POLICY ALERT: Federal K-12 Education Bill Day 4, More Debate, Amendments

Today, the United States Senate resumed its debate of S. 1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.” With deliberations not getting underway until 3:00PM, only two votes ultimately took place this evening: a vote on Senator Hatch’s (R-UT) student privacy policy amendment (AGREED TO) and a vote on Senator Kaine’s (D-VA) post-secondary remediation amendment (AGREED TO). Of all the amendments, 136 total amendments are currently “in the hopper,” but with a final vote on the legislation expected Thursday, July 16, only eight more are listed as “pending,” (including the Alexander-Murray substitute).


Senators from both the left and right are presently angling to move the conversation in a variety of different directions, hoping to get their two cents in before the debate concludes. Here are a few examples:

  • Isakson (R-GA) Amendment that would allow parents to opt their children out of standardized testing (an effort that mirrors the recent House proposal)
  • Cruz (R-TX) Amendment which would allow states to develop their own tests and accountability protocols
  • Cotton (R-AR)/Vitter (R-LA) Amendments tailored to prevent federal dollars from flowing into “sanctuary cities” with immigrant-friendly policies
  • Burr (R-NC)/Bennet (D-CO) Amendment designed to alter the Title I funding formula with the goal of increasing funding to poor rural states (but which would drain resources from cities/more populous states)
  • Scott (R-SC) Amendment crafted to allow Title I funds to “follow” students to their schools of choice (vouchers)

Democratic Senators Schumer (NY) and Mikulski (MD) both vehemently oppose any amendment that would alter the current Title I funding formula, which they argue would drastically reduce overall dollar amounts to their states. Senator Schumer’s camp has already gone on record that city schools throughout New York could see the loss of $170 million in Title I support.

More to come as debates continue this week. And if you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to write a letter of support to your senators regarding the importance of the Kirk (R-IL)/Baldwin (D-WI)/Reed (D-RI)/Brown (D-OH) Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources Amendment. There is still time before the vote! Thank you for your continued support.

Follow the ESEA action on Twitter and watch for updates here.

Christopher Woodside, NAfME Assistant Executive Director, 13 July 2015. © National Association for Music Education.