Music Education Policy Roundtable Members Ask U.S. Department of Education for Relevant Evaluations for Music Teachers

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The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has released proposed regulations on rating teacher preparation programs across the country, which could have a negative impact on music education programs, especially with future teachers hoping to work with underserved students. They expand the annual reporting that institutions are required to participate in to receive federal funding.

Music Education Policy Roundtable

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To develop and implement an effective system of teacher preparation regulations, the evaluation of teachers and teacher preparation programs alike must be based on the subject taught by the teacher

The new regulations will amend the “Higher Education Act” and the associated “Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program” that provided $119.9 million in funding for future teachers last year to teach in underserved schools. Based on these ratings “low performing programs” would be ineligible to receive TEACH Grants for their students.

Because of the impact the Department’s proposals could have on current and future music educators, members of the Music Education Policy Roundtable, a coalition of like-minded groups who advocate for favorable policies for music education programs and teachers, released a public statement to the USDOE.

“In light of the U.S. Department of Education’s newly proposed teacher preparation regulations protocol, the Music Education Policy Roundtable would like to take this opportunity to commend the Department for its efforts to develop a robust and effective teacher preparation system, but also to express our deep concern with the methodology recommended to accomplish this vision,” members of the Roundtable stated. “While holding programs accountable for producing excellent teachers in music and all subjects is a goal that member-groups of the Music Education Policy Roundtable strongly stand behind, doing so in a manner that creates needless burden on institutions of higher learning, while giving short shrift to music and other important areas of learning, is a losing proposition.”

The Roundtable's statement lists three major concerns regarding the Department’s proposal, which can be read here. “It is the Roundtable’s sincere hope to work closely with the Department,” the statement continues, “in order to develop a more inclusive, less taxing system for how our shared goal of implementing a better teacher preparation protocol can be achieved, for the tens of thousands of music educators, nationwide, as well as for all other teachers serving in subject areas other than math or language arts. … To develop and implement an effective system of teacher preparation regulations, the evaluation of teachers and teacher preparation programs alike must be based on the subject taught by the teacher.”

The National Association for Music Education and the Music Education Policy Roundtable strongly encourage all members of the music education higher education community and other affected parties to supplement the Roundtable statement with their own input on the merits of appropriate teacher preparation regulations for music education, and to include their own suggestions for improving the current proposal.

The National Association for Music Education and the Music Education Policy Roundtable strongly encourage all members of the music education higher education community and other affected parties to supplement the Roundtable statement no later than February 2, 2015, with their own input on the merits of appropriate teacher preparation regulations for music education, and to include their own suggestions for improving the current proposal.

National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 130,000 members, the organization is the voice of music education in the United States.

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Catherina Hurlburt
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