Track the ESEA Reauthorization Bill

President Signs Every Student Succeeds Act

Dec 10, 2015 - President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), effectively reauthorizing ESEA and thus creating a framework to increase access to music and arts education for every student. Specifically, the law provides that music and arts education be included as part of a well-rounded education, an unprecedented step and shift in federal education policy. What this means for states and school districts is increased access to funds (under both Title I and IV) and resources to develop, strengthen and maintain music education in public schools.

Learn more about this exciting new development. 

Track Senate Bill

Dec 8, 2015 - Senate approves Conference Report bill, S. 1177. 

Nov 30, 2015 - Conference Committee releases final bill language for their compromise proposal, Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177). 

Nov 18, 2015 - Senate and House Conferees meet to discuss conference report.

June 16, 2015 - Senates passes Every Child Achieves Act by a margin of 81-17. Bill is expected to head to conference, where negotiations to combine with H.R. 5 will begin. 

June 24, 2015 - Senate schedules floor debate for Every Child Achieves Act. Debate expected during the week of July 7. Music and arts advocate are encouraged to contact their senators with the following message: 


The Senate is expected to debate the Every Child Achieves Act, S. 1177 the week of July 7. As a music and arts education advocate, I urge you to:

  • Support the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act, S. 1177
  • Support the language in the bill that provides a definition of core academic subjects, including music and the arts
  • Support moving the process forward- critical that ESEA reauthorization happens this year.

It is time for music and arts to be defined in our nation’s federal education law. Please vote in favor of music and arts by reauthorizing ESEA as amended by the HELP Committee. 

Thank you, 

April 30, 2015 - The HELP Committee marks up Every Child Achieves Act. During the process, over 80 amendments are filed with 29 amendments adopted. 

April 15, 2015 - Video of the markup and links to amendments are made available as well as a statement from Senator Murray, Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee.  

April 10, 2015: The Senate releases a bipartisan ESEA proposal, “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” which retains the core academic subject section from No Child Left Behind that had been eliminated in an earlier version, and adds “music” as a specific core academic subject in addition to the “arts.” The draft bill is now available, with specific language concerning core academic subject designation on page 529. Meanwhile, the Senate HELP Committee and Senator Murray, Ranking Member on the HELP Committee, have released a summary of the bill. 

April 10, 2015: Mark up (a term used to debate, adjust and amend the bill) of the Senate bill to start on Tuesday, April 14; process is live-streamed

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) holds hearings on ESEA reauthorization efforts:

Fixing No Child Left Behind: Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students (2/3/15)
Fixing No Child Left Behind: Supporting Teachers and School Leaders (1/27/15)
Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability (1/21/15)

Track House Bill 

Dec 2, 2015 - House votes to pass the conference report, S. 1177. Bill heads to Senate for approval. 

Nov 30, 2015 - Conference Committee releases final bill language for their compromise proposal, Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177).  

Nov 18, 2015 - House and Senate Conferees meet to discuss conference report

July 8, 2015 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, a measure to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The bill passed with 218 votes in favor and 213 votes opposed.  No Democrats supported the bill.   The debate continues this week in the US Senate on their ESEA reauthorization bill  which is undergoing the amendment process.  If the Senate is successful in passing its bill, it assures a conference between the House and Senate to reconcile differences. 

July 8, 2015 - The rule for continued consideration of H.R. 5, is released. It includes 4 additional amendments: 

1. Rokita (R-IN), Grothman (R-WI): Sets the authorization from fiscal year 2016 through 2019. (10 minutes)

2. Walker (R-NC), DeSantis (R-FL):  Adds A-PLUS, which would send funding under NCLB back to states in the form of block grants, and states would then be able to direct that funding to any education purpose under state law. (10 minutes)

3. Salmon (R-AZ): Allows parents to opt their student out of the testing required under this bill and exempts schools from including students that have opted out in the schools’ participation requirements. (10 minutes)

4. Polis (D-CO): Requires states to have college- and career-ready standards and set performance, growth, and graduation rate targets for all student subgroups. Includes performance targets for English language learners and students with disabilities. (10 minutes)

The rule does not allow additional time for debate. Should the rule pass, the House will move to vote on these amendments and final passage of H.R. 5 today. 

July 2, 2015 - The House Committee on Rules schedules a meeting for July 7 to review H.R. 5, debate may start as soon as July 8. 

February 27, 2015 - The House schedules a vote on H.R. 5 but is later postponed. 

February 25, 2015 - The Republican led House Committee on Education and the Workforce released a detailed summary of H.R. 5. The ranking Democratic minority office also releases its report detailing the challenges and problems with H.R. 5. 

February 24, 2015 - The House Rules Committee approves the rule that provides for general debate of H.R. 5, also known as the Student Success Act or the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act. The rule provides for one hour of general debate on H.R. 5, equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. A second rule, providing for the consideration of amendments to H.R. 5, was considered by the Rules Committee.  127 amendments were submitted to the House Rules Committee for consideration.  The Rules Committee is expected to approve approximately 2-3 dozen for consideration when the bill goes to the House Floor. 

February 11, 2015 - The House Committee on Education and the Workforce hold a full committee markup on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) - legislation designed to replace No Child Left Behind. The committee approves the by bill by a vote of 21 to 16. To view video of the markup, please click here.

February 3, 2015 - Representative John Kline (MN-2) and Todd Rokita (IN-4) introduce legislation designed to replace No Child Left Behind. To read more about this measure, please visit the House Education and the Workforce Committee website

Response from White House 

February 13, 2015 - The White House releases a report detailing state-by-state impact of H.R. 5 and other analysis. 

Background on ESEA

The last reiteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) came in 2001 under the name of “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB). The law aims to bring students to proficient levels in reading and math while also holding schools and states more accountable for results. Among other provisions, NCLB requires annual testing in reading and math for students in 3 through 8 grade and requires states to record and publish “adequately yearly progress” for school receiving Title I funding. Please visit the U.S. Department of Education to learn more about NCLB.


AFTA's ESSA Implementation Progress Webinar Series.  

Contact your Member of Congress

Now is the time to communicate with your Senators and Representative. Below are key message points that you should use when discussing support for music education in a reauthorization of ESEA. To locate your Representatives, click HERE. To locate your Senator, click HERE

  • Congress must maintain the definition of "core academic subjects," including music and the arts, to assure access to federal resources
  • Congress must amend language to clarify to states and local districts that Title I funds can be used to increase accessibility to high quality music education programs for low income and high minority school populations, and Title II funds can be used to strengthen teacher and principal preparation, training, and recruitment to deliver high quality music programs
  • Congress must urge states and local districts to provide learning experiences to students that offer a well-rounded education and prepare them for college and career readiness, including music education
  • Congress must require annual state reporting on student access to music and the arts to address the equity gap
  • Congress must recognize and address disparities in access to high quality, sequential-based music programs among school districts that serve disproportionately large numbers of low-income and minority students, and the critical need for federal resources through Titles I, II, IV and V, and through separately funded programs providing after-school learning and the Arts in Education grant program

Senate HELP Committee Members

Lamar Alexander (TN) (Chairman) Patty Murray (WA) (Ranking Member)
Michael B. Enzi (WY) Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Richard Burr (NC) Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Johnny Isakson (GA) Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Rand Paul (KY) Al Franken (MN)
Susan Collins (ME) Michael F. Bennet (CO)
Lisa Murkowski (AK) Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Mark Kirk (IL) Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Tim Scott (SC) Christopher S. Murphy (CT)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT) Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Pat Roberts (KS)  
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA)  

House Education and the Workforce Committee Members 

John Kline, Minnesota (Chairman) Robert “Bobby” Scott (Senior Democratic Member) 
Joe Wilson, South Carolina Rubén Hinojosa, Texas 
Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Susan A. Davis, California 
Duncan Hunter, California Raúl M. Grijalva, Arizona 
David P. Roe, Tennessee  Joe Courtney, Connecticut 
Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio 
Tim Walberg, Michigan Jared Polis, Colorado 
Matt Salmon, Arizona Gregorio Sablan, Northern Mariana Islands
Brett Guthrie, Kentucky Frederica S. Wilson, Florida
Todd Rokita, Indiana Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon           
Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
Joseph J. Heck, Nevada Mark Takano, California 
Luke Messer, Indiana Hakeem Jeffries, New York           
Bradley Byrne, Alabama Katherine Clark, Massachusetts           
Dave Brat, Virginia  Alma Adams, North Carolina           
Buddy Carter, Georgia Mark DeSaulnier, California           
Mike Bishop, Michigan   
Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin  
Steve Russell, Oklahoma   
Carlos Curbelo, Florida   
Elise Stefanik, New York   
Rick Allen, Georgia  

To learn more about the value of music education, please visit NAfME's Broader Minded website.