Ensure Music and Arts Are Key Ingredients in the Alphabet Soup of Education Policy

Support the Bipartisan Resource Equity Amendment to Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177)

 Please sign the letter at the bottom of this post and send today!

senate esea opportunity dashboard

 

 

Update: NAfME has signed onto this letter with other education organizations who support the Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources.

 

 

On July 7, the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177), a bipartisan new draft Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proposal which would take the place of the current law of the land, No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As part of the upcoming floor debate, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Jack Reed  (D-RI), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are preparing to offer an amendment aimed at ensuring access to educational resources for all students.

 

This “Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources” amendment would add language to S. 1177 requiring that states report on three of five key indicators concerning access. Selected indicators would include the following:

 

  • Access to state certified paraprofessionals
  • Availability of health and wellness programs
  • Availability of school libraries, “modern instructional materials and school facilities”
  • The ability to disaggregate all data based on student subgroup
  • Enrollment in early-childhood education and full-time kindergarten programs
  • Availability of “core academic subjects,” which include music and arts

 

All supplied data would need to be disaggregated by student subgroup, and this information would then be used to formulate actionable plans with benchmarks designed to address inequities. States would then be required to supplement the activity of any local education agency (LEA) that does not successfully reach a prescribed benchmark in two years, through additional allocated resources.

All states receiving the above indicated resources would be required to provide parents, upon request, access to corresponding data. Doing so could prove important, particularly in communities where little or no access to music education exists in schools, and where parents and teachers could benefit the very most from a better understanding of the lay of the land.

Because of the tremendous value in having data regarding the status of access to music education in America, NAfME strongly supports the Kirk-Baldwin-Reed-Brown Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources amendment. Join us by sending a letter to your senators below.

To see a fact sheet on the Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources from committee staff click here.

Alexandra Eaton, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, July 6, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).

 

  • Debra Kay Robinson Lindsay

    I included this in my letter on July 6, 2015.

    🙂

    I want to share how I feel about the music education in all United States Schools and especially in Virginia and ACPS. These are both profound reflections and simple musings.

    Calculation, analysis, tangibility, achievement, focus, structure, ingenuity, process, memory, discipline, reasoning. Core Curriculum. Core Knowledge. And STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Where do the arts – and especially music fit in? It can. Through STEAM. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

    Can you actually say you have experienced a day without music? You seriously do not have a favorite song, favorite Beethoven symphony, a favorite genre of music, or remember trying (or successfully playing) a musical instrument?

    Have you have not turned sound system in your car, or cranked it up a notch when working out, or experienced how it influences what you are seeing in the media, or relived a moment through music? Have you belted out a song in the shower . . . just because you felt like it . . . or did not sing in the shower because you thought someone might hear you?

    Do you celebrate your cultural holidays without music? Have you not shed a tear or two when the violins swelled in a special scene of a movie . . . or were embarrassed that you actually did?

    That outburst of music and emotion is you. It comes from deep within. It is real. It is who you and I are. It is why music is important in one’s life.

    Yes. We would be nowhere without the core areas that build the foundational blocks of learning, but let us not omit the arts. And never so important is this for students who are indigent, our English as a Second Language students, and Title I schools.

    Music is not just for the privileged through private lessons. Music is for all students in public schools. For many students, school music programs and free access to instruments, drama and dance, will be their only chance to experience the arts.

    Teaching music enables my music colleagues and me, to hold a torch for our students’ entry into understanding culture and beauty. A good musical foundation is the life-long gift music educators can give our students.

    We as citizens and consumers of the arts need the opportunity to music in our students’ lives. We appreciate your support.

    Please know I appreciate your support for Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources.

  • Beth

    I’m confused why this was sent out with only a one day warning..?

    • kristenrNAfME

      Hi Beth, this particular blog post was published yesterday to provide yet another update on ESEA and ask for one last push for support. We have been promoting ESEA updates for quite some time, and our membership has helped send over 10,000 letter to Congress so far regarding support for music in the ESEA. Learn more about NAfME’s Advocacy Efforts here: http://www.nafme.org/take-action/

  • Stacy Ann

    Okay, I will not sign this because I think that NAFME has thrown us certified music teachers under the bus. I wanted to switch jobs in the NYC DOE, but I can’t because of the language in these bills and mandates. They specifically say, “AVAILABILITY” and that means that the school can hire any one of a hundred organizations, part-time, with no on staff CERTIFIED teacher, with no benefits, and THAT qualifies as a music education. Until the time that our music organizations support the teachers who are dedicated, have time invested, take the time and money to be CERTIFIED by the state, our children will not be receiving a proper SEQUENTIAL, PROFESSIONAL, music education.

    • kristenrNAfME

      Hi Stacy Ann, we’re so sorry to
      hear about what you’re experiencing. NAfME is aware there are problematic
      policies at federal, state, and local levels that allows uncertified teachers.
      As part of our Opportunity
      to Learn Standards (http://www.nafme.org/wp-content/files/2015/01/OTL-draft-Jan-2-2015.pdf) we have included as a basic
      requirement that music teachers be certified. Our Legislative Policy Advisor,
      Alexandra Eaton, would be happy to talk to you and see if she can pinpoint the
      language you’re talking about and if this would be handled by a change at the
      national, New York state, or New York City level. Her number is
      703.860.4000 ext. 211 or you can email her at alexandrae@nafme.org.

    • kristenrNAfME

      Hi Stacy Ann, we’re so sorry to hear about what you’re experiencing. NAfME is aware there are problematic policies at federal, state, and local levels that allows uncertified teachers.
      As part of our Opportunity to Learn Standards (http://www.nafme.org/wp-content/files/2015/01/OTL-draft-Jan-2-2015.pdf) we have included as a basic requirement that music teachers be certified. Our Legislative Policy Advisor, Alexandra Eaton, would be happy to talk to you and see if she can pinpoint the language you’re talking about and if this would be handled by a change at the National, New York State, or New York City level. Her number is 703.860.4000 ext. 211 or you can email her at alexandrae@nafme.org.

      • Stacy Ann

        Thank you, I will certainly do some research and call her. We are having a lot of trouble up here trying to keep music teachers in the schools as part of the entire school culture. BTW, did you know that according to the NYSED, elementary music teachers do NOT have to have certification? They can be common branch? At the most important part of their learning careers, not to have a certified teacher with a sequential curriculum. Thanks again.

        • kristenrNAfME

          Not a problem! We view this amendment as favorable because it will allow us to get robust data, for the first time, about how much and what kind of music programs are being offered nationwide. We absolutely believe that students should have access to a standards-based program of instruction taught by certified music educators.

          As I mentioned, Alexandra would be happy to talk to you and see if she can pinpoint the language your’e talking about and respond to your concern in greater detail.

          On a side note, this week all arts education groups are coming together at NAfME headquarters to benchmark the “model cornerstone assessments” developed for each discipline’s national standards. This will provide the opportunity for teachers to lead in establishing the standards by which student achievement is measured. You can learn more about that event here: http://www.nafme.org/music-teachers-take-the-lead-in-their-own-evaluations/

    • kristenrNAfME

      Here’s the link again to the Opportunity to Learn Standards I mentioned: http://www.nafme.org/wp-content/files/2015/01/OTL-draft-Jan-2-2015.pdf

  • D300 Music Education

    Kristin, Thanks for this vital information. When will we know the results of the work being done with the MCA’s and new benchmarks? I’m studying the assessments now and wondering how much they will change. Thanks in advance!

    • kristenrNAfME

      Hi, Mike Blakeslee, the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for NAfME, would be the best person to answer your question. Please feel free to email him at: MikeB@nafme.org