Berklee Students Advocate for Music Education in Washington, D.C.
Students and faculty from Berklee's Music Education Department participated in Hill Day and Collegiate Advocacy Summit, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), last month in Washington, D.C. The annual summit, held in conjunction with the NAfME's National Leadership Assembly, provides students with leadership skills and tools to advocate for legislative support for music education.
“Attending Hill Day helped me grow as an educator and make valuable connections with people who are also in pursuit of educational equity.”
—Juan Pimentel, student
Four Berklee students—Emily Browne, Nate Evans, Juan Pimentel, and Michael Riddle—were part of a Massachusetts collegiate delegation that reported on the importance of music education for all students to senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and representatives Seth Moulton, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan. They were joined by more than 140 college representatives from the around the country, including the national and state leadership of NAfME, to request increased funding for Titles I, II, and IV-A in the FY20 budget.
“Seeing so many people, from students to teachers to government officials, come together to advocate for music education and tell their stories on how music changed each of their lives truly reignited my passion towards ensuring that every single student is provided with equal access to music education,” said Pimentel. “Attending Hill Day helped me grow as an educator and make valuable connections with people who are also in pursuit of educational equity.”
Cecil Adderley, chair of Berklee's Music Education Department, says that many Berklee graduates who participated in the summit went on to become leaders in their school districts. He believes the training helps to equip Berklee students with valuable skills they need to work with school boards, principals, superintendents, and state and federal representatives.
“Our students will be able, as teachers, to be a part of a school-wide plan that uses this funding," said Adderley. "This is particularly crucial in high-poverty schools, an area in which many of our students have expressed an interest in making a difference.”
Browne, another Berklee student who took part in the summit, left the event feeling inspired: “Overall, this experience is one I will cherish for a lifetime. It made me so proud to be part of such an important profession, and I cannot wait to see what the future has to hold for music educators everywhere."