Music Education Policy Roundup – April 29, 2019

NAfME News

Music In Our Schools Month®

Throughout the month of March, NAfME and our federated state associations celebrated Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSMTM). Music In Our Schools Month is an annual initiative to raise awareness of the importance of music education for children of all ages. NAfME uses this awareness initiative to draw attention to the great work MEAs are doing during March each year. We have showcased some of their outstanding efforts here. If your state celebrated MIOSM and you would like to share your activities, please email me

GAAME Act of 2018

NAfME applauds the recent introduction of the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act, and thanks Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-7) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) for their support of music education. We endorse this legislation which, if passed, would better allow school districts to use their Title I, Part A funds to improve access to sequential music education, taught by certified educators, for disadvantaged and low-income students. For more information, see the NAfME statement on the GAAME Act of 2019 here.

Federal News

Warren proposes $640B student debt cancellation

4/22/19 – ‘The plan would eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt for each person with less than $100,000 in household income. The $50,000 in relief would gradually diminish for people with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 ($1 less relief for every $3 earned). People with household incomes over $250,000 would not receive debt cancellation.’

Virginia detention center educator Rodney Robinson named National Teacher of the Year

4/24/19- ‘Rodney Robinson, a social studies teacher in a juvenile detention center in Richmond, was named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year.’

State News

Tests, Costs May Be Making IL Teacher Shortage Worse

4/17/19- ‘The high cost and restrictive nature of teacher licensure tests may be contributing to the teacher shortage, according to some education officials. Members of the Illinois State Board of Education discussed ways to rectify this problem while still maintaining a high level of quality in the classroom at its meeting Wednesday.’

IN Teacher Shortage Includes STEM Subjects, Languages

4/23/19- ‘The department said Tuesday the list it will submit to the U.S. Department of Education this week also includes world languages, music, fine arts, and early childhood education.‘ For the NAfME take on teacher shortages and their effects on music education, click here.

Hanshaw looks toward special session timing and agenda

4/24/19- ‘A special session that could include changes to West Virginia’s education system is starting to start to take shape. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw said it’s possible — but not certain — the special session could coincide with interim meetings that are already set for May 20-21.’

Senate Panel advances voucher plan for final vote, limiting it to Nashville, Shelby County schools

4/23/19- ‘After the most significant committee discussion about Gov. Bill Lee’s controversial school vouchers legislation this year, the Senate finance committee narrowly approved the measure Tuesday. The committee’s vote ensures the legislation will be considered by the full Senate.’

States are Spending Way Too Little on Schools, Report Concludes

4/3/19- ‘When it comes to learning, money matters, and state leaders aren’t providing schools with enough of it for their students to meet national average test scores, according to a new research paper issued by the Albert Shanker Institute and co-authored by Bruce Baker, a top school finance expert from Rutgers University.’

Holocaust Education Bill Signed in WA State

4/19/19- ‘The bill won’t require schools to teach the material, but will add it as an encouraged curriculum item for middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools. The state schools superintendent is charged with developing guidelines for teaching the material, and also with creating trainings for teachers.’

‘Monumental’ move: Senate approves vouchers expansion

4/25/19- ‘Legislation expanding private school vouchers passed in the Florida Senate on Thursday. “It’s a monumental day in Florida,” said state Sen. Manny Diaz, Senate Education chair. The Miami Republican said the bill will empower parents and could actually save the state money, which could be used to enrich public schools.’

Research & Analysis

Teachers are Paid Less Than Similar Professionals. See the Breakdown by State

4/24/19- ‘Overall, adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wage of public school teachers has decreased $21 from 1996 to 2018, while the weekly wages of other college graduates rose by $323.’

Roundup: Curriculum in State Education Policy

4/17/19- ‘Gun safety education and cursive are two of the top subjects up for debate in state legislatures.’