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ESEA Reauthorization Moving Forward: House Appoints Conference Committee Members

November 17, 2015

Note  11-18-15: First ESEA House-Senate conference committee meeting today at the Capitol at 2:30 ET. The meeting will be livestreamed (watch it live here). For more info, see this post.


House, Senate, and, likely, White House negotiations regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) have been happening behind the scenes since roughly late September. It seems that a single bill has been negotiated out of the House version, the Student Success Act (SSA) and the Senate version, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), both of which were passed in July 2015.

Word is that the negotiated version looks more like ECAA than SSA. One of the major differences between the two bills involves the issue of opting out of federally mandated standardized testing. SSA declared the right of parents to opt out; ECAA leaves it up to states to decide upon opt out rules.

In July 2015, I wrote about opt out language in both SSA and ECAA. However, I will not comment further on the now-negotiated, SSA-ECAA version until I am able to see the text. Moreover, that negotiated version will next go before a House and Senate conference committee, where it could be further modified before heading to both houses for a vote. (In this July 2015 post, I offer more discussion regarding the issue of the conference committee process.)

And that conference committee is moving forward. According to this November 17, 2015, House Education and the Workforce press release, House Speaker Ryan has made the committee appointments:

House Moves Toward K-12 Education Conference Committee
Speaker Ryan appoints House Republican conferees

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement today after the House of Representatives approved a motion to go to conference on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed House Republican conferees:Today, the House took an important step forward in our effort to improve K-12 education and replace No Child Left Behind. I am confident the conference committee can reach agreement on a final bill that Congress will pass and the president will sign into law. I look forward to working with my fellow conferees as they offer their views and ideas to strengthen education.

Following House-passage of the motion to go to conference, Speaker Ryan appointed the following Republican members to serve on the House-Senate conference committee:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce
  • Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chairman, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  • Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN)
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
  • Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
  • Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK)
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  • Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)

Note: It is still possible (probable?) that Democrats will be added to the House conference committee.

Addendum 11-18-15: According to Politico, Democratic Reps. Bobby Scott, Susan Davis, Marcia Fudge, Jared Polis, Frederica Wilson, Katherine Clark and Suzanne Bonamici.

As for the Senate appointments to the ESEA reauthorization conference committee, word is that ESEA is on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “looking ahead” agenda. (Such was part of a “Senate Morning Update” email distributed on November 17, 2015, by Erica Suares, McConnell’s policy advisor.)

For more news, see Politco’s 11-18-19 Morning Education post.



Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education (April 2014, Information Age Publishing).

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools? (June 2015, TC Press).

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Are you saying that the entire committee is Republican Representatives?

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