ESSA Approved! #MusicStandsAlone

In December 2015, the United States Senate passed the "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) [S. 1177] by a final vote count of 85 to 12, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was reauthorized.  With the President's signature, hopefully in the days to come, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will be no more.  Here are the most important top line takeaways from the new bill:

  • A New and Clear Intent to Support Our Nation's Schools Through a Well-Rounded Education: This is a sea change from NCLB, which focused heavily on the academic success of students narrowly defined as reading and math.
  • Enumeration of Music as a Well-Rounded Subject: Replacing the Core Academic Subject language from NCLB, this language clearly articulates that music should be a part of every child's education, no matter their personal circumstance.
  • Requirements for Well-Rounded Education: Schools will now be able to assess their ability to provide a well-rounded education, including music, and address any deficiencies using federal funds.
  • Flexibility of Title I funds to support a well-rounded education. All Title I programs, both school-wide and targeted, are now available to provide supplemental funds for a well-rounded education, including music.
  • More Professional Development for Music Educators: Funds from Titles I, II and IV of ESSA, may support professional development for music educators as part of supporting a well-rounded education.
  • Flexible Accountability Systems: States must now include multiple progress measures in assessing school performance, which can include such music education-friendly measures as student engagement, parental engagement and school culture/climate.
  • Protection from "Pull Outs": The new ESSA discourages removing students from the classroom, including music and arts, for remedial instruction.

To learn more about the bill, click here.

Check out this comprehensive guide from NAfME:  ESSA Implementation Toolkit