“I have a goal to see beyond my vision. With imagination, I’ll get there.”
– Harry Connick, Jr.
After attending my first Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meeting last August, I wrote in my blog that it was like the words of the song Pure Imagination and that I had “discovered a room brimming with possibilities”. As I waited to speak before BESE on June 21, 2016, I recalled the words in my blog, and I realized that this presentation was the result of many people coming together to imagine the possibilities.
In January, I had shared with BESE the benefits of music education and asked questions regarding the current state of music education in Louisiana. This led to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) conducting a survey on my behalf. At the same time, a Music Education Working Group was formed. Our task force consisted of 16 participants from across the state. It also included teachers, administrators, professors, independent music education providers, leaders of professional music education associations, and related government agencies. Over the past few months, our working group has studied the results of the survey and created recommendations for ways that Louisiana can improve music education for the next school year and beyond.
At the BESE meeting last Tuesday, we presented the results of the survey along with our ten priority goals for improving music education. These goals included the areas of instruction, certification, professional development, communications, and accountability. For each goal, we included information on why we believed this goal was necessary, indicators for measuring progress toward the goal, and steps that can be taken to accomplish the goal.
The LDOE has now reviewed the recommendations and taken steps or plans to take steps to address each goal. Although there is still much work to be done, I know “with imagination” and determination we will reach our ultimate goal of setting the standard for music education in the United States.