ICYMI – Conference Call with Secretary John King

“A Well-Rounded Education is not just a nicety, it’s a necessity”

– U.S. Secretary of Education, John King

On Wednesday, July 13th, Secretary King held a conference call announcing a Dear Colleague letter focused on the arts and Humanities and providing examples on how the federal funding streams and programs associated with the No Child Left Behind authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act can be used to support students learning in the arts and Humanities. The letter can be found here.

dept of ed seal

While the conference call focused mainly on the Humanities, including connections to the National Council for the Social Studies and iCivics, arts integration was featured in a brief presentation by Megan Beyer, Executive Director for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities focused on the Turnaround Arts program.

Christopher Woodside, Deputy Executive Director for the National Association for Music Education, asked about how this guidance and federal education dollars in general, can support high quality arts education programs in our nation’s schools, such as those offered by our members – not just arts integration programs where the arts serve as the entry point for learning in other subjects. Dr. King replied in the affirmative that the guidance itself and federal education dollars overall can support high quality music and arts education programs, stating, that, under ESSA, the new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

Sec. John King
Photo: U.S. Department of Education

“States and schools have significant flexibility. Each state will create a plan with indicators as well as interventions to pursue with schools that are struggling. You can imagine a state that would include access to advanced coursework and student success in those advanced courses, and that could include advanced courses in a specific discipline or integrate across disciplines. You can also include a state commitment to seeing a stronger arts education program in schools as a school improvement strategy that would be evidence based – that is important within the law. There is a lot of room here for state and local flexibility and leadership. We are going to need educators including educators certified in the arts to be an active part of the conversation. This letter today is about highlighting the importance of the humanities and arts instruction as part of a well-rounded education and we will continue to make that case.”

Stay connected to NAfME’s work in making certain music educators are connected to the opportunities found within ESSA by visiting our Everything ESSA page and our new Grassroots Advocacy Center for ways you can be involved with the legislative process.

Secretary King ended the call by stating, “a well- rounded education is for ALL students – regardless of zip code, regardless of race, regardless of immigration status. A Well-Rounded Education is not just a nicety, it’s a necessity.”

Lynn Tuttle, Director of Content & Policy, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, July 15, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)