Music Education Policy Roundup – May 15, 2017

Read here for brief updates on policy developments affecting music education around the United States. These news items are compiled periodically by Lynn Tuttle, NAfME Director of Content and Policy, and include federal, state, and local items that may be of interest to music educators.

NAfME News

Join us on May 24 at 7:00 PM (EDT) for our Quarterly Webinar! The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is just over a year old. Join your NAfME policy team to learn what has changed and what YOU need to know to make the opportunities for music education come to reality in your state, district, and school for the coming school year!


Department of Education Update

Webinar Announcement : Changes to the Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants Resulting from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2017


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces All Spring State ESSA Plan Submissions Complete, Ready for Peer Review



Graduating seniors boo Betsy DeVos at commencement in Florida

Hundreds of graduating seniors of a historically black university here booed and turned their backs on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she struggled to deliver her commencement address over the raucous crowd.


Texas Southern cancels Cornyn’s commencement address

Texas Southern University said Friday that Sen. John Cornyn will no longer speak Saturday during the historically black college’s commencement ceremony. The announcement — two days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed during a commencement address at a historically black college in Florida — comes in the wake of opposition to the Texas Republican’s appearance by many graduates.


POLITICO-Harvard poll: Americans favor charter schools — but not at public schools’ expense

By KIMBERLY HEFLING  | 05/03/17 03:29 PM EDT

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appears to have the backing of a small majority of Americans — and roughly two-thirds of Republicans — in her quest to expand school choice measures.


Educators value after-school program Trump wants to nix

By Kantele Franko | AP May 8

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — As one group of squealing, chanting students smack a ball into the pavement in a heated game of four square, another finishes an after-school writing lesson inside Circleville Elementary School.


Expensive, grueling fights in store for US special education

By Carolyn Thompson | AP May 6

Lisa Connor felt her disabled daughter should have been making more progress in school, yet annual meetings with the district to set services and goals sometimes felt like a tug of war.


Betsy DeVos was asked to address education reporters at their annual convention. She said no.

Every U.S. education secretary has found time to address the Education Writers Association convention, and the organization was hoping that Betsy DeVos would agree to do the same thing at its 2017 convention in Washington. It’s not happening.


California governor withholds $50 million from University of California over audit report

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday that he is withholding $50 million from the University of California in light of an audit last month that claimed to have found a stash of $175 million in secret funds while officials requested more money from the state.


Lawmakers unveil bill to ban school lunch shaming

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to ban schools from publicly shaming students who can’t afford to pay for lunch.  Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), along with Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), introduced the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act in the House and Senate on Monday. 



Arizona: Ducey’s Education Plan Makes Small Mark in Big Shortfall

By BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Legislature’s 2017 session put the spotlight on education spending and policies in a big way and provided a glimpse of expected election battles next year over how the state pays for schools and teacher salaries.


New York: De Blasio, Expanding an Education Program, Dismisses Past Approaches

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday used a news conference announcing the expansion of one of his signature education programs to defend his education policies as a whole and to sweepingly dismiss those of previous leaders of the school system.


Florida: Parents, school leaders urge ‘no’ vote on mammoth education bill

TALLAHASSEE- A swift outcry of condemnation came over the weekend from many parents, teachers and school administrators who want the Florida Legislature to reject a $419 million, 278-page K-12 public schools bill — which was decided behind closed doors, which lawmakers cannot change and which they’ll have had only about 72 hours to review when they vote Monday.


California’s State Board of Education votes to close 2 Celerity charter schools

California’s State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to shutter two Los Angeles charter schools run by a nonprofit that is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education and the inspector general for the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Texas: Senate panel tacks “school choice” provision onto education finance bill

The Senate Education Committee Thursday passed the House’s major school finance reform bill, after adding a controversial provision subsidizing private school tuition for special needs students — a move unlikely to go over well in the House.


Maryland: School Bullying Is Down. Why Don’t Students Believe It?

Read this article if you’re having a rough day. This is a rare story about positive social change.


Kan. task force studies teacher recruitment

A Blue Ribbon Task Force has been appointed in Kansas to study the recruitment and retention of teachers in the state. The committee also will study strategies to build the next generation of teachers.

WIBW-TV (Topeka, Kan.)


How do states plan to use Title I, II funding flexibility?

This analysis evaluates how proposed Every Student Succeeds Act plans from 15 states may use “set-aside” provisions for Title I and Title II funding. Six states indicate plans to set aside 3% of Title II funding for teacher and principal leadership


KS- Lawmakers Discussing ‘Tax on a Tax’ to Pay for Schools
A surcharge on personal income taxes to raise money to fund schools is among the ideas Kansas lawmakers have been discussing privately. (Wichita Eagle, May 9)


Comparing NC Voucher Students to Public School Pupils
Hundreds of students attending private schools using taxpayer money, along with their counterparts in public schools, volunteered to take an extra test this spring as part of a project that aims to show how the groups compare academically. (News & Observer, May 8)


How NY and CA’s Draft ESSA Plans Stack Up
The first round of official state plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act may be in the books, but some other states have also released their draft ESSA plans to the public recently. (Education Week, May 10)


Bill Would Give NV Legislature More Power Over State Higher Education System
A measure heard would give the Nevada Legislature more ability to oversee the Board of Regents and the state higher education system. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 8)


Before Voucher Legislation Comes Back in 2018, TN Lawmakers Want a Plan to Determine Whether Vouchers Work
While Tennessee lawmakers will go home this year without passing school vouchers into law, they’re not leaving the idea behind. (Chalkbeat, May 2)


MN on the Verge of Teacher Licensing Overhaul
The years-long task of overhauling Minnesota’s way of licensing teachers has entered the home stretch. (Twin Cities, May 7)