ESSA State plans – 1 week to go!

ESSA State plans – 1 week to go!

On Monday, September 18, 2017, states that have not submitted their ESSA State Plans for review by the U.S. Department of Education will be required to do so. While one state, Colorado, has asked for an extension,  the remaining 30 plus states will be turning in their state plans between now and September 18.

As noted in our blog on Louisiana’s state plan, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) appears to be very open to state plans that place a value on and measurement of music and arts education. Of the seventeen plans already approved by the ED, three plans have strong music and arts sections, including music and arts sections to their state accountability plans: Louisiana, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. As you work to influence your state’s final draft of its ESSA plan, here are some of the highlights from the three accepted plans to bring forward as examples to share with your state leaders:

  1. D.C., Illinois, and Louisiana Include music/arts in the 5th accountability indicator, meaning that access and participation to music and arts by students will be part of the accountability systems. In all three cases, the plans will not include music and arts access and participation rates to “rank” schools within their boundaries – at least not at first. Each of these states spoke of continuing to work with music and arts education stakeholders and advocates to determine how best to build these measures and how to include them over time into the ranking of schools.
  2. Louisiana recognizes that professional development Title II funds can support all areas of a well-rounded education. This opens up Title II funds to support professional development opportunities for music and arts educators throughout the state.
  3. Illinois recognizes the power of music and the arts in supporting homeless children and youth. The Illinois plan speaks to how students who are identified as homeless should have access to all aspects of a school’s curricular and extra-curricular activities, including music and the arts. This is a strong call-out for how music and arts provide value for all students.
  4. D.C. recognizes the resources music and arts bring to schools in school improvement. The D.C. plan lists the district’s arts standards as a resource for schools in school improvement, speaking to the need for all schools to include a well-rounded education for their students.

As we head into the final week prior to the deadline for ESSA state plans to the U.S. Department of Education, NAfME encourages music educators to continue to advocate for the inclusion of music and arts education as key components to a state’s ESSA plan. Use the great examples mentioned here and approved by the ED to share with your state whether through conversation, surveys, or stakeholder meetings.

For more information on how to review your state’s draft plan, review the NAfME template based on the state plan template created by the U.S. Department of Education. Review our analysis of the first 13 submitted plans to learn about other innovative ways music and arts education can be included. And feel free to reach out to NAfME’s public policy team for help in analyzing your state’s plan and to build a strategy for responding to your state’s draft plan. You can reach us at

Lynn Tuttle, Director of Public Policy & Professional Development, September 13, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (