Bailey helps lobby $16.8 billion for well-rounded education

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Minot State music education major Emily Bailey helped lobby to United States Congress members $16.8 billion worth of funding for a well-rounded education nationwide.

This summer, Bailey attended the 2019 Hill Day Summit, an annual National Association for Music Education (NAfME) convention in which collegiate members go to Capitol Hill and advocate for national music education.

The bills discussed this year included several topics, the first being the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act. This act changed the widely adopted educational acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to STEAM to include the arts as part of the language in the U.S. education budget.

“Really what these bills were about were making a well-rounded education which actually included music and the fine arts. Even though we were fighting for music, we were actually fighting for all general education, so math, science, technology, the whole nine yards,” said Bailey.

Some appropriations of the budget were also reviewed to ensure equal opportunity between disciplines to receive funding and support.

“All educators and any subject will have the same potential to get funding if they applied for it. Me as a math teacher asking for government funding is now equal to the music teacher asking for funding is equal to the science teacher. There’s no longer one department over the other,” Bailey said.

Funding for educators’ supplemental materials, like professional development and financial support post-graduation, also were prominent focuses of the convention.

Support for the arts, like any subject, is a continuous need, but the arts’ impact on students tends to be less obvious than other subjects. 

Bailey encountered this when speaking to some Congress members individually.

“A lot of people participate in music and don’t realize how it affected them going through school. They sat there and were like, oh yeah, I played the violin all the way up through college; I got a music scholarship to go to school,” she said. “You might not have chosen it to be your career, but it helped you become who you are. It's kind of cool having that little niche, how we all kind of connect through music. They don’t think about it firsthand because they're like, oh, well I went to school for law. Well your scholarship was through music.”

Erik Anderson, chair of the Minot State Division of Music, has experienced this phenomenon as well.

“It is a critical need that there are more line item things, line item meaning it’s part of the annual budget and the teacher doesn’t have to come up with it,” he said. “It's really hard to suggest that you need paper, ukuleles, manuscript, and other stuff that’s more of a hard sell.”

On top of issues inside music classrooms, there are issues simply getting qualified music teachers into the classroom, with there being shortages of them nationwide.

“I have talked to graduates of this program who are teaching colleagues of mine in schools right here in Minot and surrounding areas, and they definitely see this as a crisis,” said Anderson. “There are more jobs than teachers right now. If we had 10 graduates last year, they all would have had jobs in music.”

Bailey believes that working the term “well-rounded” into the national budget will “push our college kids and get more funding so that we can put quality teachers in rural areas and in small town North Dakota and in Hawaii and in all of these crazy places that don’t have them right now.”

In addition to music, Bailey also advocated for overall educational needs.

“It wasn't about us being music teachers doing it.  It was about educators in general coming together to fight for a budget that our country needs, not just our state,” said Bailey. With our (NAfME) chapter here, I'm just really trying to bring the point home and get them to want to be as inspired and to fight for what we are and who we are more than what we already do.”

The Minot State NAfME chapter will host their annual Haunted House in the bottom of Old Main on October 19, 2019 from 7-11 p.m.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 09/27/19   

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