Children in a performance

Congress Begins ESEA Re-write

Recent Activity

Progress is being made in Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Leaders of both the House and Senate education committees recently released a joint statement that they had “found a path forward” to begin a “successful conference” to replace the current version of ESEA known as “No Child Left Behind.” ESEA is the federal education law that funds primary and secondary education and aims to provide all students with fair and equal opportunities to achieve a high quality education.

In July, both chambers passed their own versions of the next ESEA: the Student Success Act in the House (H.R.5) and the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) in the Senate. This week, a conference committee–a bi-partisan, ad hoc group of lawmakers from both the House and Senate–has started working together to combine the two versions of the bill. Conferees include:

House of Representatives Senate

Suzanne Bonamici (D-1st-OR)
Katherine M. Clark, (D-5th-MA)
Carlos Curbelo (R-26th-FL)
Susan A. Davis (D-53rd-CA)
Virginia Foxx (R-5th-NC)
Marcia L. Fudge (D-11th-OH)
Glenn Grothman (R-6th-WI)
Brett Guthrie (R-2nd-KY)
John Kline (R-2nd-MN)
Luke Messer (R-6th-IN)
Jared Polis (D-2nd-CO)
Phil Roe (R-1st-TN)
Todd Rokita (R-4th-IN)
Steve Russell (R-5th-OK)
Robert C. Scott (D-3rd-VA)
Glenn Thompson, (R-5th-PA)
Frederica S. Wilson, (D-24th-FL)


Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Tim Scott (R-SC)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

PAA and arts education advocates have identified
several priorities for arts education in this legislation, including maintaining the arts in the definition of “core academic subjects,” allocating $30M for the Arts in Education grant program at the Department of Education, and requiring states to report on student access to and participation in the arts. Several of these asks were included in the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act. Education Week reports a few known provisions in the preliminary conference bill, but full details, including the stakes for arts education, are not yet known.The conference committee aims to pass a new, revised ESEA by the end of 2015.

PAA will keep you updated on the details of the conference bill,  and next steps for ESEA in both the House and Senate, and opportunities to take action and speak up for arts education.