Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives formally agreed to form a conference committee to reauthorize the federal K-12 education law (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA), which has been expired since 2007.

The rule in today’s House floor debate formally allowed the House to request a conference with the Senate.

Fifteen members of Congress were named to the conference committee now in formation, joining the leadership team of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Ranking member Bobby Scott (D-VA), Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA). Read the education committee's joint leadership statement here. The 15 newly appointed House members are:

  1. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  2. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
  3. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
  4. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
  5. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)
  6. Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
  7. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)
  8. Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK)
  9. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  10. Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
  11. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
  12. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
  13. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
  14. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
  15. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

The Senate may name their conferees this week, as well.

This House action puts in motion an expectation to vote on a final rewrite of the bill by year's end that can be signed into law. If successful, it will be the first time in 14 years that federal K-12 education policy has advanced. This is a big deal for a whole generation of students.

We developed a national petition to members of Congress serving on the conference committee to voice constituent support for retaining arts-friendly provisions within the education reform bill. Almost 20,000 individuals have joined in signing to help ensure that all students have access to a well-rounded education that includes the arts.