NAfME and NAMM Commend Congressional Education Leaders, President Obama on Passage of “Every Student Succeeds Act”

Mike Lawson • • January 7, 2016

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President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds ActPresident Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replacing No Child Left Behind. National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Kline, and Ranking Member Scott are commended for their efforts to compete work on this important legislation.

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” represents an important shift in federal education policy to ensure that all students receive a well-rounded education that includes music and arts. Specifically, the bill’s inclusion of “music” and “arts” in the definition of a “Well-Rounded Education” marks an unprecedented step forward for music education, as it connects to a variety of significant other provisions in S. 1177:

Title I: S. 1177 stipulates the eligibility of Title I funds for all “Well-Rounded Education” subjects. With the partnership of State and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), music educators now have the opportunity to increase access to a “Well-Rounded” education that includes music and arts for the nation’s most disadvantaged students.

Protecting Students’ Class Time: The inclusion of “music” and “arts” gives stakeholders a stronger point of reference when advocating for these programs and when building state-level curricula and accountability systems. S. 1177 includes protection for students struggling in other academic areas from being pulled from music and arts courses in favor of remedial education. The bill emphasizes the importance of classroom time within these courses, helping to ensure they are provided with an equally meaningful learning opportunity.

Title IV: S. 1177 requires school districts (Local Educational Agencies) to undertake a needs assessment of how they are supporting well-rounded education in their schools, including music education, and then provide supplemental funding to strengthen programs which need assistance. This additional support signals Congress’ belief in the importance of a well-rounded education for our nation’s students, including the study of music.

Federal Grant Opportunities: S. 1177 also includes new opportunities for music and arts education through formula funding grants in Title IV. States receiving formula grants must use those funds for purposes of carrying out particular State Activities, including offering “Well-Rounded” educational experiences, such as music, to under-represented, disadvantaged, or minority students. The bill specifically notes activities and programs in “music” and “arts” as appropriate uses of formula grants.

“We envision a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “The passage of the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ is a significant step toward the realization of that vision.”

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