Nassau Music Educators
Government Relations and Advocacy Hub
The 2022 Asks...
August 2021 Update
NYSSMA Establishes Standing Committee for advocacy
NYSSMA President Dr. Brown called for a continuation of the ad-hoc advocacy group created as a response to the great need for direction music educators had at the beginning of the pandemic. This standing group has representation in each zone, and is led by Lori Orestano-James (Chair) and Mike Mastrangelo (Vice-Chair). The Zone 13 (Nassau County) representative on the committee is Joe Owens, NMEA GRC chair.
The bills that we have been talking about for the past two years are gaining some much needed traction among some very important stakeholders at NYSED and the Board of Regents. The bills will remain active through the 2022 session, so the support we earned from legislators last March will remain in tact. We should continue to encourage our legislators who have not signed on yet.
Something that has been a talking point of ours for years is the Curriculum Associate Position for Music in the NYSED Office. The importance of this position is realized in its absence, particularly now. One needs only to look at the way music has been handled by state ed during the pandemic to see that the entire state would benefit from someone in the office with content and pedagogical knowledge of what we do. Here is a "Swiss-Cheese" letter that we can use to send to our state legislators to show that they need to fill the position, which has funding already allocated.
Covid Re-opening Guidance:
As you probably know by now, NYS has claimed that since the state of emergency has expired, local districts would regain full control over health and safety measures. NYSED released a guidance document which only talked about extra-curricular activities. This provides an opportunity for music educators to directly advocate for curricular music to exist using the mitigations proved by science.
A very valuable piece of information, which has received a less press, but is still important, is the results of a survey conducted in May, 2021 which reports on the observed efficacy of mitigation measures. Read the whole thing, but the most dramatic takeaway, is that in cases where some or all of the recommended mitigation strategies were used, the risk of transmission was 1 in 1.9 Million. In cases where no mitigation was used, the risk of transmission was still low, but far greater, at about 1 in 235,000. For your data hungry boards of education or central office, this is a great piece of evidence that music is far safer than the March 2020 headlines might suggest. You can find the report here.
Governor Hochul has come out and released her plans to create a mask mandate, and an impending Vaccine Mandate through the Department of Health. New York City has come out with a vaccination mandate, which does not allow for
Joseph R. Sugar Day, 2021
Our 2021 Virtual Joseph R. Sugar Day in Albany was a great success! As a result of our efforts, we now have each Nassau County Member of the education committees in both Assembly and Senate as sponsors of the music as a common branch subject bill.
2021 Ask: Distancing - New York State Revised its distancing guidelines for Music in our schools. Music and other aerosol activities can now be spaced at 6' apart. You can find the guidance here.
2021 Ask: Budget - The consolidation of expense-based aid categories was not a part of the '21-'22 Budget. This is great news!
2021 Ask: Legislative - No movement yet on the bills!
Please reach out to Joe Owens should you have any questions: email@example.com