It's been a while since my last update. School has been hectic.
Anyway, I have received a response from the Office of Innovation and Improvement, an office in the Dept. of Education.
Dear Mr. Holt:
Thank you for your email to Secretary Arne Duncan concerning music education. Your email was forwarded to the Office of Innovation and Improvement, and I am happy to reply.
Arts education which includes music programs plays a vital role in developing students' capacities for critical thinking, creativity and imagination. You should know that the Secretary recognizes the significant role the arts play in education. In a speech delivered at the press conference for the National Center for Education Statistics' release of an arts education study on April 2, 2012, the Secretary stated, "Despite the brutal budget climate in the states and in Washington, arts education must not just survive but thrive. A well-rounded education is simply too vital to our students' success to let the teaching of the arts and humanities erode." A copy of the Secretary's entire speech may be viewed at the Department of Education's website (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/prepared-remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-report-arts-education-public-eleme).
However, as the head of a Federal agency, the Secretary's primary task is to implement and administer education laws made by Congress and give guidance and technical assistance to state and local education agencies. Education in the United States is almost completely funded and controlled at the state and local levels; the federal government plays a very minor role.
As more people from the local, state, and federal levels understand the importance of Arts Education, we may see a letter "A" added to STEM one day.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with the Secretary. The enthusiasm you hold for the music education is evident and clearly articulated. We appreciate your interest in this area and encourage you to continue to support arts education programs through local schools.
Director, Improvement Programs
Feel free to comment and message me about how you think the cause should proceed, and I will post again over the summer. I am looking into possible live events, as I would love to finally meet some of you face-to-face.
Have a wonderful day,