What's going on with Music Education in Rhode Island?
Several communities in Rhode Island have made or are now making drastic cuts to public school music programs. The sad truth is that Music Education is frequently the first place many schools systems look to cut costs. Often, a majority of students from the hardest-hit of these communities fall near or below the poverty line, and their only chance for musical instruction and exposure to the arts lies in public education. Ironically, the federal No Child Left Behind Act lists "the Arts" as a "CORE ACADEMIC" subject area, part of the basic education of every child. More so, there are new fine arts graduation requirements being implemented, which require students demonstrate a basic proficiency in one of the fine arts.
How does this affect me?
If you live in any of these communities, or your children attend school in these communities , this affects you directly. Your children may no longer have an opportunity to study music, to learn instruments, to sing in choirs. As a resident, cutting the arts has a tremendously negative effect on our schools. The long term results would be lower property values, discouraging people from residing in said communities.
Why is music education so important?
Music is a part of a basic, well-rounded education, particularly in a urban setting such as Providence. To rob our children of an arts education, something that will so deeply impact the adults that they will grow-up to be... that should be the last place that we should look to cut costs.
What can I do?
Sign up for NAfME Advocacy Groundswell! The purpose of the NAfME Advocacy Groundswell is to cultivate an online community of NAfME members from across the country interested in participating in advocacy initiatives, engaging in discussions about advocacy and regularly digesting advocacy news.You can also help by simply taking a few minutes to write a letter, compose an e-mail, or make a phone call. Apathy has become the standard... a local politician once said that seven letters on an issue is a big turnout. Everyone else assumes that someone else will take care of it!
- Please call your local representative and senator NOW. If you do not know your local Representative or your Senator, please click here. Suggested Call: Hello, my name is [Name]. My child attends [School Name]. I am calling to urge you to support an increased level of state funding that will give all public school students in Rhode Island a quality and complete education, which should include music and the arts. I will vote for you, if you vote to support public education. Thank you! (Or, use your own words and say more if you want.) Be sure to leave this important message on the answering machine or with the secretary.
- You can also support our music programs by writing letters to the editor or calling talk-radio programs.
- Attend local school board meetings and sign up to voice your opinion about cuts to Music Education.
- Download some ammunition... and circulate them! RIMEA reminds you that you may need to check with your school's administrator before sending home flyers with your students.