NAfME & States Respond to Low Funding for Title IV, Part A of ESSA

On Tuesday, June 7, the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY 2017 funding bill, which includes a $300 million funding level for the Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), a new block grant authorized in Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Despite being the third largest authorized program within ESSA, the proposed funding level is severely disappointing and inadequate, as it marks at less than one-fourth of its $1.65 billion authorized level in ESSA. As such, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), along with 40 of its Federated State Organizations, has submitted a letter to all members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in response:

Significantly underfunding SSAEG not only undermines the greater flexibility that Congress had intended for states and districts in ESSA, but also endangers the program’s long-term success and would not allow schools to make meaningful investments in critical areas of need, such as school music programs. Under the proposed funding level, school districts would be forced to make difficult and unconscionable trade-offs between high-quality programs and fail to create a “Well-Rounded” course of study.  We urge the Committee to pass an amendment to better match SSAEG’s authorized level of $1.65 billion and increase its funding.

SSAEG may be used in part to improve access to music education, and in turn, to support not only student success, but also the promotion of constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution. In creating SSAEG, Congress itself noted that minority students, low-income students and English Language Learners are often underrepresented in critical and enriching subjects including music and arts. SSAEG funds could be utilized to offer a broad array of enriching educational experiences for these very children, including in music. We hope that Congress reconsiders and increases funding for SSAEG, in order to support music for all students across our nation.

Title IV Coalition Member Statements on SSAEG Funding Level

SHAPE AmericaLow Funding Level Proposed for Title IV, Part A Under ESSA

International Society for Education in Technology (ISTE) – ISTE releases statement from CEO Brian Lewis on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee’s approval of SSAEG funding level

Consortium for School NetworkingProposed Education Budget Receives an ‘F’ on Digital Equity

Health Corps – Statement from Health Corps President, Michelle Bouchard, on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) – NSTA Issues Statement in Response to the $300 Million Funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IVA)

STEM Education Coalition – Coalition Expresses Disappointment with Senate Education Subcommittee Funding Level 

State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) – SETDA Expresses Concern Over SSAEG-Title IV-A Funding Level

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) – NACAC Expresses Concern Over Proposed Funding for Grant That Funds Counseling, College Prep Coursework

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— President Barack Obama“, “‘America faces many challenges…but the enemy I fear most is complacency. We are about to be hit by the full force of global competition. If we continue to ignore the obvious task at hand while others beat us at our own game, our children and grandchildren will pay the price. We must now establish a sense of urgency.’
–Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering, President Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology“, “‘If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate. We are competing with nations many times our size. We don’t have a single brain to waste. Math and science are the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world. We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the joy that follows understanding.’

— Dr. Michael Brown, former Nobel Prize winner for medicine and the Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas“, “‘Now that we know what works, we should ask government and corporate leaders to take action today. Every minute we wait, we fall further behind other countries.’

— Tom Luce, CEO National Math and Science Initiative“, “‘Only by providing leading-edge human capital and knowledge capital can America continue to maintain a high standard of living – including providing national-security – for its citizens.’

— Norm Augustine, chair, ‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm’ Committee“, “‘Will America lead…and reap the rewards? Or will we surrender that advantage to other countries with clearer vision?’

— Susan Hockfield, President MIT“, ““Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. However, U.S. businesses frequently voice concerns over the supply and availability of STEM workers. Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts. Science, technology, engineer-ing and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future.”

STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, July 2011“, ““, ““In 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM workers in the United States, representing about 1 in 18 workers. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17.0 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. More than two-thirds of STEM workers have at least a college degree, compared to less than one-third of non-STEM workers. STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations.” STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, July 2011“, ““The greatest advancements in our society from medicine to mechanics have come from the minds of those interested in or studied in the areas of STEM. Although still relatively small in number, the STEM workforce has an outsized impact on a nation’s competitiveness, economic growth, and overall standard of living . . . STEM jobs are the jobs of the future. They are essential for developing our technological innovation and global competitiveness . . . Regardless of edu-cational attainment, entering a STEM profession is associated with higher earnings and reduced joblessness. For college graduates, there is a payoff in choosing to pursue a STEM degree, and for America’s workers, an even greater payoff in choosing a STEM career.” STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, July 2011“, ““This year, 45 percent of test-takers (compared to 43 percent last year) met or exceeded the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math, while 30 percent (compared to 29 percent last year) met or exceeded the benchmark in science. In comparison 66 percent and 52 percent met or surpassed the benchmarks in English and reading, respectively, both unchanged from last year. . . . The ACT report also indicates there is substantial room for improvement in college and career readiness. Among 2011 ACT-tested graduates, a combined total of 43 percent met either none (28 percent) or only one (15 percent) of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks.” ACT, The Condition of College and Career Readiness: 2011“, ““About 62% of districts the CEP surveys reported that they increased time for ELA and/or math in elementary schools since NCLB was enacted (2001-02). To accommodate this increased time in ELA and math, 44% of districts reported cutting time from one or more other subjects or activities. (social studies, science, art and music, physical education, lunch and/or recess) at the elementary level. The decreases reported by these districts were relatively large, adding up to a total of 145 minutes per week across all of these subjects, on average, or nearly 30 minutes per day. These decreases represent an average reduction of 32% in the total instructional time devoted to these subjects since 2001-02.” Center on Education Policy, Choices, Changes, and Challenges Curriculum and Instruction in the NCLB Era “, ““To make progress in improving STEM education for all students, policy makers at the national, state, and local levels should elevate science to the same level of importance
as reading and mathematics. Science should be assessed with the same frequency as mathematics and literacy, using a system of assessment that supports learning and understanding.”

Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science,“, ““National and state policy makers should invest in a coherent, focused, and sustained
set of supports for STEM teachers to help them teach in effective ways. Teachers in
STEM should have options to pursue professional learning that addresses their professional needs through a variety of mechanisms, including peer-to-peer collaboration, professional learning communities, and outreach with universities and other organizations.”
Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science,“, ““While only four percent of the nation’s work force is composed of scientists and engineers, this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96 percent.” National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2010. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 10-01)“, ““So where does America stand relative to its position of five years ago when the Gathering Storm report was prepared . . . in spite of sometimes heroic efforts and occasional very bright spots, our overall public school system—or more accurately 14,000 systems—has shown little sign of improvement, particularly in mathematics and science.” Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 (2010) “, ““It’s well-documented that the United States needs a strong science and technology work force to maintain global leadership and competitiveness. The minds and talents of underrepresented minorities are a great, untapped resource that the nation can no longer afford to squander. Improving STEM education of our diverse citizenry will strengthen the science and engineering work force and boost the U.S. economy.’ Freeman Hrabowski III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “, ““Underrepresented minority groups comprised 28.5 percent of our national population in 2006, yet just 9.1 percent of college-educated Americans in science and engineering occupations (academic and nonacademic), suggesting the proportion of underrepresented minorities in S&E would need to triple to match their share of the overall U.S. population.” National Research Council, Committee on U.S. Competitiveness: Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline “, ““Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.” President Barack Obama, January 2011“, ““America’s long-term leadership depends on educating and producing future scientists and innovators. We will invest more in STEM education so students can learn to think critically in science, math, engineering, and technology; improve the quality of math and science teaching so American students are no longer outperformed by those in other nations; and expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls. We will work with partners – from the private-sector and nonprofit organizations to universities – to promote education and careers in science and technology.” President Obama’s National Security Strategy, May 2010“, ], numQuotes: 20, fadeDuration: 3, fadeoutDuration: 3, delay: 15, quotesInit: function(){ if (this.numQuotes //
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Ronny Lau, Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, June 8, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (