Hopeful Atmosphere during Next Steps with Federal Education Bill

Yesterday, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN-02), and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) met to outline next steps for moving to conference committee, in efforts to reconcile their respective ESEA reauthorization proposals.

Although the Senate bill, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), and House bill, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), feature vast differences, all sounded positive as Chairman Kline stated, “I am confident we will be able to craft a bicameral education bill that reduces the federal role, restores local control, and empowers parents and education leaders.”

Chairman Alexander said that “while there while there are important differences, the consensus supporting the framework for the House and Senate bills is the same: Continue the law’s important measurements of academic progress of students but restore to states, school districts, classroom teachers and parents the responsibility for deciding what to do about improving student achievement.”

At this time, it appears that Chairman Kline will get the nod to Chair the conference committee, with all conferees yet to be formally named.

NAfME will continue to keep a close eye on further updates regarding the conference committee’s development. We remain hopeful and will be calling on music advocates for a final push to ensure music and arts education is not overlooked in this final phase.

A full press release covering today’s discussions can be found on the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s website.

Ronny Lau, Special Assistant, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, July 30, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).