There is one summary for S.1590. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (01/29/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: A+ Accounts for Public and Private Schools

Title II: Dollars to the Classroom

Title III: Educational Opportunity and Safety for Low-Income

Children

Title IV: Testing and Merit Pay for Teachers

Title V: Reading Excellence

Subtitle A: Reading Grants

Subtitle B: Amendments to Even Start Family Literacy

Programs

Title VI: Teacher and Student Safety

Subtitle A: Student Safety and Family Choice

Subtitle B: Victim and Witness Assistance Programs for

Teachers and Students

Subtitle C: Innovative Programs to Protect Teachers and

Students

Title VII: Charter School Expansion

Title VIII: Full Funding for Part B of the Individuals With

Disabilities Education Act

Better Opportunities for Our Kids and Schools Act - Title I: A+ Accounts for Public and Private Schools - A+ Accounts for Public and Private Schools Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit tax-free expenditures from education individual retirement accounts for elementary and secondary education expenses (including tuition, special needs services, home schooling expenses, and transportation expenses) required for attendance at a public, private, or religious school, or for homeschooling that meets State or local requirements.

(Sec. 102) Increases from $500 to $2,500, through December 31, 2002, the maximum annual contribution to such an account.

Title II: Dollars to the Classroom - Requires the Secretary of Education to award directly to the States the total amount of all the funds (except those used for specified multiyear awards) that are appropriated for the Department of Education for the fiscal year for specified programs or activities under: (1) the Goals 2000: Educate America Act; (2) the Educational Research, Development, Disseminations, and Improvement Act of 1994; (3) the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994; and (4) the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).

(Sec. 201) Sets deadlines for: (1) each State to conduct a census to determine, and report to the Secretary, the number of kindergarten through grade 12 students in the State for the academic year; and (2) the Secretary to publish and disburse the amount each State will receive under this Act for the succeeding fiscal year. Sets forth: (1) a formula for determination of such award amounts, based on relative numbers of such students in each State; and (2) penalties for false information. Provides for continuation of certain multiyear awards made prior to enactment of this Act.

Requires award amounts under this Act to be paid to the State Governor, who shall make them available to the individual or entity in the State responsible for the State administration of Federal education funds. Prescribes requirements for the use of such funds, earmarking not less than 95 percent for distribution to local educational agencies (LEAs) for the costs of activities or services provided in the classroom that LEAs determine appropriate, excluding associated administrative expenses, but including nonadministrative expenses associated with statewide or districtwide initiatives directly affecting classroom learning.

Prohibits: (1) any Federal agency head except the Secretary from promulgating regulations under this title; and (2) the Secretary from issuing any regulations regarding the types of activities or services that may be assisted under this title.

(Sec. 202) Amends ESEA title I (Helping Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards) to require that at least 95 percent of title I funds made available to an LEA be used for costs of activities and services provided in the classroom for the fiscal year.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) develop and implement a plan for streamlining regulations and eliminating bureaucracy so that 95 percent of such ESEA title I funds for LEAs are used for the costs of activities and services provided in the classroom; and (2) recommend to the Congress legislation containing changes to Federal law needed for such funds to be used in such manner.

(Sec. 203) Requires each LEA that receives funds under this Act to provide for the participation of children enrolled in private and home schools.

Title III: Educational Opportunity and Safety for Low-Income Children - Authorizes appropriations for the grants program established under this title and for program evaluation.

(Sec. 304) Directs the Secretary of Education to make grants to eligible entities for 20 to 30 demonstration projects under which low-income parents receive education certificates for the costs of enrolling their eligible children in a choice school.

Gives priority to eligible entities that: (1) are conducting a school choice program, involving public or private schools, on the date of enactment of this Act; and (2) operate a school choice program, involving public and private schools, that is authorized by Federal law.

Requires 90 percent of such grants (85 percent the first year) to be used for providing education certificates to low-income parents to pay tuition, fees, allowable transportation costs, and costs of certain special programs, for their eligible children to attend a choice school.

Declares that such education certificates shall be considered as aid to students, not to the choice school. Provides that such education certificates shall not be considered income to an eligible child or its parent for Federal, State, or local tax purposes, or for determining eligibility for any other Federal program.

Title IV: Testing and Merit Pay for Teachers - Authorizes States to use Federal education funds to: (1) carry out an assessment of the performance of each elementary or secondary school teacher in the State; (2) establish a merit pay program for the teachers; or (3) hire elementary or secondary school teachers who are certified or licensed to teach in the State.

Title V: Reading Excellence - Reading Excellence Act - Subtitle A: Reading Grants - Amends ESEA to establish a new title XV Reading Grants program.

(Sec. 511) Authorizes the Secretary of Education to make competitive grants to State-established reading and literacy partnerships to make subgrants for local reading improvement programs and tutorial assistance programs. Provides for peer review panel evaluation of grant applications.

Sets forth the requirements relating to partnership membership, contractual agreements, functions, duties, fiscal agency, pre-existing partnerships, multi-state partnerships, and performance reports.

Requires partnerships that receive such grants to make competitive three-year local reading improvement subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) with one or more schools: (1) that are identified for school improvement; and (2) that have a contractual association with community-based organizations of proven effectiveness with respect to reading readiness, reading instruction for children in kindergarten through third grade, and early childhood literacy. Sets forth requirements for subgrant duration, applications, agencies, priorities, authorized activities, and administrative costs. Allows subgrantees to train, on a fee-for-service basis, personnel from schools or LEAs that are not subgrant recipients, in the instructional practices based on reliable, replicable research on reading used by the recipient.

Requires partnerships that receive such grants to make competitive tutorial assistance subgrants to LEAs with at least one school: (1) located in an empowerment zone or an enterprise community; or (2) identified for school improvement. Sets forth application requirements and authorized uses of such subgrants.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct a national assessment of programs under this Act; (2) receive recommendations from the peer review panel in developing the criteria for the assessment; and (3) submit the findings of the assessment to such panel.

Requires the National Institute for Literacy to disseminate information on reliable, replicable research on reading and on subgrantee projects that have proven effective.

Requires each reading and literacy partnership to: (1) evaluate subgrantees success; (2) submit the findings of the evaluations to the Secretary and the peer review panel, who will submit a summary to the appropriate congressional committees; and (3) provide for program participation by children enrolled in private schools.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1998 through 2001.

Subtitle B: Amendments to Even Start Family Literacy Programs - Amends ESEA to direct the Secretary to award competitive grants to States for the planning and implementation of statewide family literacy initiatives, including specified services.

(Sec. 523) Requires grant recipients to: (1) provide technical assistance for the evaluation of subgrant recipient local programs; and (2) develop indicators of program quality.

(Sec. 525) Directs the Secretary to research through grant or contract into successful family literacy services to improve the quality of existing programs and to develop models for new programs. Revises provisions for the dissemination of information.

Title VI: Teacher and Student Safety - Subtitle A: Student Safety and Family Choice - Amends the ESEA to allow students, who are program-eligible or who attend a program-eligible school, to switch schools if they have been victims of violent crimes in or on the grounds of their schools. Authorizes the LEA to use program funds to pay certain supplementary costs for such students to attend any other public or private elementary school or secondary school, including a religious school, in that State, that is selected by the student's parent.

(Sec. 612) Authorizes States, State educational agencies (SEAs), or LEAs to transfer any non-Federal public funds associated with the education of a student who is a victim of a violent criminal offense while in or on the grounds of a public elementary school or secondary school served by an LEA to another LEA or to a private elementary school or secondary school, including a religious school.

Subtitle B: Victim and Witness Assistance Programs for Teachers and Students - Amends the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 to authorize: (1) use of victim compensation program grant funds for compensation to students who are victims of school violence; and (2) grants for a demonstration project or for training and technical assistance services to a program that assists SEA and LEA programs designed to protect victims of and witnesses to incidents of school violence, or that supports a toll-free hotline that provides school students and teachers with confidential assistance on issues of school crime, violence, drug dealing, and threats to personal safety.

Subtitle C: Innovative Programs to Protect Teachers and Students - Authorizes appropriations for the grants program established under this subtitle.

(Sec. 633) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to States, SEAs, and LEAs for innovative programs to improve unsafe elementary schools or secondary schools. Gives priority to programs that: (1) provide parent and teacher notification of about incidents of physical violence, weapon possession, or drug activity on school grounds as soon after the incident as practicable; (2) report annually to parents and teachers on the total number of incidents of physical violence, weapon possession, and drug activity on school grounds, the percentage of students missing ten or fewer days of school, with a comparison to previous annual reports; and (3) enhance school security measures.

Title VII: Charter School Expansion - Charter Schools Expansion Act of 1998 - Amends ESEA to revise requirements for grants to public charter schools.

(Sec. 702) Increases from three years to five years the duration of grants or subgrants for planning, design, or initial implementation of charter schools.

Sets forth certain priorities for awarding grants to SEAs. Bases such priorities on requirements of State laws regarding charter schools' budget autonomy, increased numbers, and periodic review and evaluation.

Includes among requirements for SEA applications a description of how the SEA will: (1) inform each charter school of available Federal programs and funds that each such school is eligible to receive; (2) ensure that each such school receives its commensurate share of Federal education funds allocated by formula; and (3) disseminate best or promising practices of charter schools to LEAs.

Includes among selection criteria for awarding grants to SEAs the number of charter schools created in the State.

Eliminates provisions for State revolving trust funds for charter schools.

Directs the Secretary of Education to: (1) reserve a specified amount for national activities on behalf of such schools (including assistance in accessing private capital, and pilot projects to better understand and improve such access); and (2) (along with SEAs) ensure that each public charter school receives its full share of funding for LEAs for helping disadvantaged children meet high standards or of any other Federal educational assistance purpose.

Sets forth requirements for student records transfer and for paperwork reduction.

Specifies that a public charter school: (1) must have a performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency in the State; and (2) is a school to which parents choose to send their children.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for FY 1998 through 2002.

Title VIII: Full Funding for Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act - Amends the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act to authorize specified minimum appropriations for assistance for education of all children with disabilities for FY 1999 through 2004, and necessary appropriations for each fiscal year thereafter.