Music Education in the Law

Fine arts education requirements are defined in the Texas Education Code (TEC) passed by the Texas Legislature. The State Board of Education sets policy and standards for the public education system in Texas in accordance with the TEC. Below is a summary of requirements in law that affect music education which, along with art, theatre, and dance make up the fine arts.

Texas Education Code Mission & Objectives

A well-balanced and appropriate curriculum will be provided to all students (Obj. 4). Each district shall ensure all children in the district participate actively in a balanced curriculum designed to meet individual needs (Ch. 28.002).

Required Curriculum and Skills

The Required Curriculum is divided into Foundation and Enrichment subjects. Fine arts is part of the Enrichment Curriculum and thus must be taught.

School districts with kindergarten through grade 12 must offer the Required Curriculum.

The State Board of Education adopts the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for all subjects of the Required Curriculum. Music TEKS are defined for every level, and instruction must cover 100% of these TEKS as a condition of accreditation. Districts must provide instructional materials that cover 100% of the TEKS in all fine arts courses.

Grade Level Requirements

Elementary: School districts must provide TEKS-based instruction in all subjects/courses of the Required Curriculum in grades K–5, including music.

Middle School: Each student must complete one fine arts course in grade 6, 7 or 8, and the district must offer courses in three of the four fine arts disciplines (or two, if reduced by the commissioner of education based on school size).

High School: Every high school student must successfully complete one fine arts credit to graduate. Each district must offer at least two of the four state-approved fine arts subjects.

Graduation Programs

The Foundation High School Program allows the serious music student the opportunity to pursue an Arts and Humanities endorsement that includes multiple fine arts courses. State Board rule also protects the opportunity for continuous arts study throughout high school within any of the other four endorsements (Business and Industry, Public Services, STEM, and Multidisciplinary Studies). Learn more.

Pull-Out Limitations

School districts must establish policies that strictly limit the pull-out of K–12 students from a regularly scheduled class for remedial tutoring or test preparation. The policy limits pull-out to 10% of the school days on which the class is offered for the student to receive credit or a final grade (unless authorized to extend to 25% by a parent/guardian. This extension cannot be made solely by a principal or counselor). From TEC 25.083. Learn more.

HB 4545 Pull-Out Restrictions (signed into law June 2021): Districts must provide accelerated learning (i.e., tutoring) to students who performed below an acceptable level on STAAR (grades 3–8) or any required high school end-of-course assessment in spring 2021. However, this tutoring cannot occur during any time that takes students away from instruction in any other foundation or enrichment subject (music is an enrichment subject). TEA published this FAQ document, and questions 30 and 31 address this. As an example, when fifth-graders leave their homeroom for music, those who need tutoring provided by HB 4545 cannot receive it during the music instructional time.


Need Help?

For questions about music education in the law, contact Robert Floyd.