Music Education Policy Roundup – March 11, 2019

Please find below the Policy Roundup, created by Rob Edwards. Enjoy!

NAfME News

Music Included in Education Infrastructure Bill

The public policy team is pleased to report that music is now specifically listed under the allowable uses section of the proposed “Rebuild America’s Schools Act.” The added language was adopted as part of the Manager’s Amendment, meaning it was proposed by the House Education and Labor Committee Chairman and approved by the committee along with other changes.

This is a major win on the NAfME legislative agenda, as it makes it abundantly clear that the funds provided under the act, should it become law, could be used to support instructional space for music classrooms. Having cleared committee, the bill is likely now in a holding pattern, as congressional Democrats hope to see the policy folded into a broader national infrastructure investment that can gain bipartisan support in both chambers.

Details of the committee markup can be found here.

Quarterly Advocacy Webinar

The first Quarterly Advocacy Webinar of 2019 will take place Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 EDT. This webinar will focus on Music In Our Schools Month and state advocacy successes, with several ALF members presenting. You can register for the webinar here.

Federal News

Betsy DeVos Backs $5 Billion in Tax Credits for School Choice

2/28/19 – “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday pitched a $5 billion federal tax credit that would fund scholarships to private schools and other educational programs, throwing her weight behind what will be a difficult legislative undertaking to fund the Trump administration’s signature education initiative.”

Lawmaker urges team effort to set spending plan

3/7/19 – “Republicans and Democrats must reach an agreement on federal spending caps and then work together on crafting a responsible spending plan for fiscal 2020, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Passing all 12 appropriations bills on time, as required by law, will be a priority, he said.”

State News

New Mexico education reforms win Senate, House endorsements

3/5/19 – “Sweeping public education reforms were endorsed by the New Mexico state House and Senate on Tuesday in an effort to boost minimum teacher pay, channel more than $100 million toward low-income students and provide incentives for schools to extend the instructional time.”

West Virginia House of Delegates Passes Free Community College Bill

3/7/19 – “SB 1 was approved Wednesday by a vote of 85-13, with no discussion and with all local delegates except Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, voting in favor. If the Senate approves of the House changes to the bill, it will go to the governor’s desk.”

How NJ Hopes to Achieve a More Diverse Teacher Pool

2/21/19 – “On a typical school day, more than 163,000 students in New Jersey never encounter a teacher of color in any classes or while walking through the halls.

Despite the Garden State’s diverse makeup of residents, the teacher pool leaves a lot to be desired in this area, state officials say.”

States Move to Restructure Their Postsecondary Governance Systems

3/7/19 – “Governors and legislators continue to consider and adopt changes to their postsecondary governance systems, several of which could alter how policy decisions are made and education goals are pursued within their states.”

$5,000 raise for Texas teachers one step closer to reality

2/26/19 – “A bill giving every classroom teacher a big raise next year cleared a Texas Senate committee Monday in a unanimous 15-0 vote.

The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Jane Nelson, would give the state’s 321,000 teachers a $5,000 pay raise beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.”

House unanimously passes bill to give Oklahoma teachers $1,200 pay raise

2/21/19 – “The House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to give Oklahoma teachers a $1,200 pay raise.

House Bill 1780, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, would provide a $1,200 across-the-board pay raise for public school teachers. The pay raise would be in addition to the pay raise given to Oklahoma teachers during the 2018 legislative session.”

Research and Analysis

New Education Department guidance on supplement-not-supplant: Sorry not sorry

2/20/19 – The author states: “As both an education policy researcher and a mother to teenage daughters, I straddle two worlds dominated by acronyms. In the education world, the acronyms are ED, ESSA, and NCLB; In my parenting role, acronyms such as LOL, BTW, and IDK are peppered generously throughout our texting exchanges.

Recently, I realized an acronym was crossing over between these worlds: SNS. In the education world, SNS represents the “supplement-not-supplant” provision of Title I—the section of the federal education law that specifies that federal Title I funds for schools with high concentrations of poverty must be used in a way that augments state and local funding (rather than offsets it). When texting with my teenagers, SNS means “sorry not sorry,” a phrase you might use when you know you’re going to upset another person with your actions but you aren’t actually sorry enough to change your plan.

And, ironically, new draft guidance the U.S. Department of Education released last month on monitoring the “supplement-not-supplant” provision might be perceived as the current administration issuing a big sorry not sorry to equity advocates. Understanding that interpretation requires going back three years to when former President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the drama over the law’s SNS provision started.