Advocacy Update: CTE Elementary Arts Credential (AB 2437)

Hello CMEA Membership:

Governor Newsom has signed the 2024-25 state budget and related legislation is making its way through appropriation committees and hearings. We are very happy to share that CMEA led the way in lobbying, coordinating opposition/support campaigns, and were ultimately successful in removing the California CTE/Elementary arts supplementary authorization in the Governor’s omnibus education budget trailer bill!

The original language in the Governor’s omnibus education budget trailer bill directed the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to create a new supplementary authorization for an Arts & Music CTE Elementary credential. While we are highly supportive of what CTE courses provide to our secondary students, especially around career preparation, we had concerns about the appropriateness of this new kind of credential: CTE elementary supplementary authorizations do not exist in any other content area and elementary music education should be foundational not necessarily about career preparation. We believe that existing pathways for credentialing, while underutilized, better address the teacher shortage realities in our state.

This campaign would not have been possible without the support of our partner arts education organizations (CAEA, CETA, and CDEA), CMEA section presidents, our lobbyist Martha Zaragoza Diaz, and you, our membership. In a very quick manner, we worked together to support and elevate our call that all students in music classrooms across California deserve highly qualified, credentialed arts and music teachers from UTK through grade 12.

The teacher credentialing sections of AB 2473 went through many iterations in the past several months. Ultimately, CMEA believed all teachers, not just teachers providing instruction in the visual and performing arts, would benefit from the amendments. As amended, AB2473 would do the following:

  • Allow a single/multiple subject credential holder to add a supplementary authorization in art, theater, music, dance, science, math, history, etc.,
  • Out-of-state single and multiple subject credential holders would be able to receive equivalent supplementary authorizations that recognize their out-of-state credentials. This includes all multiple and single subject areas with the exception of special education,
  • Lastly, as amended, a credential teacher would be able to demonstrate subject matter competency for a supplementary authorization through any of the existing methods available to single subject credential candidates.

Up until this point, the current law only authorized supplementary authorizations through coursework or a major in the subject. This legislation will allow CSET, coursework, and/or transcript review as viable options for supplementary authorizations.

As amended, CMEA believes that AB 2473 clarifies and strengthens existing credentialing requirements specific to supplementary authorizations for single-subject, multiple-subject, and out-of-state credential holders. The teacher shortage will be addressed with these clarifications and students would benefit from instruction by qualified teachers, in all subjects. It is for these reasons CMEA, and our partner arts education organizations (CAEA, CDEA, CETA) fully supported AB 2473 as amended on June 24, 2024.

We would like to thank everyone who reached out with questions and concerns and those who participated in our multiple NAfME, Voter Voice Campaigns. CMEA is also tremendously grateful for the opportunity to work with both Assembly and Senate Budget and Education Committees, and their staff in assisting us in this effort. This legislation still needs to be finalized by both sides of the legislature, but CMEA and our arts education partners are excited at the possibilities created by this bill and now encourage our legislators to vote yes on AB2473 as amended.

CMEA Response to Updated Guidance from the California Department of Public Health – September 1, 2021

CDPH Guidance Continues to Fall Short for Music Education

The California Music Educators Association (CMEA) is once again sorely disappointed in the guidance released on September 1, 2021 (click that link, item #16) by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In our efforts to work with the CDPH, we find them lacking in their ability to listen to us as professionals in the field of teaching music education in California. In June 2020, in a virtual face to face meeting, we asked them to separate in-school music teaching and learning from activities that take place after school, such as sports and clubs. We explained that music taught in the classroom to thousands of students daily is not “extracurricular.” When addressed in this manner, and in state guidelines by a state agency, they are reinforcing what we do as music educators and what our students do as music learners is not as important as math or science or other subjects taught in our schools.

The inability for the CPDH to differentiate in-class instruction from after school activity demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the California education code that states music is a required subject in schools. In addition, California has adopted music standards and a state adopted framework to guide instruction. Their inability to do so disrespects all of the work that music educators must do to provide music instruction in our schools, TK – 12, their efforts to follow the CDPH guidelines, and shows little respect for every student in our band and choir classes, that what they receive as part of their K-12 education in music is just an “extracurricular activity.”

It is difficult for CMEA to respect the agency that continually fails to support what music teachers and students are doing each and every day to have music education in our schools.

Research has shown that wind instruments can be played with appropriate bell covers with students wearing face coverings, and all singing can take place wearing a face covering. CMEA has provided this information since July 2020 based on the peer-reviewed, University of Colorado/University of Maryland Performing Arts Aerosol Study. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been designed specifically for wind players and singers, as well as covers for all wind instruments. The fact that the guidance still does not specifically acknowledge that indoor instruction can take place with these appropriate face coverings and instrument covers falls short once again, and is left to interpretation by health departments, school administrators, and district/school legal councils. We believe the CDPH is more interested in activities such as sports and clubs than what is mandated as inclusive of an education for all students.

Finally, many schools do not have the capacity to maintain six feet of physical distance, and the science has shown that it is not necessary with the correct PPE and coverings for wind instruments and singers. Just as the guidance points out on page 4, item 2: Physical Distancing a. “Recent evidence indicates that in-person instruction can occur safely without minimum physical distancing requirements when other mitigation strategies (e.g., masking) are implemented. This is consistent with CDC K-12 School Guidance.” This is the same guidance when masking the wind player, the wind instrument, and the singer. We see a disparity between sports guidelines—which does NOT have physical distancing requirements, allows for full contact, and does not require  students to be masked—compared with the guidance for music education. CMEA feels there is an inequity in the CDPH’s approach, which highlights a disparity between activities, is a safety hazard, and creates confusion for many.

We once again implore CDPH to clarify its guidance and that California Administrators and Legislators work to help CDPH make these clarifications. We call on Governor Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, California School Board Association President, Dr. Susan Heredia, Assembly member and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, Patrick O’Donnell and Senator and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Connie Leyva on behalf of music education and music students in CA schools to correct the language in the guidance dated September 1, 2021 to allow music students—singers and wind players—to sing and play wind instruments with appropriate coverings and face coverings and place music education where it correctly belongs, as part of the school day instruction for all of our students in California.

To share this document on CMEA letterhead, click here.

UPDATE: CPDH Guidelines for Performing Arts Activities

On March 22, the California Department of Public Health updated their guidelines regarding Performing Arts activities. Previously, the guidelines stated that such activities were “highly discouraged” and only allowed in very specific circumstances.

For more information these new developments regarding Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Activities, click here.

Relevant requirements, recommendations, and resources for Performing Arts activities can be found here.

California Superintendent Nominated for Department of Education Position

CMEA announces that President Biden has picked an Arts Education-supporting Californian to be Deputy Secretary of Education, Cindy Marten.

Marten currently serves as Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District, where she has been recognized for her support for arts and music in the district. CMEA awarded her its “Administrator of the Year” award in 2017 because of her consistent presence at music and arts events in the schools and community, as well as her continued supportive words that have translated into a vibrant visual and performing arts program in San Diego Unified. In support of CMEA, Marten spoke at a recent Stand Up 4 Music rally on the Capitol steps in Sacramento.

Along with Biden’s pick for Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, who currently serves as Connecticut’s education commissioner, these appointments represent stark departures from the previous administration and reflect President Biden’s desire to bring expertise back to the government.

Marten comes highly recommended by CMEA President-elect Anne Fennell and former CMEA President and current CMEA Advocacy Representative Russ Sperling, who both work with Marten in San Diego. They refer to her as “a firm believer in educational access and equity,” and both speak of her efforts to support arts and music education in SDUSD. She supported changes in policy to eliminate “student pull-outs” from music class for remediation and supported the purchase of instruments so students could use one free of cost. During her tenure as SDUSD Superintendent, Marten shepherded through a new strategic plan for the district that boosted arts education funding by several means, including Title I funds into “Learning Through the Arts,” an arts integration program. This investment, which amounted to $5 million over six years, is the first of its kind in the state of California.

Ms. Marten also exhibits a personal commitment to the arts in her community. Having lost her husband to a long illness, she realized that the arts were necessary for her to get out in the world. Sperling explained that Marten would sit down with him quarterly to create an arts calendar and that she has now attended events at virtually all arts venues and organizations in San Diego. Both Sperling and Fennell described Marten as “authentic” and “a true supporter of the Visual and Performing Arts,” and commended her ability to speak eloquently about the value music and the arts provide students.

A lifelong champion of equity, San Diego Unified labels itself as an “anti-racist” district and has implemented a Restorative Justice discipline policy and Standards-Based Grading to make ensure the success of all students.

Marten’s nomination is supported by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, as well as educational leader Diane Ravitch.

CMEA believes that both Dr. Cardona and Ms. Marten will be staunch supporters of music and arts education, and we applaud their nominations to lead the U.S. Department of Education. CMEA looks forward to working with this administration to address the many challenges that lay ahead.

Join a Performing Arts Class

Are you concerned that 2020 has impacted your child’s social and emotional wellbeing? Participating in a Performing Arts class in school could be the answer you’re looking for!

Encouraging your child to participate in a Performing Arts class can really help the feeling of isolation during these days of distance/remote learning. These are classes like Band, Orchestra, Choir, Dance, and Theatre. They’ll make new friends, develop confidence and feel the satisfaction belonging to a caring/supportive community when we return to in-person instruction.

Consider joining a Performing Arts class today!

This message is presented to you in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the California Music Educators Association (CMEA).

NAfME 2020 Student Composition Competitions

2020 Composition & Songwriting Competition

Every year the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) sponsors a student composition competition providing students the opportunity to submit original songs for future performance. Cash prizes were awarded to winners and honorable mentions and all entrants received written evaluations of their compositions. This year, NAfME added a Student Songwriters category for K–12 students. 

Several California student entries received Honorable mentions, as well as a winner in the Electronic Music Competition category. Let’s congratulate our CMEA students and teachers for their recognition on a National stage!

Click on the titles to listen to the music

Student Songwriters Category

High School Honorable Mention
Chole Borsody
Icarus
Oakwood School, Gilroy, CA
Steve Potter, teacher

Electronic Music Composition Category

High School Honorable Mention
Madeline Cahill
Time Machine
New Roads School, Los Angeles, CA
Stephen Billington, teacher

Collegiate Winner
Estevan Olmos
Cali-Mexup
California State University, Fresno

Collegiate Honorable Mention
Daniel Cobo
You’ll Never Get To Heaven
Azusa Pacific University

Student Composers

High School Honorable Mention
Krishna Mandal
Pacific Voyage
Benicia High School, Benicia, CA
Patrick Martin, teacher

Learn more