The Annual CMEA-led Stand Up 4 Music (SU4M) Coalition Convening was held on January 24, 2016 at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim. Leaders from the Coalition’s partnering organizations were in attendance.
SU4M includes the following partnering organizations in 2016:
-California Music Educators Association (CMEA);
-National Association for Music Education (NAfME);
-California Band Directors Association (CBDA);
-California Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (CA ACDA);
-California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA);
-California Alliance for Jazz (CAJ);
-Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA);
-Northern California Band and Choral Directors Association, (NCBCDA);
-Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA);
-Music Association of California Community Colleges (MACCC);
-California American String Teachers Association (Cal ASTA); and,
-Northern California Band Association (NCBA).
The Coalition (http://www.standup4music.org/) met to collaboratively determine the Coalition’s 2016 Policy Priorities for our music education advocacy work:
2016 Stand Up 4 Music Policy Priorities
The Annual Stand Up 4 Music (SU4M) Coalition Convening was held on January 24th, 2016 at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim. The Coalition (http://www.standup4music.org/) met to collaboratively determine the following 2016 policy priorities for music education at the state level in California:
•Priority: Advocating for State adoption of the new arts standards, informed by the National Core Arts Standards for music, is a priority for the Coalition in 2016. CMEA and the SU4M Coalition worked with State Senator Loni Hancock in 2015 to introduce a bill that would require the State Board of Education to direct State Superintendent Tom Torlakson to have the California Department of Education enact new Visual and Performing Arts Standard by 2017. Although the bill was converted into a vehicle to solve a legislative crisis regarding the California High School Exit Exam, CMEA and Stand Up 4 Music remain committed to this priority. California’s current standards were adopted in 2001, fifteen years ago. California must lead in arts education, and new standards will provide better-alignment with teacher training at universities and colleges, and new curriculum development, thus positively impacting teaching and learning.
•Priority: Ensuring access to music education for all California students through compliance with the Education Code is a priority for the Coalition in 2016. Each local governing board is responsible for compliancy with the Education Code that addresses arts education (i.e., Section 51210, music and the arts instruction is mandatory in Grades K-6; Section 51220, music and arts courses must be offered in Grades 7-12). CMEA and SU4M launched the Legally Authorized to Jam Campaign in 2015 to educate the public about the fact that music education is required in California’s public schools. The Coalition will analyse legislative solutions to this matter, up to and including litigation.
•Priority: Supporting local school districts in adopting the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS’s) is a priority of the Coalition in 2016. Education Code Section 60651.1 provides for the fact that content standards adopted by the California State Board of Education are not required for implementation in local school districts. Since California’s State Board of Education and Legislature have failed to initiate a process for Visual and Performing Arts Standards updating in California, CMEA and SU4M will work to provide resources to assist local districts with moving forward with adoption of the new NCAS’s, providing clear connections to Common Core State Standards and current technologies.
•Priority: The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015. Titled the Every Student Succeed Act, or ESSA, the law lists music and arts as stand-alone subjects under the “Well-Rounded Education” provision. CMEA and the SU4M Coalition will provide oversight of the regulation creation process related to ESSA so as to ensure that key provisions in the law pertaining to music education are implemented at the state and local level.
•Priority: The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is a crucial document providing data and information regarding financial investment in music and arts education programs for all California school districts. CMEA will use its Section Boards configuration to provide the infrastructure to analyse LCAP implementation with regards to investment or lack thereof in music and arts education. The CMEA Advocacy Representative will analyse data provided by Section Advocacy Chairs so that CMEA and the SU4M Coalition have a clear picture of success stories and challenges throughout the state. CMEA will share results with Coalition partnering organizations.
In addition to these policy priorities, the SU4M Coalition will monitor the following items:
•Monitor: Local Control Funding Formula Implementation as California adopts a new accountability system to replace the Academic Performance Index (API)- Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provides new state funding to school districts in alignment of eight state priorities. As California develops and implements a new system for rating and evaluating schools through accountability reform under the requirements of AB 484 (Bonilla), signed into law in 2013, CMEA and SU4M will monitor the effects of those changes upon LCFF through anecdotal review of Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP’s).
•Monitor: Impending Music Teacher Shortage- CMEA and SU4M will work with the California Department of Education and other members of the Education Coalition to address the teacher shortage in California Public Schools. The California Teachers Association projects the need for 100,000 new teachers in California over the next five years. California will need to recruit out-of-state teachers in the field of music education, as well as provide clear, concise information necessary to facilitate ease of access to the requirements necessary for completing the Single Subject Credential in Music.
•Monitor: Keep the Eight Priorities for the LCAP- The eight state priorities of the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, give focus to specific ways in which arts education may be funded. These are: student achievement, other student outcomes, course access, common core state standards, core services, student engagement, parent involvement, and school climate. There is a move to eliminate these priority areas, and such a decision would potentially narrow the focus of the LCFF, making it more difficult for music education to be funded via the eight state priorities. CMEA and SU4M will advocate for keeping the current structure in place for the LCAP.
•Monitor: Monitor the work of the Visual and Performing Arts expert on the Instructional Quality Commission or IQC- The Instructional Quality Commission, or IQC, is responsible for advising the State Board of Education (SBE) on matters related to curriculum and instruction. The IQC (1) develops and recommends curriculum frameworks; (2) develops and recommends criteria for evaluating instructional materials submitted for adoption; (3) evaluates instructional materials that have been submitted by publishers and makes recommendations to adopt or reject each submission; (4) recommends policies and activities to the SBE, California Department of Education, and local education agencies regarding curriculum and instruction; (5) advises and makes recommendations to the SBE on implementing the state’s academic content standards; and (6) advises the SBE on professional development, pupil assessments, and academic accountability systems alignments to the standards. The IQC has a new Visual and Performing Arts expert as an appointee. CMEA and the SU4M will engage with that individual so as to communicate the goals of the Coalition.
•Monitor: Monitor the implications of AB 1012, signed into law by Governor Brown on October 9, 2015- AB 1012 prohibits a school from assigning a student to a course period without educational content at the secondary level. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit school districts from enrolling students into course periods where no learning is taking place. Student teaching assistants may no longer be assigned to classrooms due to the implications of this bill. Also, music teacher may have large numbers of students enrolled in classes who are not interested in such elective courses at the secondary level. CMEA and SU4M will monitor the implications of AB 1012 as they pertain to music education.
•Monitor: Oppose districts’ decisions to eliminate specialized music programs, such as instrumental and choral music, in order to comply with Education Code requiring that all students are provided with a course of study in all four arts disciplines; in other words, re-assigning teachers out of performance class teaching assignments- CMEA and SU4M will monitor and respond to school districts that might diminish or eliminate specialized curricular programs, such as instrumental music and choral music, in order to provide expanded music and arts instruction in compliance with Education Code Sections 51210(e) which requires a “course of study” for students in the Visual and Performing Arts, include Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.
•Monitor: Advocate with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office so that audit fees and regular course fees are equal- California’s Community Colleges (CCC’s) are underfunded, resulting in some districts looking for ways to increase revenue through fees paid by students. Currently, some campuses have increased the fees required to audit classes so that they are higher than the fees paid by students enrolled as regular students. Many life-long learners are enrolled in community music ensembles at the community college level. In many cases, these individuals are paying fees that are inordinately higher than regularly enrolled students, creating an unfair fee structure. CMEA and SU4M will engage with Coalition Member MACCC and the CCC’s Chancellor’s Office to looks at ways to rectify this situation.
•Monitor: Support the concept of California’s new Reserve Fund- California has a Reserve Fund in its Budget provided to give stability to the State Budget in future years where the state economy may suffer. CMEA and the SU4M Coalition support the concept of the Reserve Fund. They believe that such a fund can provide stability to music education programs in years when state revenue may be diminished. CMEA and SU4M will advocate for protections of the Reserve Fund so that these funds are not depleted for new projects of initiatives of the State Legislature, Governor’s Office, or other bureaucratic governmental entities.
•Monitor: Advocate for California’s future teachers to study Music Education as a specialization within the Music Major, rather than selecting other pathways such as the California Subject Examinations for Teachers, or CSET, as options for entering the music education profession- California Subject Examinations for Teachers can provide individuals with a pathway to becoming a credentialed music educator in California. Unfortunately, students who do not take coursework in music education, including very important pedagogy coursework, do not have the skills necessary to adequately teach music in the California Public Schools. CMEA and the SU4M Coalition strongly encourage individuals entering college and university music programs to specialize in Music Education as a degree focus if they plan to pursue careers as music educators.
More information on the work of the Stand Up 4 Music Coalition may be found at: http://www.standup4music.org/
Michael D. Stone, President
California Music Educators Association (CMEA)