Senate ESEA Update: 20 Amendments Down, Eight Amendments to Go

With the House having successfully passed its Student Success Act (H.R. 5) ESEA reauthorization legislation yesterday evening, all eyes turned to the Senate today, where work continued on that chamber’s bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177). Day three featured discussion and voting on amendments, from sunup to sundown. Most importantly for music education advocates, Senator Baldwin (D-WI) spoke about the Kirk-Reed-Baldwin-Brown “Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources” Amendment, on behalf of which NAfME members have now sent over 3,000 letters to key Senators in just a matter of days (an incredibly impressive achievement).

standardized tests

The legislation, which would help document access to education resources for all students (including access to all core academic subjects), and require states to take action to remedy inequities, is now officially “pending.” Several other amendments are also in the pending cue (more on that below). With 20 total amendments now passed, the Senate has officially concluded voting on S. 1177 for this week, and will resume action on the bill next Monday.

Here is a full recap of the Senate’s work today:

  • Daines (R-MT) Amendment on state education funding (A PLUS) [NOT AGREED TO]
  • Brown (D-OH) Amendment on site resource coordinators (AGREED TO)
  • Toomey (R-PA) Amendment protecting children from sexual predators (AGREED TO)
  • Portman  (R-OH) Amendment on recovery support services (AGREED TO)
  • Manchin (D-WV) Amendment on volunteerism (AGREED TO)
  • Kaine (D-VA) Amendment adding career and technical education as a core academic subject (AGREED TO)
  • Heller (R-NV) Amending concerning consultation with governors (AGREED TO)
  • Feinstein (D-CA) Amendment allowing school staff to certify that students are homeless for purposes of obtaining benefits (AGREED TO)
  • Fischer (R-NE) Amendment on local governance of education (AGREED TO)
  • Gardner (R-CO) Amendment on concurrent enrollment programs at eligible schools (AGREED TO)
  • McCaskill (D-MO) Amendment on enabling teacher consortiums to utilize grants to develop a process of allowing certified teachers to participate in more than one state (AGREED TO)
  • Gillibrand (D-NY) Amendment on increasing STEM access for underrepresented students (AGREED TO)
  • Gardner (R-CO) Amendment on charter school representatives consultation in the development of Title I plans (AGREED TO)
  • Casey (D-PA) Amendment on improving accommodations for children with disabilities (AGREED TO)
  • Klobuchar (D-MN) Amendment to improve academic achievement in STEM (AGREED TO)

The following amendments are currently “pending”:

  • Alexander (R-TN)/Murray (D-WA) Amendment in the nature of a substitute
  • Peters (D-MI) Amendment on family engagement funds for financial literacy
  • Warren (D-MA) Amendment regarding cross-tabulation of student data
  • Scott (R-SC) Amendment to expand Title I funding options to follow disadvantaged children
  • Hatch (R-UT) Amendment on student privacy
  • Franken (D-MN) Amendment on discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender
  • Kaine (D-VA) Amendment on State accountability preparatory measures for postsecondary education or the workforce

This has been a very exciting and productive week of ESEA action. With the House’s passing of H.R. 5, we are now one step closer to replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Hopefully, next week will bear witness to the Senate’s passage of a new ESEA of its own (with music and arts along for the ride!), and the first major step toward a productive conference committee.

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

Christopher Woodside, NAfME Assistant Executive Director, 9 July 2015. © National Association for Music Education.