Advocacy Webinar – ESSA at the Local Level

Photo: iStockPhoto / jamesteohart

Join NAfME’s public policy team on Tuesday, December 5th, at 7:00 PM for our Quarterly Advocacy Webinar!


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The music community most closely associates the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, or ESSA, as the first piece of federal legislation to enumerate music as part of a “Well-Rounded Education.”  Now being implemented, learn about what to look for, what to expect, and how to get involved with ESSA at the local level.

**As always, music educators can complete a short quiz after the webinar to receive recognition for professional development valued at one contact hour.**


ESSA State Plans

Required by the law, each state must submit an ESSA implementation plan to the U.S. Department of Education for further review and approval.  These plans outline how a state intends to implement the major K-12 education law, as well as what initiatives they intend to prioritize with their received federal dollars throughout ESSA’s utilization.

As of September 18, states that have not submitted their ESSA plans for review were required to do so. NAfME’s public policy staff has reviewed all 51 ESSA plans, and our webinar will walk you through our findings of items that support music and arts education, including accountability systems, Title IV-A funding, and professional development for those teaching subjects included in the “well-rounded education” definition under ESSA.

Title IV, Part A – Competitive or Formula?

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant is one of the new opportunities created by Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The flexible formula block grant provides supplemental funding intended to help school districts improve access to a well-rounded education for all students, including access to music education.

Despite being authorized at $1.65 billion, the block grant only received an allocation of $400 million in FY 2017 (first year of funding).  Because of its low appropriations level, Congress included language that allowed states to allocate money to
districts on a competitive basis so that they could receive larger allocations and make meaningful investments in the three areas the program is meant to support.

Of the 50 states, nine have chosen to utilize the competitive option to distribute their Title IV-A dollars. Join our webinar to find out if your state is one of the nine, and how your school district may be able to access Title IV-A funds to support your music program. 

How Funding Works – Titles I, II, IV

The Every Student Succeeds Act is divided into nine ‘Titles,’ each providing key-federal support to critical components of K-12 education. Our goal is to walk you through each Title pertinent to music education, diving into how the funds are operated, and finally highlighting how you can access these funds to benefit your music program.

Titles I, II, and IV of ESSA, each hold key “Well-Rounded” provisions that may beneficial to K-12 music programs:

  • Title I – “Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies: Provides financial assistance to school districts to meet the needs of children from low-income families and ensure they are meeting academic standards;
  • Title II – “Preparing, Training, and Recruiting of High-Quality Teachers, and Principals: Provides financial assistance for the recruitment and professional development of educators and other key-school officials;
  • Title IV – 21st Century Schools: Provides financial assistance for school districts to support the comprehensive needs of students, such as supporting a safe and healthy environment, supporting the effective use of technology in education, and providing the access to a well-rounded curriculum.

Ronny Lau, Public Policy Advisor, November 28, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).