Tester Celebrates First Week of School By Pushing for More Music and Art Education

Senator's Bill Will Ensure More Montana Students Receive Well-Balanced Education

(U.S. Senate)-As classrooms across Montana welcome students back for another year, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing to increase access to music and art education in rural schools.

Tester today introduced the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act to pave the way for local schools to provide students with a well-balanced education and use funding to increase music and art education.

“Too many Montana students are going back to school this week, but don’t have the opportunity to study music or art,” said Tester, a former music teacher in Big Sandy. “Research shows that when students study music and art, their attendance, classroom participation, and grades improve-including in science and math courses. This bill helps ensure that schools can provide these life-changing learning opportunities to our future leaders.”

Tester’s bill is supported by the Montana Music Educators Association.

“As an affiliate of The National Association for Music Education, the Montana Music Educators Association’s primary mission is to promote the understanding and making of music by all,” said Dr. Kristin Harney, President of the Montana Music Educators Association. “We are thrilled about Senator Jon Tester’s introduction of a Senate companion to the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act and proud of the role that Montana Music Educators Association plays in advocating for music education. Thank you to Senator Tester and his entire staff for their work on this bill.”

“As an Association representing more than 131,000 members of the music education community, we cannot think of a better individual to introduce this legislation than one of our own, Senator Jon Tester,” said Mike Blakeslee, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for Music Education. “We are thrilled to support him in introducing the Senate’s version of the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education Act. NAfME thanks him for his leadership on this important issue and we look forward to working with Senator Tester in improving student access to a sequential and standards-based music education.”

Tester’s bill will encourage schools to include arts and music in their plans for using Title 1 federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act is the federal law that governs K-12 education policy across the country.

It is estimated that 1.3 million elementary school students across the country do not have access to any music education. Many of these students attend rural schools.

Tester last week helped pass a bipartisan bill that invested critical resources in Montana schools-including funding for Head Start, Impact Aid, TRiO, Pell Grants, and students with disabilities.

Tester this summer launched his #Montennial Advisory Council, which consists of high school students, college students, and young professionals. The council will provide Tester their perspective on issues important to Montana’s millennials-including increasing education opportunities for young Montanans.