Senate Committee Holds Hearing Today on Education Reform Bill

April 14, 2015

From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 15:05

This afternoon, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a markup of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, legislation aimed at amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the nation’s preeminent law governing public education. The law was last amended in 2001, when the No Child Left Behind Act was passed. That bill expired in 2006, and efforts since to reform public education in Congress have failed.

If you are represented by a member of the HELP Committee, we urge you to reach out to that elected official today and strongly urge them to support inclusion of the arts in public education.

Here are some talking points to consider:

  • Thank the committee for supporting the continued inclusion of the arts as a core academic subject.
  • The bill, as currently drafted, does not explicitly include support for the arts in after-school programs. Urge your senator to support such a change.
  • The bill, as currently drafted, does not include language referencing the Arts in Education Program at the Department of Education. Urge your member of Congress to support language allowing the agency to continue to administer a direct, nationally funded, competitive Arts in Education grant program that advances the capacity of the arts to strengthen learning and improve teaching.

The version of the Every Child Achieves Act under consideration today reflects changes that have been made since its introduction, through negotiations with the HELP Committee’s top Democrat, Patty Murray (D-WA). Here is the revised Every Child Achieves Act. While it is difficult to predict how hearings like this will unfold, the fact that the bill now has the working efforts of the panel’s leadership will make passage more likely.

It is important, if you are represented by a member of the HELP Committee, to urge the Senate to support arts education in the Every Child Achieves Act.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Republicans by Rank
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Rand Paul (KY)
Susan Collins (ME)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Tim Scott (SC)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA)

Democrats by Rank
Patty Murray (WA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael F. Bennet (CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)