Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/25/1992)

Neighborhood Schools Improvement Act - Provides resources to assist States, local educational agencies, and neighborhood public schools in designing and implementing education reform strategies to improve student achievement and achieve the National Education Goals.

Title I: National Education Goals - Sets forth national goals for education, to be achieved by the year 2000, in the following categories: (1) disadvantaged and disabled children's readiness for school; (2) school completion; (3) student achievement; (4) mathematics and science; (5) family literacy and lifelong learning; and (6) safe, disciplined, and drug-free schools. Declares that the Federal Government will take specified steps with respect to the funding of various existing programs as well as new programs in order to reach such goals, including expanded funding and increased participation rates under various Federal laws for: (1) Head Start (providing services to every eligible child who needs them); (2) special supplemental food for women, infants, and children (WIC); (3) prenatal care for women and health care for infants and children; (4) Even Start and Follow Through; (5) preschool education and early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities; (6) ensuring well-qualified teachers for every child in early childhood education; (7) secondary school dropout prevention and reentry programs; (8) school completion data; (9) education of disadvantaged children (under chapter 1 of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act); (10) education of children with disabilities (fulfilling the Federal commitment to provide funding for 40 percent of costs); (11) rewarding successful programs in schools with concentrations of disadvantaged children; (12) student involvement in community service, citizenship, and personal responsibility activities; (13) recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers; (14) increasing graduate and undergraduate mathematics, science, and engineering enrollment (especially of women and minorities); (15) updating and improving elementary and secondary school teachers' mathematics and science education skills; (16) scholarships for highly qualified students for postsecondary study of science, mathematics, and related subjects; (17) recruiting and retaining highly qualified elementary and secondary mathematics and science teachers; (18) adult education services for all eligible individuals who seek them; (19) literacy skills; (20) rehabilitation and training of young persons with disabilities; and (21) drug abuse prevention education and counseling services for all students.

Title II: Comprehensive Restructuring - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to add a new title VIII, Comprehensive Restructuring.

National Education Standards and Assessments Act of 1992 - Establishes, as part A of the new title VIII of ESEA, the National Education Goals Panel and National Education Standards and Assessments Council (the Council), to: (1) advance establishment of voluntary national education content standards and raise student and school academic performance; (2) provide funds for developing voluntary national school delivery standards and for further research and development on assessment to measure progress in meeting national education goals and standards; and (3) report on progress toward achieving the National Education Goals.

Establishes a National Education Goals Panel (the Panel).

Provides that the Panel shall be composed of 18 members, as follows: (1) two appointed by the President; (2) eight Governors (three from the same political party as the President, and five from the opposite political party) to be appointed for their respective parties by the Chairperson or the Vice Chairperson of the National Governors' Association (NGA); (3) four Members of Congress appointed by specified congressional officials; and (4) four State legislators, appointed by a specified official. Sets forth special appointment rules, and requirements for terms of service. Authorizes appropriations for the Panel.

Sets forth various functions of the Panel, including: (1) establishing an interactive process for developing voluntary national education content and school delivery standards; (2) recommending groups and organizations to be selected for grants to develop such standards and model assessments of the content standards for mathematics; (3) certifying the voluntary national standards submitted by such groups (upon the Council's recommendation); (4) proposing various measures for evaluating such standards and progress; (5) selecting various measures and indicators in each goal area; (6) requiring State reporting of student achievement data to be in the context of other relevant information about student, school, and system performance; and (7) issuing an annual report card. Requires the Panel to: (1) operate on the principle of consensus; and (2) make arrangements with any appropriate entity to generate or collect data to assess progress toward meeting the national education goals.

Directs the Panel to issue an annual National Report Card (Card), including: (1) analysis of U.S. progress toward national goals; (2) comments and recommendations of Federal and State policymakers, representatives of business, and experts on teaching and child development, measurements, curriculum, and educational administration; (3) identification of continuing gaps in existing educational data; and (4) recommendations for improving assessment. Requires the Panel to: (1) continue to issue the Card annually during its existence; and (2) present such Cards in a form understandable to parents and the general public. Prohibit such Cards from including data using achievement goals established under specified provisions of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), unless such goals have been reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

Sets forth provisions for Panel powers, meetings, Director and staff, and experts and consultants.

Directs the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to make grants for: (1) Panel operation and activities; (2) development of voluntary national education content standards; and (3) development of voluntary national school delivery (delivery) standards.

Authorizes the Panel, upon the Council's recommendation, to certify such content standards (with procedures announced in advance). Limits certification to each set of standards in its entirety only without partial approval or denial or amendments. Directs the Panel to review the content standards the Council recommends. Authorizes the Secretary to make additional grants for development of content standards to State and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs), higher education institutions, organizations with expertise in relevant academic areas, or a combination of such entities. Directs the Secretary to establish the process by which such content standards shall be developed, including several consecutive drafts of standards which incorporate comments and recommendations of educators and other knowledgeable individuals across the Nation. Requires the Panel to submit to the Congress, President, and public a report certifying such content standards by December 31, 1994.

Directs the Panel to: (1) establish the process by which such delivery standards are to be developed; (2) make recommendations to the Secretary regarding the selection of grantees to develop such standards (specified types of consortia); (3) review and certify such standards after the developing consortia have ratified them; and (4) submit to the Congress, President, and public a report containing such certified delivery standards by December 31, 1994.

Directs the Panel to review triennially all such developed standards to determine whether they continue to reflect the best evidence available regarding what children should know. Declares that nothing in this Act for the Panel shall be construed to permit the Secretary to prescribe or influence the content of particular standards.

Directs the Panel to make recommendations to the Secretary regarding research on authentic assessment and model assessments (under the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act) which the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) should undertake.

Directs the Secretary, through the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), to conduct an evaluation and issue reports, including: (1) an evaluation of the effectiveness of the school delivery standards, OERI research on authentic assessment, and the model assessments for content standards for mathematics; (2) recommendations regarding the need for additional criteria to determine the validity, reliability, and fairness of assessments; and (3) criteria for evaluating assessments' technical quality in relation to intended use and their alignment with content standards. Directs NAS to submit interim and final reports on such evaluation to the Secretary, the Congress, and the public by December 31 of 1993 and 1994.

Defines authentic assessment as assessment tasks in which students are given the opportunity to provide self-constructed responses.

Defines education content (content) standards as a description, in a particular subject area, of the knowledge and skills children should acquire.

Defines school delivery standards as criteria for, and means of assessing, the resources, practices, and conditions necessary at each level of the education system (schools, school districts, and States) to provide all students with an opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills set out in the national education content standards and the work force readiness standards (including quality and availability of curriculum, teachers, materials, instructional practices and policies, administrators, knowledge about learning and facilities).

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1993 through 1996 for: (1) the Panel; and (2) voluntary national content standards. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1993 and 1994 for: (1) voluntary national school delivery standards; and (2) such evaluations and reports.

Establishes a National Education Standards and Assessments Council (the Council). Provides that the Council shall be composed of 21 members, appointed by the Panel, as follows: (1) seven experts in educational assessment, content standards, and curriculum design; (2) seven educators; and (3) seven members of the general public. Requires such appointment of members to be based on their widely recognized experience in, knowledge of, commitment to, and demonstrated record of service to education and to achieving education excellence at the Federal, State, or local level. Sets forth terms of service. Prohibits any Panel member from concurrently serving as a Council member.

Sets forth various functions of the Council, including: (1) advising the Panel; (2) developing criteria for reviewing content standards as world class; (3) developing criteria for development of different types of model assessments tied to the content standards in mathematics and science in accordance with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act, and making recommendations to the Secretary on the award of certain grants; (4) making recommendations to the Panel on selection of groups and organizations for grants to develop content standards and delivery standards (and model assessments for the mathematics and science content standards); (5) review, and make recommendations to the Panel about content standards to determine if they are sufficiently general to be adopted by any State, reflect the best evidence available regarding knowledge and skills students should acquire in that subject area, and are sufficiently challenging to ensure that students receive world-class level instruction. Directs the Council to: (1) work with Federal and non-Federal entities which are conducting research, studies, or demonstration projects to determine world-class education standards; and (2) make arrangements with any appropriate entity to generate or collect data necessary to carry out its functions.

Directs the Council to report annually to the President, appropriate congressional committees, and State Governors.

Sets forth provisions for Council powers, meetings, Director and staff, and experts and consultants.

Authorizes appropriations to the Council for FY 1993 through 1996.

Neighborhood Schools Improvement Program Act - Establishes, as part B of the new title VIII of ESEA, the Neighborhood Schools Improvement program, to support a ten-year broad-based public effort to improve education for all students in the Nation through grants to States to restructure education systems at State and local levels, through coherent and coordinated changes and without jeopardizing funding for existing Federal education programs, and to meet the National Education Goals.

Authorizes the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to make such grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) to enable States and local educational agencies (LEAs) to reform and improve the quality of education. Requires such grants to be used to implement reforms and plans to improve the education system at the State and local levels.

Limits the maximum Federal share of the total cost of a program to: (1) 100 percent in the first three fiscal years for which a State receives funds; (2) 90 percent in the fourth year; (3) 80 percent in the fifth year; and (4) 70 percent in the sixth and any succeeding year. Sets forth matching requirements for the non-Federal share and maintenance-of-effort requirements.

Reserves one percent of program funds for grants to: (1) the outlying areas, (the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau until the Compact of Free Association is ratified); and (2) the Secretary of the Interior for the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.

Directs the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to allot to each State educational agency (SEA) an amount based on such SEA's allotments under chapter 1 (Financial Assistance to Meet Special Educational Needs of Children) and chapter 2 (Federal, State, and Local Partnership for Educational Improvement) of title I (Basic Programs) of ESEA.

Requires, in the initial year for which an SEA receives such an allotment, that such funds be used to develop a State Neighborhood Schools Improvement Plan. Allows the SEA, in such first year, to use any remaining funds to make subgrants to develop local plans.

Allows, in the second and succeeding years for which the SEA receives such an allotment, use of up to 20 percent of the total cost of a State's program (including matching funds) for: (1) implementing the State plan, including achievement goals, means for developing or adopting curricular frameworks and materials, professional development strategies, and assessments; (2) technical assistance; and (3) other innovative school reform activities consistent with the State plan and subject to peer review. Requires that at least 80 percent of total State program costs in the second and succeeding years be used by the SEA to award competitive grants to LEAs to develop and carry out planned activities. Requires that at least 50 percent of such subgrant funds in each fiscal year be awarded to LEAs with a greater than statewide average percentage or number of disadvantaged children. (Allows a waiver of such requirement if there are not enough LEA applications to enable SEA compliance; but requires the SEA in such a case to award a subgrant in each fiscal year to the LEA in the State with the greatest number of disadvantaged children.)

Sets forth application requirements. Requires SEA grant applications to cover a five-year period, and to contain specified assurances, descriptions, and other provisions. Directs the Secretary to: (1) approve applications and amendments that meet such requirements and that are of sufficient quality to meet specified objectives; and (2) give notice, technical assistance, and opportunity for a hearing before any final disapproval.

Allows the SEA to reapply for such grant assistance for a second five-year period. Requires the Secretary to approve a second award if the State has met all its reporting requirements and demonstrates reasonable progress in carrying out its plan.

Requires each State program assisted under this Act to establish a panel to develop a statewide reform plan. Sets forth requirements for various officials and groups to be represented on such panel.

Sets forth requirements for State plan contents, and for plan development, approval, and oversight review procedures.

Sets forth requirements for content, development, and approval of local plans. Requires LEAs to establish local committees to develop such plans.

Requires local plans to: (1) incorporate school restructuring concepts submitted by individual schools or consortia; (2) propose LEA-wide reform which includes specified factors; and (3) provide special attention to needs of minority and female students, including certain instructional programs and activities. Requires the LEA-wide reform to include: (1) setting local goals; (2) a process to ensure that curricular and instructional materials and assessments and other student performance indicators reflect State curricular frameworks and State and local goals; (3) professional and staff development; and (4) review of LEA and individual school administrative and staffing structure. Requires the local committee to submit the local plan to the LEA for approval. Requires public meetings to review and discuss such plan. Requires the LEA to include the local committee's written comments in its subgrant application to the State. Requires the local committee and the LEA to review, on an ongoing basis, the LEA's progress in implementing the local plan for the period of the subgrant.

Requires each LEA desiring a subgrant to: (1) distribute the approved local plan to each school it serves; (2) notify all such schools of its intention to apply for such a subgrant; and (3) request school restructuring proposals from such schools. Requires a school or consortium which receives program funds to use them for an initiative (consistent with State and local plans) to implement comprehensive, schoolwide changes to improve academic achievement. Lists examples of authorized activities under such initiatives, including early childhood education, school-based management, professional and staff development, parent education and involvement, expanded use of technology, alternative programs for dropouts, and class size reduction. Requires each LEA desiring a subgrant to select restructuring proposals for such funding on a competitive basis.

Sets for requirements for content, development, and approval of local plans.

Sets forth provisions for: (1) SEA competitive subgrants for local plan development; (2) LEA local committees, and schools' review of LEA implementation of the local plan; (3) conditions for continuing eligibility of schools; (4) oversight review of the local plan; and (5) annual progress reports by the local committee (and optional separate reports by the LEA).

Sets forth requirements relating to the availability of information and training for private schools with respect to funds under this Act.

Requires annual progress reports by States to the Secretary, including progress toward State goals and plans and descriptions of: (1) proposed activities for the succeeding year; (2) Federal regulations which may impede local reform activities; and (3) student achievement indicators. Requires each LEA serving a school that receives a program grant to collect and submit annually to the SEA data on the assisted project based on statistical indicators and other criteria described in the school application, including multiple measures and optional consideration of student mobility or other special factors. Directs the Secretary to provide technical assistance for State compliance with such reporting requirements.

Directs the Secretary to evaluate a representative sample of such State and local reform efforts, over the course of the ten-year authorization, to assess their effectiveness in improving educational performance outcomes of all children, including an examination of such activities' effects on disadvantaged students. Authorizes reservation of a portion of funds for such evaluation.

Directs the Secretary to provide, through a contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), for preparation of a statistical, legal, and policy analysis of school finance and related data reported by States in their required biennial reports. Requires such analysis: (1) to address disparities in educational expenditures, and the reasons for such disparities, among LEAs in each State and among States across the Nation; and (2) describe the degree to which data in State reports was useful in preparation of the analysis. Sets forth requirements for additional contents of such analysis relating to educational finance equalization and States' fiscal capacity to provide high quality education to all students. Requires NAS to also consider and analyze alternatives to finance equalization as means to provide equal educational opportunities for all pupils, including possible uses of various educational technologies, their cost effectiveness, and their effects on educational quality and equity.

Directs the Secretary to report annually to specified congressional officials on: (1) State progress in developing and implementing their plans under this program; (2) Federal laws or regulations identified by States and LEAs as impending system-wide school reform; and (3) summaries of all data and reports from schools, LEAs, and SEAs under the program.

Sets forth provisions for an agreement between the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior concerning the payment of the latter under this Act for Indian students, including specified assurances, terms, panel designation, and analysis by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Declares that nothing in this Act shall supersede State law or be construed to: (1) authorize any Federal department, agency, officer, or employee to exercise any control over curriculum, instruction program, administration, or personnel of any educational institution or school system, or to prescribe the use of a particular examination or standards; (2) limit rights or responsibilities of any person under any Federal law; (3) prohibit an LEA from receiving contributions from private organizations or individuals to support development or implementation of its local reform plan; or (4) authorize use of funds to benefit directly or indirectly any non-public school (except) as provided under specified provisions).

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1993 through 2001 to carry out such new Neighborhood Schools Improvement Program Act.

Flexibility for Educational Effectiveness Act of 1992 - Establishes, as part C under such new title VIII of ESEA, a Flexibility Demonstration Program (Program), in order to demonstrate the effectiveness, in several States and schools, of granting waivers of Federal and State laws and regulations so that education and other services can be more effectively provided to disadvantaged children.

Authorizes the Secretary to assist projects for elementary and secondary schools and other service providers to improve achievement of all students and other participants, but particularly disadvantaged individuals, by authorizing a limited number of waivers by which States can improve performance of schools and programs by increasing their flexibility in use of resources while holding them accountable for achieving educational gains. Limits such waivers to not more than: (1) ten States which have implemented comprehensive regulatory reform plans; and (2) 20 LEAs and 75 schools within each of such States.

Authorizes the Secretary to waive only those statutory or regulatory requirements that may impede a school's or service provider's ability to: (1) provide education and other services to disadvantaged students; or (2) meet the special needs of such students and other individuals in the most effective manner possible. Authorizes the head of any other Federal agency who has entered into an agreement with the Secretary to waive only regulatory requirements applicable to an elementary, secondary, or youth vocational training program administered by such agency if such waiver would provide more flexible ways to provide education and other services to disadvantaged students.

Sets forth Program requirements for SEA and LEA application transmittal and for approval of projects.

Provides that Federal waivers of statutory or regulatory requirements may be requested by an SEA with respect to specified Federal laws relating to programs serving the disadvantaged under: (1) preschool, elementary, and secondary education, and youth vocational training programs; (2) social, health, and nutrition programs; and (3) national school lunch and child nutrition programs.

Sets forth requirements for State and local eligibility and applications.

Sets forth restrictions on such waivers, including specified restrictions relating to LEA participation, civil rights and discrimination, general requirements, fund distribution, and certain requirements under school lunch and child nutrition programs.

Requires early termination of such waivers if the recipient has not demonstrated adequate progress or if a State or school has violated a restriction. Terminates the Secretary's authority to grant such waivers on September 30, 1997. Allows any school to decline to participate in such a flexibility project at any time.

Sets forth requirements for reports and evaluations.

Provides for the budget neutrality of such Flexibility Demonstration Program.

Title III: Amendments to the General Education Provisions Act - Amends the General Education Provsions Act (GEPA) to extend through FY 1994 the authorization of appropriations for: (1) the National Center for Education Statistics; and (2) the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). Requires the NAEP to conduct in 1994 trial assessments of mathematics and reading for certain grades and to develop for administration in 1994 trial assessments of mathematics, reading, and science for certain other elementary and secondary school grades, in States that wish to participate, to determine whether such assessments yield valid and reliable State representative data (including in such assessments students in public and private schools in a manner that ensure comparability with the national sample). Requires a specified independent evaluation to also assess important issues affecting the quality and integrity of the NAEP. Directs the Secretary to provide for the organization that conducts such independent evaluation to study and report to the Congress within 120 days after enactment of this Act, on: (1) the process whereby the National Assessment Governing Board sets certain achievement goals for each age and grade in each subject area to be tested under NAEP; and (2) the ability of NAEP to maintain valid data with respect to trends in student performance.

Revises GEPA with respect to State responsibility to furnish information concerning uses of Federal funds. Directs the Secretary to consult with specified congressional officials regarding costs and feasibility of making such information available as part of a telecommunications network readily accessible to every member of the Congress and other interested parties. Directs the Secretary to submit certain reports to specified congressional committees analyzing the content of the biennial (currently, annual) State reports.

Title IV: Amendments to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act - Amends the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act to allow the Commissioner for Education Statistics to authorize a State education agency (SEA) or a consortium of SEAs to use items and data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to evaluate a course of study, upon the Commissioner's determination that such use will not have specified prohibited results or other prohibited uses. Requires the Commissioner to report to specified congressional officials on such authorizations of SEA use of NAEP data. Limits such authorizations to one in any fiscal year.

Requires the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee to include information on postsecondary employment and training programs in the occupational information system. Requires State boards of education to develop a data collection system (to provide data on graduation or completion rates, job placement rates from occupationally specific programs, and licensing rates) whose results can be integrated into the occupational information system.

Title V: Amendment to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act - Amends the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act (part A of title II of ESEA) to authorize the Secretary, with specified funds for national programs, to make grants to SEAs, LEAs, higher education institutions, organizations with expertise in making assessments, or a combination of such entities, to support development of model assessments tied to the mathematics standards and to any science standards that may be developed. Directs the National Standards and Assessments Council to develop criteria for the development of different types of model assessments tied to the content standards in mathematics and science.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes the Secretary to establish a commission to analyze possible ways to teach values in elementary and secondary schools. Requires such commission to report to appropriate congressional committees within 18 months after its first meeting.

Directs the Secretary to provide for an independent review of evaluations of the Parents As Teachers Program. Requires submission of such review to the appropriate congressional committees within six months after enactment of this Act.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that a recipient (including a nation, group, or organization) of any form of assistance under this Act should, in expending that assistance, purchase American-made equipment and products. Directs the Secretary to provide each such recipient a notice to that effect.

Requires the Director of the Office of Technology Assessment to study and evaluate specified factors relating to a system of educational assessment.

Amends the National Education Commission on Time and Learning Act (title I of the Education Council Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-62)) to extend such Commission's: (1) final report deadline by one year; and (2) authorization of appropriations through FY 1995.