The Coalition on Coalitions (CoCs) supports NAMM members and their networks working on state-level music and arts education advocacy efforts. The Pennsylvania network provides tactics, resources and best practices to move and improve state-level policies, funding and advocacy for music and arts education.
2022 PMEA Legislative Priorities
In order for PMEA's fundamental beliefs to become reality for all Pennsylvania students, PMEA encourages the legislature, the Governor, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the State Board of Education to be proactive in ensuring that all school districts and charter schools receive adequate and equitable funding, adequate policy support for the well-rounded education of every student (which includes music and the arts as defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act), and support for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
1. Increase in Basic Education Subsidy Funding
The Pennsylvania General Assembly should work with the Governor to increase the Basic Education Subsidy. By increasing the basic subsidy to school districts, Pennsylvania would serve students more effectively by allowing school districts the discretion to use the money as they see fit. We support an increase of $1.25 billion to the basic education subsidy that would be run through the Basic Education Fair Funding Formula. In addition, we support an addition of $300 million to ensure those school districts in Pennsylvania needing the most support receive additional funding. Any increase in funding should consider the rising mandated costs school districts are facing as well as costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the 2022-2023 budget, the General Assembly must provide annual state funding to school districts in an amount, and distributed through a formula, that supports the principles of equity, adequacy, accountability, and predictability. We applaud Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly for their work in recent years to increase the basic education subsidy and we hope we can count on their support as they craft the 2022-2023 budget.
2. Fair Charter School Funding
The Pennsylvania General Assembly should adopt a funding formula for brick and mortar, and cyber charter schools that allows these schools to maintain their original intent – a place for innovative education that can be shared with traditional public schools. PMEA calls upon members of the General Assembly and Governor Wolf to rethink the current charter funding structure to allow all charter schools and all traditional public schools to thrive through a funding formula that supports the principles of equity, adequacy, accountability, and predictability for charter school and school districts.
3. Support Physical Education Credit for Marching Band Participation
The Pennsylvania General Assembly should pass legislation allowing students that participate in high school marching band to receive physical education course credits. Other states (Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas) have policies in place that allow for at least some credit for student participation in marching band in place of a physical education credit. Local boards of education would determine if their local education agency would offer such a credit.
4. Increase the Allocation to the State System of Higher Education
The Pennsylvania General Assembly should increase funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). PASSHE schools are a valuable resource to Pennsylvania. Some of the finest music teacher preparation programs are housed in these universities. It is critical to provide funding to support adequate resources to prepare the next generation of music educators.
5. Review Current Pennsylvania Standards in the Arts
The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education should review content area standards as outlined in 22 Pa. Code, Chapter 4. The Pennsylvania General Assembly should pass legislation requiring a cyclical review of standards in all academic areas. A review and update of these standards is necessary to bring them into alignment with the current state of education in Pennsylvania and the nation. Specifically, the Pennsylvania arts standards should be brought into closer alignment with the 2014 National Core Arts Standards and should include standards in media arts.
6. Reinstate the Governor’s School for the Arts
The Pennsylvania General Assembly should reinstate the Governor’s Schools of Excellence – specifically the Governor’s School for the Arts. Pennsylvania House Bill 539 has been introduced calling for the return of the Governor’s Schools of Excellence.
7. PDE Arts Content Advisor / Liaison
PMEA supports reinstatement of the funded Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) staff position that supervises the development of curriculum and standards in five content areas: Music, Visual Art, Theatre, Dance and Media Arts.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education should work with the Pennsylvania General Assembly to reinstate this staff position that was removed from the PDE Curriculum staff in the 201112 state budget. PDE leadership is encouraged to review key pieces of federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for ways to fund this position by way of federally available money. Specifically, Title IV, Section 4104 of ESSA addresses such a possibility.
8. Direct Path to Dance Teacher Certification
PMEA supports the Pennsylvania Department of Education to enact a direct path to dance teacher certification. The Pennsylvania General Assembly should direct PDE to change the dance certification process to allow for dance educators to receive certification without having to pursue it through other subject areas.
You can learn more about these policy priorities and more in PMEA’s 2022 Policy Playbook
PMEA, Director of Public and Government Affairs
State Music & Arts Organizations
American's for the Arts, Arts Services Directory for Pennsylvania