President Donald Trump has signed both Congressional Review Act resolutions into law, which rolled back two Obama-era regulations, the Teacher Preparation Program Rule and the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Accountability Rule.
NAfME Supports Repeal of Teacher Prep Rules
The first is the Teacher Preparation Program Rules related to the Higher Education Act. These regulations, at least five years in the making, required each state to issue annual ratings for teacher-prep programs within their borders. These annual ratings were to be based on measures of student growth attached to novice teachers and then connected back to the teacher preparation program they attended. However, the process by which this would occur, and how small teacher prep programs such as music education would be included, was complex, expensive, and at times confusing. In addition, the regulations were considered an example of federal overreach at a time where lawmakers have worked in a bipartisan manner to provide flexibility to states and school districts under the ESSA.
NAfME in partnership with the Association’s two higher education societies, the Society for Research in Music Education and the Society for Music Teacher Education, has been at the forefront of opposing these burdensome regulations and commends Congress and the President for quickly enacting this legislation that will rightly shift teacher preparation accountability to the responsibility of the states.
Our full statement supporting the action can be found here.
ESSA Accountability Rules
The second set of rules repealed is the accountability and state plan regulations created by the Obama Administration under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In August 2016, NAfME submitted comments to the Department of Education (ED), which expressed multiple concerns, particularly on the narrow definition of accountability indicators, which could unintentionally reduce student access to music and arts due to a heavy focus on tested subjects. NAfME suggested to broaden the definition and include measures “likely to increase student access to and participation in well-rounded education subject areas.” Unfortunately, this suggestion was not included in the final version of the rules. The final version of the rules did, however, offer protections for minority students, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families—all areas NAfME has and will continue to strongly support.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new set of guidelines on how states should develop their ESSA State Accountability plans without this rule. To assist music educators, NAfME has created an updated ESSA plan template using the revised guidelines to highlight opportunities for music education in ESSA state accountability plans.
Ronny Lau, Public Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, March 27, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)