Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Today, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate held its first conference meeting to continue work to bridge differences and reauthorize the expired Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), impacting a whole generation of students.

Members of the committee made public, opening statements in anticipation of a final agreement, which has been anticipated to occur as soon as the week of November 30, given the framework now in place. The committee will meet again on Thursday, November 19th, to continue their work and consider amendments.

The tasked team of 39 conference members today highlighted various provisions and offered reflections in their statements. In relating some of their positions, some members chose “theme songs” and also literary figures, including Graham Nash’s “teach your children well,” Mick Jagger’s “you can’t always get what you want,” and Mark Twain’s quip about death repurposed to conference committees. The popularity of these references added focus to how the arts can express ideas.

Conference member and STEAM Caucus co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) noted to her colleagues the “importance of a well-rounded education” and creating and ensuring “equitable opportunities for all students.”

What’s at stake was not missed—Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) offered hope that the “product we put in place for the next decade is good for all our children.”

Stay tuned to ARTSblog for further information, should the conference committee reach a final product, which will then be voted on by Congress.