NYSSMA Government Relations Committee 

Alan Orloff

Alan Orloff
NYSSMA Government Relations
Committee Chair

Summer 2016 – GRC News and Notes

The 2015/16 was a busy and successful one for your NYSSMA GRC. We started out talking with folks and giving out information brochures at the annual New York State School Boards Association and New York State PTA conventions in New York City and Niagara Falls. Soon after we had a number of well attended government relations sessions at the 2015 Winter Conference in Rochester. Our 43rd Annual Joseph R. Sugar Day in Albany on 3/07/2016 kicked off Music in Our Schools Month with great success. It was not only well attended, but the new format of getting “asks” and background information out to participants well before the day and of getting legislative visit appointments made early really allowed us to reach many legislators. I am proud that many participants were so complementary about the ways I have changed things enabling us to go into these meetings as competent, professional Advocates for our members and students. Our 44th Day in Albany is already scheduled this year on March 6, 2017.

The NYSSMA political season ended on June 23rd in Washington DC. With research, asks and great “how to” classes provided by the amazing political office of NAfME, we went to Capitol Hill informed and ready to let our legislators know about serious Title I, II and IV funding issues regarding music education. When Congress (finally, since it was due in 2005) revised the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in this session, it ended “No Child Left Behind” and created the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in it’s place. Congress designated $1.5 billion dollars to Federally fund the arts through ESSA, using funding streams through Titles I, II and IV. During congressional budget conferences, the number was cut to $300 million. Our lobbying effort was aimed at increasing the funding back to its original levels. While we didn’t get all the way back to $1.5 billion, the house did bring the number back to $1 billion. I’d like to think that our really excellent meeting at NY Rep. Steve Israel’s office, where they were shocked to find out the reality of the huge funding cut really helped move that number upwards, as Steve is a long time member of the House Appropriations Committee. New York, once again, was uniquely qualified to make a huge Advocacy difference at Hill Day 2016.

This year, NYSSMA President Michael Brownell has declared the Winter Conference theme to be about Advocacy, and there are many GRC and Advocacy sessions planned. We are pleased and proud that NAfME’s Christopher Woodside, Deputy Executive Director, Center for Advocacy, Policy and Constituency Engagement, will be a featured speaker at the Winter Conference.

Announcing the 44th Annual Joseph R. Sugar NYSSMA Day in Albany!

Monday, March 6, 2017, 9:00AM

Albany Invite

Albany Schedule

Everything ESSA


The future of music education in the state of New York is dependent on the support of educators, parents, students, communities, legislators, and support groups. This new area on the NYSSMA Web Site features important advocacy information to aid in supporting music education at the local level. The NYSSMA Government Relations Committee presents the information on this web site to assist music educators and parents in supporting the right of every student to receive a well-rounded education that includes a comprehensive, sequential, high-quality program of music taught by a qualified music teacher.  Please credit the source when using this information in your advocacy efforts.

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