoughts and ideas that may help you when communicating with the stakeholders in your school:
- If you havent done it yet, reach out to your administration. If you have ideas on how to make music work in your situation, let them know it. They are as overwhelmed as you are, if not more. Taking that off their plate will go a long way.
- Be prepared to provide solutions before the decision is made for you. Related to the first point, if you have a plan, let everyone know what you are willing to do.
- Be prepared that you will likely be asked to do some function in your school that was not necessarily in your job description. Be understanding and do whats needed. Be a part of the solution.
- Be appreciative of the time and work put in by others. Everyone is doing more work than they ever expected to do to prepare for a completely new return to school. Let them know that their work has not gone unnoticed.
- If you can, reach out to parents and students to let them know you are thinking of them and that you are working hard to make sure music will be a part of their lives again once we are back in school.
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 chair, I am here for any teacher, parent, program, or school to help provide guidance and resources for music education advocacy. You will find my contact information below, and please do not hesitate to contact me 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.