Last week, the White House submitted a proposal to Congress calling upon appropriators to cut nearly $3.0 billion in education funding for the current Fiscal Year (FY17). The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) opposes the Trump Administration’s proposed education cuts, as it could have a significant negative impact on the first year of implementation for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and therefore, on opportunities to support music education programs across the country.
Title II on the Chopping Block
Included in the proposal is a $1.2 billion cut to Title II, Part A, also known as the “Supporting Effective Instruction” section, which help states and districts develop, recruit, and retain effective educators and other school officials. Music educators play an important role in enabling student success, and music educators across the nation have benefited from professional development support provided under Title II, Part A for more than a decade. Robust federal support for professional development must be provided to ensure our educators, and supporting administrators, have all the skills and knowledge needed to provide a high-quality music education to our nation’s students.
Concerns for Title IV, Part A
Additionally, NAfME remains concerned about the future of ESSA’s Title IV, Part A block grant. Designed by a bipartisan effort, this grant will be utilized to help state and school districts better provide access to a “Well-Rounded Education,” which includes music and arts.
Although Title IV-A is not included in the list of suggested reductions by the White House, the amount of unconscionable cuts brings uncertainty regarding the program’s future possible funding and effectiveness. However, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee and key-crafter of ESSA, has noted that he will continue to push for the funding of this block grant, which brings a bit of light on the subject.
NAfME continues to advocate for the full funding of Title II-A, and Title IV-A, as part of our legislative agenda. As Congress finishes the appropriations process, we hope they reject the White House’s proposition, and craft a more sensible budget for FY17 that will support music educators and the proper implementation of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act.
Ronny Lau, Public Policy Advisor, March 31, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)