January 31: Upon the Senate HELP Committee’s vote on Betsy DeVos, nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is closely monitoring responses from Mrs. DeVos relevant to questions NAfME submitted to the Senate HELP Committee regarding music education and underserved schools.
Mrs. DeVos was approved by the Senate HELP Committee on a straight party vote of 12-11. Her nomination heads to a full Senate vote. No date has been set.
Below are some of Mrs. DeVos’s responses as they relate to music education.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT): “In recent research reports from Arizona and California, data shows that charter schools provide less access to a well-rounded education, including music and arts, than district schools. How have charter schools you have helped fund supported a well-rounded education, and how would you support a well-rounded education, including music and arts, for all students in charter schools across our country?”
Betsy DeVos: “If confirmed, I would welcome the opportunity to share data and research from the Department of Education with state and local officials looking to improve educational opportunities. I look forward to identifying and disseminating best practices in schools, districts and states throughout the country so that they can learn from each other and incorporate successful strategies and programs. I would encourage states and local leaders to think outside the box and innovate, looking for new solutions to vexing educational problems. As it relates to arts and music education, I hope that with the greater flexibility provided to states and local school districts through ESSA, education leaders at the local level can find new ways to provide opportunities to students in the music and arts.”
- Sen. Bernie Sanders: “If the 115th Congress takes up the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, what level of student loan relief should be available for teachers teaching in underserved schools, including teachers of the well-rounded subject areas?”
Betsy DeVos: “The HEA provides certain teachers with opportunities for loan forgiveness. If confirmed, I look forward to reviewing the effectiveness of these programs and engaging in a conversation with you – and your colleagues – about the best ways to incentive teachers to serve in underserved schools.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act includes the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. This program was authorized at over $1.6 billion. We have yet to see this funding for this program due to the Republican Congress’ inability to pass a full year funding bill. It is of the utmost importance that this new program – which consolidated numerous existing programs – be funded at its authorized level, at a minimum. Our children deserve a well-rounded education and safe school environments – this program is the vehicle to make these promises a reality. Do you commit to requesting funding that is at least the authorized level?”
Betsy DeVos: “If confirmed, I will look closely at the budget of the Department of Education to determine the best allocation of taxpayer dollars to programs, including the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, when making a proposed budget for future fiscal years.”
Keep checking back for updates.
January 31, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)