After a year filled with historic advocacy firsts, 2015 closed out with a bang with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will not only replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in the upcoming school year, but also lists music and arts as stand-alone subjects under the “Well-Rounded Education” provision. Although music education received a tremendous win through the passage of this historical bill, the National Association for Music Education has not slowed down in its advocacy efforts. With the passage of ESSA come new challenges in the regulatory policy arena, where NAfME now works to ensure this new piece of legislation is implemented properly and ensures all students will benefit from increased opportunities to access music education.
Working Together with the U.S. Department of Education
Most recently, NAfME submitted public comment in the Federal Register regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s implementation of the ESSA. Supported by music education’s premier policy coalition, the Music Education Policy Roundtable, NAfME’s public comment included its ESSA Non-Regulatory Guidance and Reporting Requests. The requests included examples of how music and arts can support Title I Targeted Assistance programs and how music education, in particular music performances and concerts, can be part of a school’s offerings for parental engagement. In addition, NAfME requested the Department report on music educators who are asked to teach outside of music during the school day, and consider that states track access and participation levels for music and arts education as one of the new state-level accountability measures.
As NAfME continues to aid the Department’s work in implementing ESSA, it is important for all music educators to gain a thorough understanding of the new law. Please visit our “Everything ESSA” page to view our comprehensive analysis and implementation toolkit.
In case you missed it, NAfME also participated in the U.S. Department of Education’s first of two stakeholder meetings, where the Department sought advice and recommendations from interested partities on the implementation and operation of programs under Title I. For more information on NAfME’s involvement at the ESSA Public Input Meeting, please visit here.
Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, January 21, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)