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Federal Education Bill to Be Voted on in the House

Posted on: Jul 18, 2013

Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin floor debate on the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation.  Congress continues to be bitterly divided along political party lines on almost every possible policy issue from the farm bill to gun control.  Unfortunately, federal policies and aid to our nation’s schools are no exception and this bill could significantly impact the future of arts education.

Please take two minutes to send a customizable message to Congress to support arts education by July 18th.

Congressman John Kline (R-MN) will be putting forward H.R. 5, the Student Success Act.  This GOP-backed version of ESEA relinquishes much of the federal role of ensuring all students have equitable access to a well-rounded, high quality education to states and localities.  Americans for the Arts Action Fund along with many arts education groups across the country oppose this bill because we believe that classroom time, funding, and testing in the arts will suffer in this proposed environment.  Additionally, this bill specifically eliminates stand-alone grants for model arts education programs. In fact, the Administration has already recommended that President Obama veto H.R. 5 in its present form.

In the alternative, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) will be offering an amendment during floor debate, which will serve as a substitute bill to H.R. 5.  Americans for the Arts Action Fund supports this substitute bill because it amplifies the inclusion of arts education throughout elementary and secondary education programs, maintains a balanced federal role, retains support for stand-alone arts education grants, includes the arts as an eligible activity in Expanded Learning Time and in Turnaround Schools, and adds art and design into STEM education activities.

A personal email message from you to your specific House member and two Senators is waiting to be sent at our E-Advocacy Center.  You can send it as-is or better yet, customize it with your own arts education talking points.  The key is to send it by tomorrow.  While this substitute amendment may not pass a GOP-controlled House, the votes that it does secure will strongly position it for conference negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate.