The Coalition on Coalitions (CoCs) supports NAMM members and their networks working on state-level music and arts education advocacy efforts. The Pennsylvania network provides tactics, resources and best practices to move and improve state-level policies, funding and advocacy for music and arts education.

State Profile

To customize your state profile to reflect the current education advocacy partnerships in your state, please contact Jessica Cortez.

Action Alert

PA Advocates!

  • Use Federal Title IV Money For Your Music Program in Pennsylvania

    With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), new funding opportunities are available that could directly benefit music education. One of those is in Title IV of the law and known as Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG).

    ESSA eliminated what we knew as "core" academic subjects and created what we now know as "well-rounded" subject areas. Music has, for the first time, been called out in federal law as a well-rounded subject. The SSAEG grants are designed to be used to ensure a well-rounded education and that means music is a part of it.

    It's important for music educators to explore using these funds because:

  1. Any additional funds can be helpful to music education programs
  2. Proving the value of this new funding stream may serve to increase the amount of funding in the future
  3. By asking for funding, you may find your administration will find ways to fund your program, even if it's isn't through these federal funds

Each state will have a different process to gain access to these funds. We have reviewed the way the Pennsylvania Department of Education will distribute these funds and compiled a to do list for music educators to attempt to use some of this funding for music education in their district.

We've spelled out the process in detail to help you get money for your music program. You can download a PDF of the process below. Here's a quick rundown:

  1. Conduct a "needs assessment" to determine in what areas your program can be improved
  2. Present a case to your administration that you can use this SSAEG money for things or experiences that your district's regular budget doesn't support
  3. Provide supporting information to your administration so they can include it on their Pennsylvania federal funds application

A list of suggested areas for funding and more on the specific process is available here.

  • Contact your representatives in Harrisburg with PMEA's policy asks. Tools and resources are available on PMEA's Advocacy Page.
  • Contact your PMEA Rep. If you have a way you market or advocate for your music program and you think others could benefit from your ideas, take a minute and contact your PMEA District Advocacy Representative and let them know what you're doing. They'd like to start collecting these stories and sharing them out with other PMEA members.


Pennsylvania’s advocacy work is primarily through the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network (PAEN). PMEA and PAEN have been involved in the discussion to add more funding to PA’s basic education funding subsidy and to enact a formula to fairly distribute those funds.

PMEA is part of the ESSA implementation conversation and advocacy efforts, with NAMM members working alongside the organization. The org has an advocacy council, with Mark Despotakis being the chair, and includes 4 members of the music products industry as well as membership from across the entire state.

PAEN’s work is broad and advances arts education and not just music. Members include a coalition of education stakeholders from a variety of education sectors (school boards association, business officials association, all arts disciplines, businesses, etc).

The Arts & Creativity Framework

The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) leadership is committed to ensuring that quality arts education is available for all students. The Arts & Creativity Framework articulates the District’s steps to create conditions and resources that will lead to higher quality arts learning for all SDP students that is sequential from elementary through high school and culturally-responsive. It represents the first comprehensive redesign of arts education in Philadelphia in over a decade – built on a rich legacy, partner alignment, and five years of sustained growth of arts instruction in schools. The implementation will guide systemic shifts in quality, equity, and collaboration. Each component of the Framework will be enriched alongside community assets to ensure relevance.

Aligned to the School District of Philadelphia’s Anchor Goals from Action Plan 3.0, this Framework is student-centric which includes opportunities for exposure and immersion while driving systemic shifts in quality, equity, and collaboration for all Philadelphia students.

GOAL 1: All K-12 students experience quality, sequential arts education with a focus on college and career readiness.

GOAL 2: All K-8 students receive arts-integrated instruction in support of students reading at grade level.

GOAL 3: All principals and teachers (aspiring and current) receive relevant, job-embedded professional development support to enable arts and arts-integration outcomes.

GOAL 4: All teachers and principals will have adequate human and physical resources for arts learning.

Read more here.

NAMM Member Contacts

Mark Despotakis
Progressive Music

State Music & Arts Organizations 

Pennsylvania Music Educators Association

Citizens for the Arts in PA 

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

Pennsylvania Arts Education Network


Coalition on Coalitions NAMM Member Resources

Coalition on Coalitions Dashboard, The CoCs dashboard on, serves as a nexus of information regarding specific state-focused music education advocacy efforts.  The dashboard features a thumbnail summary of action alerts, status updates, NAMM Member contacts, and state-specific resources for active state coalitions in various stages of network.

Advocacy and Issue TrainingLive and recorded webinars are available to connect, assist and advise NAMM members about current opportunities and ongoing state-specific efforts. 

State Advocacy Opportunities, Regularly updated information regarding needed state-advocacy action.  As an example: State education associations are holding “listening tours” across the U.S. in town hall-style meetings and/or they are accepting input by email or via web-based surveys. Action is needed now to ensure that every student in your state benefits from new opportunities in music education.

State Coalition Bootcamp at The 2017 NAMM Show, This half-day workshop was held on Tuesday January 17 and provided state coalition teams with hands-on advocacy training. Listen to audio files here: 

  • State Level Advocacy: What’s Happening and What’s Next. Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Audio recording.
  • ESSA Update. Lynn Tuttle, NAfME. Audio Recording. Audio Recording.
  • Advocacy at the Grassroots. Laurie Schell, Music Makes Us Nashville. Audio Recording.

Coalition on Coalitions Forum at The 2017 NAMM Show, This meeting was held on Friday, January 20 and provided an overview of current policy opportunities and updates on state activity featuring updates from NAMM Member state coalition leaders. Listen to audio files here: 

  • AFTA Resources and How to Advance Arts-friendly Policies in Education. Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Audio Recording.
  • Federal Education Policy and ESSA. Lynn Tuttle, NAfME. Audio Recording.
  • Policy Work at the Local Level. Laurie Schell, Music Makes Us Nashville. Audio Recording.
  • Arts Education Partnership: Tools and Resources . Jane Best, Arts Education Partnership. Audio Recording.

Coalition on Coalitions at 2017 Summer NAMM, This meeting was held on Friday, July 14 and featured a panel discussion, national updates, and state team reports. Listen to audio files here:

Coalition on Coalitions Forum at The 2018 NAMM Show, This meeting will be held on Friday January 26 and will provide an overview of current policy opportunities and updates on state activity featuring updates from NAMM Member state coalition leaders. Open to all NAMM Show attendees. RSVP link coming soon.

NAMM Advocacy Resources

National Partner Resources

American's for the ArtsArts Services Directory for Pennsylvania