Dems seek $9 million for jazz education

Eight House Democrats have proposed legislation that would spend $9 million over the next three years on jazz education.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) proposed the bill, H.R. 4280, which would create a National Jazz Preservation Program at the National Museum of American History and other Smithsonian museums. It would spend $2 million per year on this program for the next three years.

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The legislation would set up a jazz appreciation program under which jazz musicians would play at Smithsonian affiliates across the country. The bill authorizes $1 million per year for this section of the program for the next three years.

Conyers's legislation would also add new language to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — the nation's bedrock federal education program — saying that one of the law's purposes is to promote jazz education by bringing jazz artists to elementary and secondary schools, and teaching kids about jazz.

It's not clear whether House Republican will be able to dig the $9 million cost of the bill, but Conyers has shown over the years that he has the chops to pass jazz-related legislation.

In 2009, the House approved a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" album.

In 2006, the House passed a resolution honoring jazz artist Shirley Horn.

In 1987, the House and Senate passed Conyers's H.Con.Res. 57, expressing a sense of Congress that jazz is a national treasure. A Washington DC jazz club and cultural center was later established in 1993 and was named HR 57, after Conyers's resolution.