Music Education Policy Roundup – May 22, 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 and Analysis

Please join us for our quarterly webinar this Wednesday, May 24th at 7pm as we discuss Everything ESSA!  What do you need to know?  What has changed?  Please join us to find out!


To elevate the role of arts education, measure it– A Brookings analysis authored by Brian Kisida, Bob Morrison, Lynn Tuttle.


Music Technology in a 21st Century Economy– NAfME Blog Post


Department of Education News

WEBINAR: Changes to the Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants Resulting from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2017Participants can submit questions in advance!  All questions and responses will be archived after the webinar. 

Federal News

Trump’s first full education budget: Deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice

Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.


Here are K-12 education programs Trump wants to eliminate in 2018 budget

Mental health services. Civics and arts programs. International education and language studies. Anti-bullying activities. Gifted and talented initiatives. Full-service community schools.

These are some of the K-12 education programs that President Trump is proposing be eliminated in his first full budget, as explained in a story published on The Washington Post’s website, here.


The Little-Known Statistician Who Taught Us to Measure Teachers

Students enroll in a teacher’s classroom. Nine months later, they take a test. How much did the first event, the teaching, cause the second event, the test scores? Students have vastly different abilities and backgrounds. A great teacher could see lower test scores after being assigned unusually hard-to-teach kids. A mediocre teacher could see higher scores after getting a class of geniuses.


Trump and DeVos plan to reshape higher education finance. Here’s what it might mean for you.

Budget documents obtained by The Washington Post show President Trump’s administration is proposing a raft of changes that could have significant impact on college students and graduates.  One of the most striking higher education proposals calls for replacing the five income-driven student loan repayment plans with a single plan to the benefit of undergraduate borrowers. 


The Broken Promise of Higher Education

May is always an important month in the college calendar. Many high-school seniors across the nation make the decision where to attend college; millions of college students graduate and enter the workforce.  It is the circle of life for colleges and universities in the United States—young students deciding what courses to take and what to major in, accumulating credits and knowledge, and, upon graduation, taking that experience into the workforce. Having been a professor and dean for many years, I have looked across the sea of cap and gowns and seen the excitement and anticipation of those about to cross the stage. Like them, and like their parents, I have wondered what their futures hold.


DeVos has a lot to learn about education and race

This week marks the 63rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in  Brown v. Board Education, the landmark case that outlawed racial segregation in our nation’s schools, fundamentally redefining the meaning of equality in American law.  Although Brown is best remembered for sounding the death knell to Jim Crow in our country, the court’s decision should also be recognized for its powerful and equally groundbreaking articulation of the central role of public education in American democracy. 


Government Accountability Office faults Education Department’s oversight of grants

Each year, the U.S. Education Department distributes billions of dollars in grants to schools, districts, states and nonprofits, and the agency needs to do a better job making sure that it is adequately monitoring whether the money is achieving its intended goals, according to a Government Accountability Office report.


State News

Charter schools to parents: Write to Gov. Scott, get volunteer hours (Florida)

Some school choice advocates in South Florida are going so far as to offer incentives to parents in order to amplify the perception of public support for a controversial K-12 public schools bill that many are urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto.


For Families With Special Needs, Vouchers Bring Choices, Not Guarantees (Florida)

The day Ayden came home from school with bruises, his mother started looking for a new school.  Ayden’s a bright 9-year-old with a blond crew cut, glasses and an eager smile showing new teeth coming in. He also has autism, ADHD and a seizure disorder. (We’re not using his last name to protect his privacy.) He loves karate, chapter books and very soft blankets: “I love the fuzziness, I just cocoon myself into my own burrito.”


WV Board of Education criticized for limiting public comments (West Virginia)

West Virginia Board of Education members received pushback Wednesday over their meeting agendas’ newly stated ban on members of the public speaking to the board at meetings about items not listed on the agendas, and the board’s president says he wants to stop the ban.


Howard County Board of Education unanimously approves interim superintendent (Baltimore, Maryland)

The Howard County Board of Education approved Dr. Michael J. Martirano as interim superintendent at its monthly meeting Thursday night.  Dr. Martirano was named acting superintendent on May 2 after former superintendent Renee Foose announced her resignation. As part of her resignation, Foose will receive $1.6 million over the next several years.


Research and Analysis

Experts gather at MIT to explore new research in education technology

Technology is developing at a breathtaking pace, and it’s fundamentally changing the way teachers, policymakers, and researchers think about education. On March 31, J-PAL North America hosted a conference at MIT to discuss the role of research and evidence in education technology, bringing together a diverse group of leaders across academia, education companies, education practice and administration, and philanthropy to share their experiences implementing and evaluating technology both in and out of the classroom. Throughout the conference, speakers and participants advocated for rigorous evaluation to advance our understanding of how technology can help students, regardless of income level, learn.


Knowledge is Power When it Comes to Judging College Performance

Is college worth it? That’s a question that haunts not only many of the young adults considering their next educational step, but many policymakers, too. The value of a college education by number of years completed is, on average, high and rising. But those averages disguise a huge amount of variation, by institution type, degree major, and many other factors.


A Kindergarten Teacher Like Me- The Role of Student-Teacher Race in Social-Emotional Development

Our nation’s classrooms have become increasingly racially and ethnically diverse. Given these demographic changes, many policymakers and practitioners have expressed the need for increased attention to how teacher diversity might be linked to reducing racial/ethnic differences in teachers’ ratings of social-emotional skills for students of color. Using the most recent nationally representative data, we investigated whether kindergarteners have different social-emotional ratings when they had a teacher whose racial/ethnic group was the same as their own. We found that having a teacher of the same race was unrelated to teachers’ ratings of children’s internalizing problem behaviors, interpersonal skills, approaches to learning, and self-control. However, students whose teachers’ race/ethnicity matched their own had more favorable ratings of externalizing behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school disciplinary policies.