Letter to Members

Dear OAKE Community,

The OAKE Executive Committee and Board of Directors are currently involved in a learning experience that challenges our mission and values. OAKE has been assisting a Chapter and the attendees following a workshop in Fall 2018. We received allegations that microaggressions occurred during chapter activities. We have dedicated considerable attention and resources to the issue with the goal of reconciliation and growth, but due to a number of factors, the process has taken longer than we anticipated. Our intention going forward is to keep all involved parties apprised of the process. We value the contributions of all stakeholders in our organization and are sorry that people have felt marginalized.

Since January the focus of the OAKE Executive Committee has been:

  • Seeking to understand and respond to the concerns of attendees and chapter members
  • Considering how OAKE will actively address equity in the Kodály approach within music education
  • Considering how OAKE will actively address equity within OAKE, Chapter, and Division governance

Brief Summary of OAKE’s Actions:

  • Received five attendees’ concerns and began support
  • Held conversations with chapter members and concerned attendees
  • Sought restoration for those involved
  • Allocated financial resources to support the restorative healing process
  • Provided professional mediation and advice
  • Vetted multiple equity specialists
  • Enlisted the services of an equity specialist for restorative and reflective work, which is ongoing
  • Developed and approved OAKE’s Commitment to Equity, with the assistance of the OAKE Inclusion & Diversity Committee (below)

OAKE’s Commitment to Equity
The members of OAKE are committed to championing diversity, welcoming all people, and advancing inclusivity and equity for all. Inspired by Zoltán Kodály’s unyielding assertion that music belongs to everyone, we affirm that music is a fundamental aspect of shared human experiences. As such, we pledge to promote active music making merged with intentionally respectful practices as the basis of comprehensive music education.

We affirm our commitment to the work of healing and policy change. Presenters at OAKE professional development workshops are independent contractors, and as such, OAKE and its affiliate chapters are not responsible for the actions of independent contractors. However, we want to be proactive and clearly communicate our values and expectations in future chapter and national events. The Executive Committee addressed these very items as they began crafting the new OAKE 2019-2024 Strategic Plan during June and July 2019. The work continues, and will be further developed at the OAKE Board of Directors Fall Board Meeting in September 2019.

We will soon share with membership the action steps being considered by the board to systemically address equity. We will request the involvement of membership to impact OAKE, divisions, chapters, and members as we all navigate our own life’s work in music education. Although we are physically separated by miles, we are emotionally joined by love for our organization, the future of our organization, and the future of music education.


Ann Leffard, OAKE President