NAMM Foundation Survey Reveals 'Best Communities for Music Education' In the United States

5/7/2010 [Corporate]

Designation Provides Crucial Support for Local Music Education Advocates as They Fight to Save Funding for School Music Programs

Best Communities for Music Education
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Amid a dramatic backdrop of school budget cuts, the NAMM Foundation today announced the results of its 11th annual "Best Communities for Music Education" survey, which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment to and support of music education in schools. The announcement came today as a part of NAMM's "National Wanna Play Music Week," (May 3-7) a week-long promotion designed to encourage people of all ages and skill levels to experience the proven benefits of playing music.

As the economy hinders state and local school budgets to adequately support music education, the 174 school districts named by the NAMM Foundation demonstrate a commitment to providing music education for their students.

The 2010 designation as a Best Community for Music Education comes at a precarious moment, as school districts nationwide are voting on their budgets in the coming weeks. According to the NAMM Foundation, this "Best Communities" designation represents not only a distinction worthy of pride, but a call to action for local music education advocates to help preserve - and in some cases, save - their current music education programs.

"Past designees have benefited by receiving this mark of excellence, but this year's economic environment is challenging for many communities," says Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. "Even having earned this designation, schools are working hard to keep programs strong in the midst of some of the deepest education cuts seen in decades. We hope this award presented at this critical time will compel communities to re-consider cuts that we know are in play in many districts across the U.S."

"This year's survey data reaffirms the power of community support and commitment for music education as critical elements in quality schools," added Luehrsen. "Music education plays a vital role in student success in school and in life. We urge schools nationwide to include comprehensive music and arts education planning in their competitive federal ‘Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation' funding programs to sustain and expand local music education initiatives."

The 2010 survey, which opened on Thursday, January 17 and ended Friday, March 12, was available to all districts nationwide. This year, teachers and school district administrators, representing communities across the country, participated in the web-based survey. The districts were measured across curricular and programmatic criteria as well as public support of their music programs. The survey was developed and administered by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

Each school receiving the "Best Communities" designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey's grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their communities' music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials, and advisory organizations reviewed the data.

Throughout the survey's 11 years, many districts have reported that making the "Best Communities" list has had a positive effect on their ability to preserve music for their students.

In conducting the annual survey, The NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts (www.americansforthearts.org), League of American Orchestras (www.americanorchestras.org), The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org), The Metropolitan Opera Guild (www.operaed.org), The Music for All Foundation (www.music-for-all.org), Music Teachers National Association ( www.mtna.org), National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (www.nationalguild.org), National PTA (www.pta.org), Yamaha Corporation of America (www.yamaha.com) and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (www.vh1savethemusic.com). The survey was conducted by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, KS, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

The complete "Best Communities for Music Education" roster can be viewed alphabetically here: http://www.namm.org/news/press-releases/namm-foundation-survey-reveals-best-communities-mu or at www.nammfoundation.org.

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