President Obama to Sign ESSA

education reform

In just moments after the Senate’s passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the White House confirmed that President Obama will sign the bill into law TODAY (Thursday, December 10) at 11:00 am.  In case you missed it yesterday, the Senate voted 85-12 to pass ESSA, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  The bill begins a new era for music education, as it includes “music” as a standalone subject as part of the “Well-Rounded Education provision, which provides increased opportunities for the access of music education. 

The signing will be livestreamed via the White House website at

The “No” votes for ESSA were as follows:

Blunt (R-MO)
Crapo (R-ID)
Daines (R-MT)
Flake (R-AZ)

Lee (R-UT)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)

Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)
Vitter (R-LA)


Three Senators also abstained from voting:

Cruz (R-TX)

Rubio (R-FL)

Sanders (I-VT)


This truly a historic moment for music education and music educators across the nation.  Be sure to check out NAfME’s in-depth analysis and fact sheet on ESSA, to gain a thorough understanding of what various music- and arts- friendly provisions exist within the new law.  We also invite you to join us in thanking your member in Congress for supporting ESSA’s passage by going to your “Everything ESSA” page.  Advocates everywhere have spoken and Congress listened.  Thank you so much to all our members and supporters; without your support, this moment in history would not have been possible!


Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, December 10, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (