Social Studies

Oh Say, Can You See?

March 22, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Americans are going to get a refresher course on the lyrics and importance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” courtesy of the nation’s music teachers.

The National Association for Music Education kicked off its campaign, the National Anthem Project, on March 10. In addition to teaching the words and history of the anthem, the project aims to raise awareness about the importance of music education in schools.

A recent Harris Interactive survey suggests there’s work to be done. Two out of three Americans said they don’t know the anthem’s lyrics. Another poll, conducted by ABC News, found that 38 percent of teenagers didn’t know the title of the anthem, and that fewer than 35 percent could name the author of its lyrics.

Despite learning the national anthem at school and hearing it at baseball games, students are becoming less familiar with it and traditional American folk songs, according to a study by Marilyn Ward, a professor of music education at the University of Florida in Gainesville. After two years of research, Ms. Ward concluded that students need to learn such age-old songs as “Bingo” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to develop empathy for others and feel they are a part of the larger American society.

To begin the national tutorial on the anthem, hundreds of schoolchildren sang the anthem in a live performance on Capitol Hill on March 10.

First lady Laura Bush is the project’s honorary chairwoman. Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. serves as its national executive chairman. Musicians who have lent their support include gospel singer CeCe Winans.

Gov. Ehrlich signed on with the project to highlight his state’s role in the birth of the anthem, said Shareese DeLeaver, his spokeswoman. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to the song in 1814 at the Battle of Baltimore, when he saw that the U.S. flag had not fallen when the British bombarded Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

The music teachers’ association still has to persuade the governor to lead the country in a planned nationwide singing of the anthem.

“He was a little bit hesitant,” Ms. DeLeaver said. “He was sold on every other aspect except ‘I’m gonna have to sing?’ ”

The multiyear effort will include education initiatives in schools, special performances and alliances with professional sports teams, and an extensive mobile marketing tour.

The National Association for Music Education, based in Reston, Va., has some 120,000 members.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Social Studies Opinion The U.S. Capitol Insurrection Was a Case Study in White Privilege. Teach It That Way
Last year, I watched the Jan. 6 riots wondering what would have happened if the rioters had been Black. It's time to talk to students about it.
Shaun R. Harper
4 min read
U.S. Capitol Police try to hold back protesters outside the east doors of the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.
U.S. Capitol Police try to hold back rioters outside the east doors of the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Social Studies Opinion My Students Still Have Questions About the Capitol Riot. They Deserve Honest Answers
Jan. 6, 2021, is a lesson plan for the difficult but critical U.S. history that often gets left out of textbooks, writes a history teacher.
Chris Dier
4 min read
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Shafkat Anowar/AP
Social Studies Teaching Jan. 6: How the Insurrection Is Being Addressed in Class
What students are learning about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 may depend on where they live.
5 min read
Waukee School District teacher Liz Wagner in her home, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Urbandale, Iowa. Teachers have already landed on the front lines of the culture war. Now the Jan. 6 anniversary is prompting some to decide how -- or whether -- to teach their students about the events that sit at the heart of the country’s division.
Waukee School District teacher Liz Wagner in her home in Urbandale, Iowa. Teachers have already landed on the front lines of the culture war. Now the Jan. 6 anniversary is prompting some to decide how—or whether—to teach their students about the events that sit at the heart of the country’s division.
Charlie Neibergall/AP
Social Studies Q&A Tackling Polarization Via a 'Cross-Partisan' Approach to Civics Education
Teenagers appreciate space to discuss and debate without fear of being placed in an ideological box, says civics educator Sanda Balaban.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty