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.

Update: July 2019

One area that PMEA has emphasized in the past year is the federal Title IV funding stream available for well-rounded subject areas - which includes music. Through the tremendous help of their members, PMEA has compiled Title IV success stories from around Pennsylvania. In fact, they've made it easier than ever by creating the PMEA TItle IV Toolkita one-stop shop for your Title IV work (See quick links below).  All are encouraged to review this material with your colleagues. As you'll see by the examples, you'll be able to easily make a case in your own district. If you have any questions or your own TItle IV success story, please e-mail Mark Despotakis.

Watch Mark Despotakis talk about music education on Pennsylvania Newsmakers.

PMEA Title IV Tool Kit Quick Links: 

The Pennsylvania Constitution requires the state to pass a budget by June 30th each year.  This year, the budget came in just under the wire and was signed into law in time to start the new fiscal year. The $34 billion budget is a nearly 4 percent increase from last year's $32.7 billion budget with no increases in sales or income tax rates.

Here are some of the key highlights of the budget as they relate to education:

  • This budget provides $160 million more for basic education for a total of $6.2 billion.
  • $50 million more is allocated for special education. 
  • Early intervention programs will see a $15 million increase.  
  • An additional $7 million is provided for career and technical schools and $3 million more is allocated for related equipment grants.
  • $60 million for school security grants.

The four state-related universities, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and community colleges will see a 2 percent increase for a total of $1.3 billion.   

PMEA had advocated for an increase of $225 million in the state's basic education subsidy.  While the budget did not meet that target, we are thankful to the General Assembly for a $160 million increase.  That money will be distributed to school districts to be used in their local budgets and can be used to support music and arts programs.

Governor Wolf proposed a reduction in funding for the school safety program while PMEA advocated for it to remain at last year's funding level.  The final budget does not reduce that amount and keeps it at last year's funding level of $60 million.  Not only is that money useful for school safety initiatives, it allows school districts to use other monetary resources from the local, state, and federal level for other education expenses that they would have otherwise used for school safety.

PMEA also advocated for at least a $7 million-dollar increase to the State System of Higher Education schools to support the work they are doing to educate Pennsylvania's future music educators.  The General Assembly exceeded that amount and provided over $9 million to the State System schools. PMEA will continue to work with our members at State System schools to advocate for their programs.

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


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