Music education in this country is at the mercy of educational policy.
The Curriculum page listed the National Standards (1994) and the new National Core Arts Standards (2014).
Music Standards at a Glance
The new standards are designed to complement the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and math.
Policymakers consistently identify the arts as core subjects, and as such, every school has a responsibility to ensure that all of its students have a curriculum that includes the arts.
Do elementary music teachers behave as core curriculum teachers?
Some music teachers give an "A" in music to all children who participate or try.
This may stem from even the music teacher's 'buy in' that music class should just be fun and is not a serious class.
They may think it is unfair to give a lower grade to someone who is not "talented" in music.
It would be unthinkable to apply that philosophy to the math class - to give all students an "A" if they participate and are trying.
Not all children are good at math. Not all children are good at music. Hmmm . . . .
Core subjects are formally assessed.
Why should elementary music students be assessed at all?
What is the purpose of assessment?
How can elementary music students be assessed?
If someone wanted to fire you, they would need documentation.
If you were afraid someone was trying to fire you, you would be smart to assemble your own documentation.
A prosecutor or defense attorney will use documentation to make a case.
Assessment is just another form of documentation in your advocacy case.
How to teach (pedagogy) and what to teach (curriculum) are very dependent upon the amount of time allowed to teach and the circumstances in which we teach. This brings us back to policy. Many decisions are made outside our control. All music educators are also music advocates. It is all too often necessary to justify music education on many levels. We must justify time spent on music, money spent on music, space spent on music, even entire programs and our own jobs.
Are you a good music advocate? What are your arguments? How do you/have you/would you convince administrators, the community, parents, students that music education for children is justified and even important on all of these levels?
The best way to be an advocate for your program and to affect policy is to have observable and measureable results.