Efforts to Keep Music Education Available in Schools Receives Strong Boost

Education Secretary Rod Paige Urges Schools Not to Cut Arts Programs

July 26, 2004

Education Secretary Rod Paige gave a strong boost to, the entity’s affiliates throughout the United States and community-based arts and music education advocates everywhere when he sent a two-page letter last week to America’s school superintendents (approximately 16,000 nationwide) urging them not to cut art programs. Secretary Paige’s directive also encourages states and local communities to access funding available through Department funding programs, or Title programs, to support arts education programs. The arts are identified as part of the core curriculum in No Child Left Behind education legislation. was launched in 2003 by the Music Education Coalition with the goal of offering resources and information to parents, educators and organizations to help guarantee music education to every student. Since its inception, has joined with dozens of national and local affiliates to generate support of music education in schools.

Secretary Paige issued the letter after learning that arts education programs are in trouble because of the No Child Left Behind Act. District leaders warned that state budget cuts and the focus on math and reading in schools have limited arts instruction. Paige appointed former National Endowment for the Arts Education Director Doug Herbert as a special assistant to ensure that the arts do not get shortchanged under NCLB.

“As I travel the country, I often hear that arts education programs are endangered because of No Child Left Behind…It is disturbing and just plain wrong,” Paige wrote. “For both the important knowledge and skills they impart and the ways in which they help students to succeed in school and in life, the arts are an important part of a complete education… As we work together to implement NCLB, let’s ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn and grow in and through the arts.”

“We welcome Secretary Paige’s clear directive on the role that the arts play in the overarching goals of the current No Child Left Behind legislation,” states Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations NAMM (International Music Products Association) and Executive Director IFMR (International Foundation for Music Research). “Research affirms the importance of music and arts education as part of the core curriculum, equipping children with the skills they need to create a positive future. If we want to assure achievement and success for our children both in school and in life, we must make sure that they have access to music and the arts today and in the future.”

ABOUT SUPPORTMUSIC.COM is the source of information for the largest initiative ever in support of school music programs. Dedicated to inspiring action to support music education, the initiative offers resources to parents and educators to help them impact decision-makers to provide the funding, teachers and equipment needed for music education. The initiative was launched by the Music Education Coalition, an entity formed by NAMM, the International Music Products Association and MENC, the National Association for Music Education.

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