The Coalition on Coalitions (CoCs) supports NAMM members and their networks working on state-level music and arts education advocacy efforts. The Wisconsin network provides tactics, resources and best practices to move and improve state-level policies, funding and advocacy for music and arts education.

State Profile

To customize your state profile to reflect the current education advocacy partnerships in your state, please contact Jessica Cortez.

Action Alerts

Advocating for a well-rounded education for each and every student is more important than ever. As communities and school boards are voting for their 2021 budget assignments, be certain to let them know that music and art IS possible and necessary for the well-being of our students.

  • Get involved with the Wisconsin Music Educators Association Advocacy Committee, open to teachers and business leaders who are passionate about ensuring every student has a well-rounded education.
  • Attend a school board meeting and voice the importance of offering music education to each and every student.
  • Reach out to local and federal leaders and urge them to budget music and arts into the 2021 school offerings and beyond.
  • Contact Congress to support full funding FY2021 Education Appropriations for ESSA’s Title IV, Part A at its authorized level of $1.65 billion to ensure that the well-rounded-education goals of ESSA are realized for every child. Urge ongoing support of national arts and culture organizations such as The National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Ask the Governor and state education officials to utilize ESSA’s Title IV funding to support and expand music education programs.
  • Discuss contingency plans regarding 2021 music programming with your school district. Offer your assistance and find a way into those conversations.
  • Congratulate those schools or districts who were awarded 2020 Best Communities in Music Education, and encourage them to continue the great work they are doing. If your school or district is not listed, encourage them to consider filling out the application as a way to gauge where their program is and where it could go. 2020 BCME listings can be found here: https://www.nammfoundation.org/articles/bcme-2020-districts


June 25th, 2020 - The Wisconsin Music Educators Association was the recipient of the NAfME 2020 Excellence in Advocacy Award, including recognition of the efforts that led to passage of Act 85, the Milwaukee Public Schools success story, proactive advocacy efforts related to COVID-19 (COVID Action Plan Meetings, WMEA Online Teaching Project, Advocacy Resources, etc), and more. This award was presented at the NAfME 2020 National Assembly. Congrats to all connected to the WMEA Advocacy Committee!

On June 16th, 2020 NAMM hosted a virtual Music Advocacy Summit. NAMM members, educators, parents and supporters from Wisconsin and across the world were trained on how to contact Members of Congress as well as state and local officials about the essential role music learning plays in every child’s education. NAMM Advocacy Summit Resources are available at: namm.org/issues-and-advocacy/2020-advocacy-summit.

On April 16th, 2020, Arts Wisconsin hosted Creative Wisconsin Day as part of Creative Wisconsin Month. During this virtual event, attendees learned about how to contact state legislators regarding the impact of the creative sector on Wisconsin’s people, community and economy.

On February 6th, 2020 Governor Evers signed the 2019 Wisconsin Act 85 into law, which"...requires the Department of Public Instruction to include in the annual school district and school accountability report, commonly referred to as school and school district report cards, the percentage of pupils participating in music, dance, drama and visual arts."

This bill, authored by Representative Kooyenga (R) , passed in both the Assembly and Senate in 2019 with bipartisan support. This will help communities better understand and support the Music and Arts offerings in their school districts. Active Wisconsin music advocates began lobbying for this initiative in 2018 as a reaction to the detrimental effects of ACT 10 on music education.

Wisconsin has been facing an on-going educational crisis due to the changes introduced via ACT 10 in 2011. After its passage Wisconsin saw a dramatic increase in the number of early retirements in educators and have since experienced a declining rate in the number of young people choosing to make a career in education. The WMEA Advocacy Committee has been working on slowing this decline by initiating programs such as Dynamic Futures, which helps advance students’ interest and passion for becoming instrumental music educators, and supports the development of individual and collective dynamic futures in music education.

On February 12th, 2020 a team of Wisconsin music education advocates met in Madison for the annual WMEA Drive-In for Advocacy. The team was joined by local educators and representatives from Brass Bell Music Store, Knapton Musik Knotes, White House of Music and Heid Music. The legislative visits were formatted with three main goals in mind, to thank them for their support of Act 85, to educate them on DPI Administrative Rule regarding licensure in the state of Wisconsin, and to ask for their support going forward as advocacy continues for well-rounded education for all of our students.

Currently, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Administrative Rule PI 8.01(2)(j) articulates that: "...music instruction shall be provided for all pupils in grades kindergarten through 6 and shall be performed by or under the direction of a licensed music teacher. Music instruction including general music, vocal music, and instrumental music shall be available to all pupils in grades 1-12 and shall be taught by a licensed music teacher."

It is important for schools to comply with this rule as part of providing a well-rounded education, not only because of the support it provides to other subject areas, attendance and mental health, but also the impact it makes on the entire human experience. DPI also recently approved new licensure rules that we will be monitoring as they are implemented between now and 2023. Under these new rules, future music teachers will earn a single-license music degree rather than a focused degree in choral, instrumental or general music. While this provides flexibility, the degree will now favor breadth over depth in preparing teaching candidates. Legislatures are being made aware of these changes as there may be additional needs as a result.

Throughout the day, the combined team of advocates attended 29 hill visits, along with several drop in visits. The main purpose of the drop-in visits was to congratulate Senators on the schools in their districts who were awarded Best Communities in Music Education (BCME), which recognizes and celebrates school districts and individual schools for their outstanding commitment to music education in their community.

All of this comes on the heels of an incredible victory for the largest public school district in Wisconsin. September 2019, after hearing testimony from over 70 unique voices, the Milwaukee School Board approved the addition of 85 Full Time Licensed Music teachers over the next 5 years. The process was emotional as the Milwaukee Music Educators Association gathered stories from students, teachers, artists, arts agencies, community members, business owners, college professors, parents and administrators over the course of 3 hours. With this in place, the number of teachers will be doubled and music education will be on course to thrive in the Milwaukee community.

NAMM Member Contact

Lizzy Cichowski
Brass Bell Music

State Music & Arts Organizations

Wisconsin Music Educators Association
Wisconsin Advocates for Music Education 
Arts Wisconsin 
Americans for the Arts, Arts Services Directory for Wisconsin
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