National Association for Music Education replaces executive director after comments on race

Posted on: May 12, 2016

“After a blog post criticizing his comments about race and diversity went viral, Michael Butera is leaving his position as executive director of the National Association for Music Education,” writes Jackie Zubrzycki in Wednesday’s Education Week (password-protected). “He’ll be replaced by Michael Blakeslee, the former chief operating officer of the association and one of the developers of the National Core Arts Standards.… Blakeslee said the turmoil had ‘given us a chance to reaffirm the association’s deep belief that all children have music education as part of their education and redouble our efforts.’ … The music education community went into an uproar over the weekend after Keryl McCord, the operations director for the Atlanta-based nonprofit Alternate ROOTS, wrote a blog post … describing a series of comments from Butera at a conference of the National Endowment for the Arts [on April 26].… Jesse Rosen, the president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, backed up McCord’s account in a public statement” issued earlier this week. In addition to corroborating McCord’s account, Rosen stated: “If the arts community is to accelerate progress in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and equity, we must all, especially national leaders, be prepared to navigate difficult conversations.” The Education Week article includes the National Association for Music Education’s statement on Butera’s departure, which says in part, “We are ready to play an increasingly important role in convening and facilitating a dialogue and prompting action around how all of us can increase diversity, inclusion, and equity in music and the arts.” To read Jesse Rosen’s statement, click here

Posted May 12, 2016