Contrary to state and local pressures to de-emphasize and de-fund music and arts education, a new NAMM Foundation-funded, nationwide study of 1,000 teachers and 800 parents finds strong support for music education at all grade levels. “Striking a Chord: The Public’s Hopes and Beliefs for K-12 Music Education in the United States 2015,” was unveiled May 19 at the National Press Club during NAMM’s annual D.C. Fly-In for Music Education. The study finds that strong majorities of teachers and parents say music education is very important and should continue to be funded, even at the expense of other programs and classes.
“The data couldn’t be more clear,” said Peter Grunwald, President of Grunwald Associates LLC, the research firm that conducted the survey. “Teachers and parents told us repeatedly that music is an essential part of learning, not merely an ‘extracurricular activity’ that can be cut when times get tough.”
According to the survey conducted in January-February 2015:
- Seventy-seven percent of teachers and 64 percent of parents agree that music and arts education are “extremely important” or “very important.”
- Eighty-seven percent of teachers and 81 percent of parents believe children should have a chance to learn to play musical instruments as early as elementary school.
- Sixty-three percent of teachers and 57 percent of parents believe music education should be a required subject in middle school.
“Teachers speak from first-hand experience on what matters to keeping kids engaged in school and learning,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. “And nobody is more personally invested in kids’ long-term success than parents. What we see here is that parents and teachers overwhelmingly agree on the importance of providing every child with access to music education in school.”
The “No Child Left Behind Act,” passed in 2001, specifically included arts education as a core academic subject. But the legislation also elevated math, reading and other subjects tied to high-stakes tests above other elements of a well-rounded, academic experience, and many school districts responded by cutting back on arts and music programs. The unintended consequences resonated nationwide by 2010, when, according to the U.S. Department of Education, 40 percent of high schools didn’t require coursework in the arts for graduation.
Read more on the NAMM website