Music Education Policy Roundup – September 21, 2018

Here is the latest policy news, provided by NAfME:

GAAME Act Update

NAfME is pleased to announce our endorsement of Senator Jon Tester’s (D-MT) Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) Act (S. 3391), which was released on August 28. The legislation is a companion bill to the House of Representative’s GAAME Act, which was released in June. You can read more about the bill and Senator Tester (a former music educator) in our press release.

National News

Lawmakers Strike Deal on Education Spending, Omit Ban on Money for Guns

The U.S. Department of Education would get a $581 million increase in total funding, and programs for special education, career and technical education, and charter schools would also get more money, through a spending deal struck by lawmakers Thursday.

A conference committee of House and Senate members who oversee education agreed to set department spending at nearly $71.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year 2019 budget. If signed into law by President Donald Trump, it would be the second straight year that Congress agreed to boost the department’s  budget.

DeVos to Announce New Push for Deregulation, Innovation

The Trump administration says it wants more innovation in higher education. And it believes rewriting the rules for college accrediting agencies is the best way to encourage innovation.

In an exclusive interview with Inside Higher Ed, the administration’s top higher education official described the philosophy behind the latest proposed regulatory overhaul, which the U.S. Department of Education unveiled Monday by introducing a wide-reaching rule-making session.

New poll: Majority of parents don’t want their kids to become teachers

The 2018 PDK poll on public education released Monday reinforces Americans’ support for schools, especially the ones in their own communities. But for the first time in its history, the PDK poll finds a majority of Americans opposing their own kids becoming a public school teacher.

Gates Foundation Announces $92 Million Going to School Networks Working to Boost High School Graduation, College Enrollment

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give $92 million to 19 school districts, charter schools, and nonprofits to develop networks of middle and high schools across the country, with specific projects aimed at increasing the number of black, Latino, and low-income students graduating from high school and going onto college.

State News

How States Across The Country Are Dealing With Teacher Shortages

On the first day of the 2016–17 school year, the San Francisco Unified School District was short 38 teachers. That meant about 6 percent of the district’s classroom vacancies had gone unfilled, forcing the district to rely on substitutes. Since then, SFUSD has turbo-charged its recruitment and retainment efforts, working to attract existing teachers and launching a number of new programs to establish a robust, predictable pipeline of qualified teachers.

After Five Years, a Bold Set of Teacher-Prep Standards Still Faces Challenges

It has been five years this week since the teacher-preparation landscape was shaken up with the adoption of standards for accreditation that focused on evidence and outcomes, and teacher-training programs are still feeling the ripple effects.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which was created by a 2010 merger between two national accrediting bodies, officially approved its new standards on Aug. 29, 2013. Since then, teacher-prep programs seeking accreditation have worked to meet more rigorous standards, including ones that created minimum criteria for teacher-candidates’ academic achievements and that forced institutions to demonstrate graduates’ impact in the classrooms where they ended up working.

State rolls out new accountability system for schools

For Minnesota’s educators, parents and education watchdogs, there’s a whole new set of numbers to work through as the state on Thursday rolls out its newly refined school and district accountability data.

Education Department officials hope the new system — dubbed North Star — helps struggling schools much better than the Multiple Measurement Ratings it replaces.

Sununu creates panel to study later school start date

Many New Hampshire students are returning to school this week, but Republican Gov. Chris Sununu hopes they’ll savor summer for a bit longer next year.

Sununu on Tuesday created a commission to study whether schools should be required to start after Labor Day, a step some other states already have taken. Doing so would reverse a trend in New Hampshire, where the percentage of schools starting after Labor Day has dropped 50 percent in the last decade, and the majority of districts now open before that traditional start date.

Research & Analysis

Inside Charter School Growth: The Emergence of Non-District Authorizers

During the past five years, a significant shift has occurred within the national charter school landscape: for the first time, most new charter schools are being opened under entities other than local school districts.

If the trend continues, it could have both positive and negative implications for the pace of charter school growth, quality of charter schools, quality of oversight, and attributes of newly approved schools.

Why School Spending Is So Unequal

The Hopatcong School District, serving a solidly middle-class borough of Sussex County, N.J., has a lot of money to work with. It spent approximately $40,000 per student in fiscal 2016 — more than any other school district in the country with at least 1,000 students. A few other New Jersey districts of similar size were spending less than a third of that.

Such vast differences in education spending are common across districts, and come as debates over teacher pay and demands for more overall state support have garnered a lot of attention this year.