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education experience for K-5 students (Arts Education Part- nership, 2014). Of the 45 states with mandated K-5 music, requirements vary with some states requiring minimum instructional minutes per week (Missouri), others requir- ing twice-weekly “programs” (Vermont), and still others “strongly recommending” elementary music. The PMEPD has created a proposal for a K-5 music mandate that can be accessed at www.pmepd.weebly.com. When asked about the lack of a Michigan mandate, the panelists (Austin, Weiser, Zemke, Warren) admitted they were unaware of the issue. It was obvious from the panelists’ remarks that they did not actually know there was not an elementary music require- ment, and they also did not know that generalist classroom teachers are certified to teach elementary music in place of having a highly qualified music teacher. Part of the problem, President Austin noted, is that Michigan is a “local control” state, and the legislature is given limited authority in public education matters. When asked how to get an elementary music law on the books, the panelists agreed that the State Board of Education should be the body making these kinds of decisions, but that the political climate of late signaled increasing efforts to have the legislature involved in all edu- cation decisions.


In the last panel discussion of the day, specifics of the el- ementary music mandate policy came up again, and Royal Oak Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin of- fered an administrator’s take on the PMEPD’s policy docu- ment. He said that putting too many specifics in place, such as requiring twice-weekly instruction of 45 minutes each, might make a superintendent uneasy and apt to balk at the policy. He suggested that designing “tiers” might motivate administrators to put policies in place. For example, if hav- ing certain mandates in place makes a district a “gold sta- tus” district, it may help superintendents adopt the policy. He said that superintendents pay attention to the programs that make their districts attractive and competitive with surrounding districts. While no mention was specifically made at the summit about the work of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment program (MAEIA), Lewis-Lakin’s thinking mirrors the arts education blueprint/ program review tool that the organization is developing. The blueprint describes a “gold standard” arts program and allows districts to assess their capacities based on an exten- sive questionnaire. More information is available at www. mi-arts.wikispaces.com.


Teacher Evaluation Policy Representative Zemke discussed the evolving teacher evalu- ation policy changes in Michigan at length during the sum- mit. Along with Representative Margaret O’Brien, Zemke is one of the co-sponsors of legislation formed in the wake of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE) recommendations from July 2013. In the most recent edition


of the Michigan Music Educator, I detailed specifics of the MCEE’s recommendations at length. Representative Zemke summarized the main points of the legislation and updated the audience on the status of the bills. Currently, the bills (HB 5223-24) have passed the House and were referred to the Senate for consideration. Zemke said he was extremely proud of the collaborative process used to write the legisla- tion. He noted that the lawmakers met extensively over the course of eight months with teachers, teachers’ unions, state- wide education associations, school attorneys, and others.


Senator Warren, however, did not share Zemke’s optimism for the future of state teacher evaluation policy. She noted that even though the process of drafting the legislation may have been sound, the educational climate surrounding it is uncertain and “broken.” Warren specifically brought up the uncertainty around curriculum and testing, briefly dis- cussing the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the controversy over signing on to the related test under development by the Smarter Balanced Assess- ment Consortium. In June 2014, just before the summit, the state legislature ordered a halt to adopting the Smart Bal- anced test and asked the Department of Education to admin- ister a new MEAP test in Spring 2015. Senator Warren said that until educators know on which test their students (and by extension, teachers themselves) will be assessed, mak- ing any lasting decisions about teacher evaluation policy is inappropriate.


Michigan State University Professor Dr. Mitchell Robinson and University of Michigan Professor Dr. Colleen Conway raised an interesting issue related to this uncertainty around teacher evaluation. The professors said that both colleges’ music education programs are having difficulty placing stu- dent teachers in certain Michigan school districts, because district officials are telling them that the evaluation situation is just too uncertain to ask co-operating teachers to invest in training student teachers. Representative Zemke in particu- lar seemed frustrated by this and promised to follow-up with the professors.


Other Issues Throughout the day of discussions, specifics of the PMEPD’s two policy initiatives often were forced to the side by the larger issues facing education in the state. It was easy to tell that these issues—including the aforementioned uncertainty around the Common Core and testing, and the controversy around charter schools and school funding—were “hot” top- ics among the audience. Several times, questions and points made by audience members drew passionate applause. For example, Royal Oak Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin brought up that while Governor Snyder’s proposed school budget for 2014-2015 ensured a raise in funding for all dis- tricts (a minimum of $50 per pupil allotment), this meant


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