Title IV: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
One of the many new opportunities to increase access for music education within the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) includes a new block grant titled Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), which was created under Title IV, Part A. Designed by a bipartisan effort, this grant will be utilized to help states and school districts better serve disadvantaged students, including providing access to well-rounded education subjects, which includes music and arts.
Despite being the third largest authorized program within ESSA, the President’s recent budget proposal for FY 2017 recommends $500 million, which is less than one-third of the authorized level of $1.65 billion. The President’s proposal has met with significant criticism, with opponents stating that underfunding of this block grant destroys SSAEG’s flexibility, and prevents districts and schools from receiving sufficient SSAEG funds to meaningfully invest in critical areas, which may include increased access to music education.
NAfME Joins National Education Funding Coalition
In response to this potential underfunding threat, NAfME has joined the “Title IV, Part A Coalition,” an alliance of like-minded prestigious education groups that are working to urge Congress to increase funding for this program. Over the past month, NAfME has participated in select key meetings to urge members of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to maximize funding for SSAEG. As a leading and founding member of the Coalition, we expect to continue our involvement throughout the appropriating process.
Most recently, the Title IV Coalition has circulated a sign-on letter to all members of Congress who serve on the House and Senate appropriations and education committees. In addition to NAfME, eight members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable signed onto the letter, including:
- NAMM Foundation
- Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America
- Jazz at Lincoln Center
- Percussive Arts Society
- Education Through Music
- Organization of American Kodály Educators
- VH1 Save the Music Foundation
- League of American Orchestras
NAfME thanks members of the Roundtable for their support. Their participation represents a significant percentage of the 100+ organizations that signed the letter, and emphasizes to Congress the significance of the SSAEG grants to the music education community. Further, their level of support highlights the potential impact of these funds on expanding access to well-rounded subjects including music education. A copy of the letter may be found here.
On behalf of our membership, NAfME continues to work with the Title IV Coalition to ensure maximized and proper funding for SSAEG. Stay tuned for further updates on developments with the appropriating process and Title IV, Part A.
The Title IV Coalition’s letter was also picked up by several major press outlets:
- Groups: Title IV Funding Critical (Politico)
- Give ESSA’s Block Grant More Money, Long List of Groups Tells Congress (Ed Week)
NAfME was also a part of the Title IV Coalition’s response to the President’s Budget for FY 2017, which can be found here.
Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, March 18, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)