House Appropriations and Title II Call-to-Action
The United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill by a partisan vote of 30-23. This version of the bill is quite supportive of music and arts education. The committee-passed bill would increase Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 federal education funding by roughly $4.5 billion from FY19. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives. It is expected that the Senate will begin considering its version of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill some time in June.
Of particular interest to music education advocates are funding increases in the well-rounded programs found in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
- Title IV, Part A – Student Support and Academic enrichment Grants – $1.3 billion, an increase of $150 million (13 percent increase)
- Title I, Part A – $17.6 billion, an increase of $1.0 billion (6.2 percent increase)
- Title II, Part A-Supporting effective instruction state grants – $2.6 billion, an increase of $500 million (24 percent increase)
- Title IV, Part B, 21st century community learning centers – $1.3 billion, an increase of $100 million (8 percent increase)
The bill also provides $35 million for the competitive Arts in Education Grants, a $6 million bump up from last year.
Coalition action and advocacy have helped steer Congress away from President Trump’s disappointing budget recommendations. The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for FY2020 called to eliminate several key education programs that play a substantial role in providing supplemental support for music education.
The Administration’s proposal called for the elimination of ESSA’s Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant. Title IV, Part A is designed to provide supplemental funding to school districts for providing a “well-rounded education,” which includes music. Congress has rejected earlier attempts by the Trump Administration to eliminate these funds, funding Title IV, Part A at $1 billion in FY18 and $1.17 billion in FY19.
In addition, the President’s budget called for eliminating Title II, Part A, the main funding source for professional development for educators and school leaders, and for eliminating Title IV, Part B, an important funding source for after-school programs. Finally, the President’s budget suggested that $50 million in Title I, Part A funds be used to support portability options – allowing funding to follow a child instead of supporting a Title I program. Portability, which the administration supports, removes funds from high-poverty schools where Title I funds typically provide needed supplemental programs for children, including arts integration and music programs. Congress has wisely rejected earlier attempts by the Trump administration to change how Title I funds support high-poverty school programs and has continued to fund Title II-A and Title IV-B, including the recommended raised levels coming out of the House’s Appropriations Committee.
Title II Call-to-Action on May 15!
While the large increase in Title II, Part A funding in the House Appropriations bill is a great step, advocacy is crucial to ensuring any funding increase comes to fruition. After all, we are only two months removed from the President requesting the elimination of Title II, Part A, in his budget. Eliminating Title II, Part A funding would remove an important resource used by school districts to provide and support high-quality professional development for all teachers, including music educators.
The good news is that you can help! The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) launches its Title II call-for-action today, May 15. Send an email to your members of Congress urging them to fully fund Title II, Part A. Advocates can also look for ideas on how to advocate for Title II, Part A through social media, writing letters, or calling your members of Congress. Coalition building is vital to music education, and we thank NASSP for their great work on Title II, Part A.