ESEA Heads Towards Conference

Conference Committee Proceedings, Day 2 (Updated: 11/19/2015)

Earlier this afternoon, ESEA Conferees voted 39-1 to approve a bicameral and bipartisan compromise to reauthorize ESEA. The lone “no” came from Senator and Republican Presidential nominee, Rand Paul.  The new “Every Student Succeeds Act” agreement substantially shrinks the federal footprint for education policy and returns accountability to the states. However, it does holds firm on testing requirements that many Democrats found imperative to ensuring equity and protecting the most disadvantaged students. The final language of the bill is expected to be released on Monday, November 30 and will go to the House floor on Wednesday, December 2. The Senate is expected to discuss shortly after.

Conference Committee Amendments

Several amendments were introduced during today’s Conference Committee proceedings.  The following are some of interest to our cause:

  • Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) introduced an amendment that would help states integrate “music” and “arts” into STEM instruction by expanding the list of allowable activities in Title IV formula grants that support “well-rounded” education activities.  This amendment was ADOPTED through a voice vote and will be a part of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5) introduced an amendment to have the Institute of Education Sciences to study the Title I funding formula and report back to Congress with its results.  The amendment was ADOPTED and members agree that more research on the formula would be beneficial in their future discussions on how Title I should be spent.
  • Senator Michael Bennet (D-PA) introduced an amendment, that would allow states to set targets for the amount of time students spend on standardized tests.  This amendment was ADOPTED.
  • Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced an amendment that would have changed the Title I funding formula, however this amendment was NOT VOTED UPON.
  • Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-PA-5) introduced an amendment that would have capped education funding at FY2016 levels; this amendment was NOT ADOPTED.

ICYMI, a full recording of the today’s conference committee discussions may be found here.

House, Senate ESEA Compromise Sails Through Conference Committee (Education Week)

Conference Committee Proceedings (Updated: 11/18/2015)

Members of the ESEA Conference Committee kicked off their discussions earlier this afternoon. Although a very positive step in authorizing a new bill, today’s joint meeting consisted of mostly formalities, where each member contributed an opening statement to the committee. Humility, however, was a very common theme within each of the member’s statements, continuing the optimistic and bipartisan nature that helped pave the way for this latest ESEA’s reauthorization attempt.  Several members referenced music during their statements, including selections from The Rolling Stones and Whitesnake. Senators Rand Paul (KY) and Bernie Sanders (VT), both who are running for president, were not present for today’s conference meeting.

The Conference will reconvene tomorrow (Thursday, November 19) at 10:00am, where amendments will be brought up to the table for debate.  It will once again be live streamed via the House Education and the Workforce YouTube Channel.

House & Senate Conferees Announced (Updated: 11/18/2015)

The House of Representatives and Senate have named their conferees for the ESEA Conference Committee.  All members are members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The ESEA Conference Committee will conduct its first meeting today (Wednesday, November 18) at 2:30pm.  It will be available on live stream via the House Education and the Workforce YouTube Channel.  It is expected that the committee will meet again tomorrow, Thursday, November 19, at 10:00am.

House Conferees (Announced 11/17/2015)

Republican: Reps. John Kline (MN-2), Virginia Foxx (NC-5), Phil Roe (TN-5), Glenn Thompson (PA-5), Brett Guthrie (KY-2), Todd Rokita (IN-4), Luke Messer (IN-6), Glenn Grothman (WI-6), Steve Russell (OK-5) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26);

Democrats: Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Susan Davis (CA-53), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Jared Polis (CO-2), Frederica Wilson (FL-17), Katherine Clark (MA-5) and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1). 

Senate Conferees (Announced 11/18/2015)

Republicans: Lamar Alexander (TN), Michael Enzi (WY), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), Rand Paul (DY), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mark Kirk (IL), Tim Scott (SC), Orrin Hatch (UT), Pat Roberts (KS), and Bill Cassidy (LA);

Democrats: Patty Murray (WA), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Bernie Sanders (VT), Robert Casey (PA), Al Franken (MN), Michael Bennet (CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), and Elizabeth Warren (MA).

Lawmakers have announced that they have reached an agreement to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The announcement caps off months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Members and their staff. The House of Representatives is planning to appoint conferees for the Conference Committee later today (Tuesday, November 17), while the Senate may appoint conferees either today or Wednesday. Conferees will convene Wednesday and Thursday, where members will conduct an open debate, which may include amendment additions.  Any final agreement must be supported by a majority of House and Senate conferees. A conference report is expected to be filed on November 30th, with a House floor vote on December 2nd. A Senate vote would follow shortly after the House’s approval.

Photo: Senate HELP Committee

At the moment, the official language and content of the compromised agreement have not been released, including details on the core academic subjects provision.  However, lawmakers have continued to express their utmost confidence and optimism for the bill.  “We believe we have a path forward that can lead to a successful conference…this is a law that everyone wants fixed, and teachers, parents and students are counting on us to succeed.” stated leaders of the House and Senate education committees on Friday.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan has also praised Congress for the ESEA agreement, stating it is “good news for nation’s schools that Congress is taking the next step forward towards a serious bipartisan plan to revamp the outdated No Child Left Behind law.”  

NAfME will continue to monitor and track the latest ESEA developments; check this page regularly for current updates concerning conference committee conferees, upcoming votes for the bill, and other pertinent information.


Need a refresher? Visit our “In case you missed
it” recap
on ESEA for this year.

Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, November 17, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (