Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (02/06/1990)

National Literacy Act of 1990 - Title I: Literacy Coordination - Literacy Coordination, Research, and Dissemination Act of 1990 - Establishes the National Literacy 2000 Federal Interagency Council (the Council).

Amends the Department of Education Organization Act to direct the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education to: (1) coordinate all literacy related programs and policy initiatives within the Department; (2) coordinate staff resources and assistance provided to the Council; (3) assist in coordinating the related programs of other Federal agencies; and (4) assist the Secretary of Education in carrying out Council chairperson duties.

Directs the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to make a grant or contract to establish and operate a nonprofit National Center for Literacy, with a Director of the Center. Requires such grant to be awarded on a competitive basis, limited to not more than five years, and renewable. Allows the Center to use such grant funds for: (1) basic and applied research; (2) technical assistance; (3) an information clearinghouse; (4) policy analysis and program evaluation; (5) a model demonstrative program of remedial training and placement; (6) a toll-free hotline for literacy information; (7) coordination with the national clearinghouse on literacy education; and (8) collection of data on literacy and illiteracy, giving direct access to such data to all interested parties for research and statistical acquisition purposes.

Requires the Director of the Center to report annually to the Congress and the Council.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1993 for the Center, limiting the amount which may be used for its model demonstration program.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to pay the Federal share of costs of establishing and operating State literacy resource centers. Limits the amount and duration of such grants. Allows each State to contract on a competitive basis with a State agency or a volunteer or community-based or other nonprofit organization to operate such a State center. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1993 for such purpose.

Title II: Workforce Literacy - Workforce Literacy Act of 1990 - Amends the Adult Education Act (AEA) to authorize appropriations for each of FY 1991 through 1993. Provides that, if a majority of the illiterate population assisted under basic program provisions of AEA has been served, the authorization of appropriations for each of the succeeding fiscal years during FY 1991 through 1993 shall be equal to that for the fiscal year in which such determination is made.

Provides that adult education programs for which AEA grants have been made to States shall be carried out by a public or private nonprofit entity only if its grant application has been made available to the applicable local educational agency for review and comment.

Requires State educational agencies receiving such basic State grants to assure direct and equitable access to Federal funds to local educational agencies, public or private nonprofit agencies, community-based organizations, and institutions which serve educationally disadvantaged adults. Grants preference to those organizations which will serve adults with a reading ability below the fifth grade level and adults residing in areas where a high proportion do not have high school diplomas or the equivalent.

Raises from 20 percent to 25 percent the limit on the portion of a State's grant allotment earmarked for high school equivalency certificate programs.

Changes the name of State Advisory Councils under AEA to State Advisory Councils for Adult Education and Literacy. Revises membership composition and expands council duties to include certain literacy-related functions.

Requires State adult education plans to: (1) report the amount of administrative funds spent on program improvements; and (2) contain assurances that specified AEA funds will be used for existing programs and for developing new programs for adults lacking basic skills.

Revises AEA provisions for special experimental demonstration projects and teacher training to include the training of professional teachers, volunteers, and administrators, with particular emphasis on training full-time professional adult educators, minority adult educators, limited English proficiency adult educators, and teachers to: (1) recognize and more effectively serve illiterate individuals with learning disabilities and reading abilities below fifth grade level; and (2) use specified reading instruction methods, including phonics methods. Requires that not more than 15 percent of funds received for business, industry, labor, and education partnerships for workplace literacy be used for professional teacher or volunteer training (including learning disabled identification and teaching), or technical assistance. Gives priority for such grant funds to applications from partnerships which include small businesses. Extends the authorization of appropriations for such partnership program provisions through FY 1993.

Authorizes the Secretary, under AEA, to make grants for adult education programs which increase the literacy skills of commercial drivers necessary to successfully complete the knowledge test requirements under the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 and 1992.

Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize use of local targeted assistance program funds for training programs to help teachers and school counselors to identify, particularly in early grades, students with reading and related problems placing them at risk of adult illiteracy.

Directs the Comptroller General to update, within 18 months, a 1975 study of the adult basic education program's progress in reducing illiteracy.

Title III: Families for Literacy - Families for Literacy Act of 1990 - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to extend through FY 1995 the authorization of appropriations for Even Start programs operated by local educational agencies.

Adds Indian tribes and tribal organizations to those entities which may apply for Even Start program competitive grants.

Establishes a Families for Literacy program under which the Secretary may make demonstration grants to nonprofit entities (or consortia of businesses, nonprofit entities, local educational agencies, and other public agencies) to pay a specified Federal share of establishing intergenerational learning programs (emphasizing literacy skills) for children aged three and under and their parents. Directs the Secretary to give priority to applicants whose programs serve hard-to-serve populations. Sets forth program requirements for staff teams and community advisory councils.

Authorizes the Secretary to enter into a contract with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to produce and disseminate a family literacy program to assist parents in improving family literacy and language development.

Authorizes appropriations for: (1) FY 1991 through 1995 for the Family Literacy Program demonstration grants; and (2) FY 1991 for the family literacy program public broadcasting contract.

Title IV: Books for Families - Books for Families Literacy Act of 1990 - Amends ESEA provisions for the inexpensive book distribution program for reading motivation to require the contractor (the Reading Is Fundamental organization), beginning in FY 1991 and thereafter, to: (1) give priority to additional local programs which serve children and students with special needs; and (2) report annually to the Department of Education on the number and description of such individuals.

Amends the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) to authorize appropriations for FY 1991 through 1995 to make grants for model library literacy centers and for the inexpensive book distribution program.

Makes books, tapes, and computer software authorized materials for acquisition with LSCA grants to local libraries for literacy programs.

Directs the Secretary, in awarding literacy program grants to State and local libraries, to give priority to local library programs and services which: (1) will be delivered in areas of greatest need, with highest concentrations of adults without high school degrees or the equivalent; and (2) coordinate with literacy organizations and community based organizations providing literacy grants.

Authorizes the Secretary, under LSCA, to carry out a new program of grants to State and local public libraries to establish model library literacy centers. Requires the Secretary to establish a peer review panel to assist in establishing criteria for awarding such grants.

Authorizes the Secretary, under LSCA, to contract with the Reading Is Fundamental organization to promote the establishment of reading motivation programs which include the distribution of inexpensive books. Requires such contract to provide for: (1) giving priority to programs which target rural and urban areas with large concentrations of economically disadvantaged children and students; (2) increasing access to children's books for parents of newborns through children aged five; and (3) developing motivational materials to reach parents most disconnected from the education community, by making children's books available in specified types of places.

Title V: Students for Literacy - Students for Literacy Act of 1990 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase the amount of the FY 1991 authorization of appropriations for the Student Literacy Corps Program. Sets the amount of the FY 1991 authorization of appropriations for the College Work-Study (CWS) program at the same level as that for FY 1987.

Exempts literacy training programs and the creation and placement of literacy jobs for students from specified caps on CWS funds. Sets the Federal share of the compensation of students employed in literacy work-study training programs at 100 percent.

Title VI: Volunteers for Literacy - Volunteers for Literacy Act of 1990 - Amends the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 to require the Director of the ACTION Agency (the Director) to make grants and contracts for a program of full-time volunteer service to be known as University Year for Literacy, which establishes and supports innovative ways to use full-time students enrolled in higher education institutions as volunteers: (1) in addressing the problems facing illiterate and functionally illiterate individuals; and (2) in assisting organizations which combat illiteracy and those problems. Gives priority to individuals pursuing a course of study related to a career in a field addressing the problem of illiteracy.

Establishes a program of literacy challenge grants. Authorizes the Director to award such grants to eligible public agencies and private organizations for a portion of the costs of community or employee literacy programs that include use of volunteers.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1991 through 1993 for: (1) the University Year for Literacy Program; and (2) the literacy challenge grant program. Makes such funding for these programs contingent upon the meeting of certain conditions with respect to the volunteer service years provided for the VISTA program and the VISTA Literacy Corps.

Amends specified Federal law relating to impact aid for local educational agencies to set forth circumstances under which the United States shall be deemed to own Federal property.