Music Education Policy Roundup – February 25, 2019

NAfME News

Quarterly Advocacy Webinar

Registration is now open for the first Quarterly Advocacy Webinar of 2019. This webinar is open to all and will be held Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.

Federal News

At House Education Hearing, Lawmakers Differ Sharply on Why Teachers Are Underpaid

2/12/19 – ‘At the first House education committee hearing on K-12 schools this Congress, Democrats in control of the committee pushed Tuesday for more resources from the federal government to raise teacher pay and repair schools. But Republicans said that education spending increases have failed to adequately address these issues or to help students academically.’

To view a recording of the hearing, follow this link.

Democrats contend DeVos deputy interfered with inspector general probe

2/19/19 – ‘Congressional Democrats said Tuesday they have uncovered evidence that the Trump administration tried to influence an internal watchdog’s investigation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Five top House and Senate Democrats said that the Trump administration sought to remove the Education Department’s acting inspector general last month after she pushed back on a request to “reconsider” her investigation into DeVos’ move to reinstate a controversial accreditor of for-profit colleges.”’

Education Department allows extra day for comments on Title IX rules

2/12/19 – ‘The agency has already received a crush of 104,367 public comments. The department is required to respond to every point raised, an enormous task that will take months. Opponents of the regulation had urged their allies to weigh in and complained when the online system failed on the final day.’

State News

Should arts factor into a school’s rating? Illinois weighs the question

1/31/19 – ‘Members of the Illinois Arts Indicator Work Group have proposed that arts constitute 5 percent of a school’s total state rating. The indicator would consider student enrollment in art courses, the quality of teaching, and student opinions about the courses.

If the state board of education adopts the task force’s recommendation, Illinois would become only the second state to use a distinct arts indicator when evaluating schools.’

W.Va. teachers end strike after charter school measure expires

2/20/19 – ‘West Virginia teachers plan to head back to the classroom Thursday after a two-day strike that succeeded in killing a measure to bring charter schools and private school vouchers to the state in the latest showdown between teachers’ unions and charter school backers.

The House of Delegates tabled the bill Tuesday just a few hours after teachers went on strike. But educators remained on strike Wednesday until lawmakers adjourned, marking the official death of the legislation.’

Maryland Students Want Excused Absences for Protests — and a Year After They Were Dinged for Post-Parkland Marches, Their School Board Is Poised to Agree

2/10/19 – In the weeks following the Feb. 14, 2018, tragedy, students walked out of class, marched on Washington and in every state, and developed a nationwide network of young activists calling for gun control and violence prevention.

On the outskirts of the country’s capital, high school students from Montgomery County, Maryland, poured out of their schools to join the protests. But when many were dinged with unexcused absences — and they found out that neighboring schools held vastly different policies — they used their newfound activism skills to lobby their school board for a change to the rules countywide.’

Strike three: Oakland teachers set to walk out Thursday

2/20/19 – ‘If the teachers in Oakland, California, walk out Thursday as planned, they would become the third group of public school educators from one of the country’s 50 largest cities to strike this year, joining their Los Angeles and Denver counterparts. Chicago also had a charter school teachers’ strike.

Oakland educators have worked without a contract since mid-2017. They want a 12 percent pay raise over a three-year deal that would be retroactive, and they’re also asking for more support staff.’

Senate Education Committee passes bill restoring 5-day school weeks

2/20/19 – ‘Oklahoma’s Senate Education Committee approved a bill to ensure restoration of five-day school weeks in schools across the state, something previously listed as one of the four agenda items for Senate Republicans.

Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, supported Senate Bill 441, authored under Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore. The bill reads that all public schools in the state should be in session no less than 180 days, though current legislation calls for schools to be in session a total of 1,080 hours, according to a release from the Oklahoma State Senate. This language about school hours will be removed if SB passes, making school years no less than 180 days.’

Utah House approves bill to enact statewide exit surveys for teachers who quit

2/4/19 – ‘SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would require the State School Board to develop a statewide survey to ask teachers why they’re leaving the profession advanced out of the House on Monday.

Despite arguments from some Republicans to keep the state out of the school board’s business, the Utah House of Representatives voted to approve HB130 to create a “model exit survey” to help the state gather data on why teachers quit.’

Research and Analysis

1.3 Million Homeless Students: New Federal Data Show a 70 Percent Jump in K-12 Homelessness Over Past Decade, With Big Implications for Academic Performance

2/19/19 – ‘Student homelessness has hit an all-time high following a significant spike over the past three years, with 20 states experiencing a surge of 10 percent or more, new federal data released last week indicate. The data also found that students who experience homelessness are significantly less likely to graduate from high school.

More than 1.3 million public school students experienced homelessness during the 2016-17 school year, a 7 percent increase over three years ago and the largest number ever recorded. Over the past decade, the population of students experiencing homelessness has spiked by a startling 70 percent.’

Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers

2/20/19 – ‘Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America’s youth and, whether they personally suffer from these conditions or not, seven-in-ten teens today see them as major problems among their peers. Concern about mental health cuts across gender, racial and socio-economic lines, with roughly equal shares of teens across demographic groups saying it is a significant issue in their community.

Fewer teens, though still substantial shares, voice concern over bullying, drug addiction and alcohol consumption. More than four-in-ten say these are major problems affecting people their age in the area where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17.’