Summary: H.R.4141 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (05/04/2000)

Education Opportunities to Protect and Invest in Our Nation's Students (Education OPTIONS) Act - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to allow States and local educational agencies (LEAs) to transfer funds among various ESEA programs. Revises and reauthorizes ESEA provisions for: (1) drug and violence prevention and education; (2) education technology; (3) innovative education; and (4) programs of national significance, including the Fund for the Improvement of Education, arts education, public charter schools, civic education, and the Allen J. Ellender Fellowship Program.

Title I: Transferability - State and Local Transferability Act - Revises ESEA title XIV part B (Flexibility in the Use of Administrative and Other Funds) to authorize State and LEA transfers of funds: (1) among specified ESEA formula grant programs; and (2) from such programs to their allocations for ESEA title I (Helping Disadvantaged Students Meet High Standards) but does not allow transfer of title I funds to other programs.

(Sec. 103) Allows States to make such transfers of all the nonadministrative funds for State-level activities under specified programs to the allocation for other programs. Allows LEAs to transfer up to 35 percent of specified program funds without obtaining State permission, and all of such funds with State approval.

Title II: Drug and Violence Prevention and Education - Supporting Drug and Violence Prevention and Education for Students and Communities Act of 2000 - Revises and renames ESEA title IV as Supporting Drug and Violence Prevention and Education for Students and Communities (currently Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, or the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994). Includes under such new title IV: (1) certain before- and after-school services and continuing education programs as authorized activities under part A (currently under ESEA title X part I, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, or the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Act); and (2) a new part C, Gun Possession (currently ESEA title XIV part F, or the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994).

(Sec. 201) Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for ESEA title IV: (1) part A, State Grants for Drug and Violence Prevention Programs; and (2) part B, National Programs.

Revises provisions for reservations, allotments, and within-State distribution of part A funds. Allows Governors to reserve ten percent of State allotments for Governor's authorized activities. Requires States to: (1) distribute at least 96 percent of the remainder to LEAs; and (2) in awarding 30 percent of such funds to LEAs with greatest need, give special consideration to LEAs that pursue a comprehensive approach to drug and violence prevention by providing or incorporating mental health services in their programs.

Requires part A programs and activities to be based on certain principles of effectiveness, including (1) assessment of objective data about local drug and violence problems, current prevention activities, and activities to increase student academic achievement; (2) performance measures established by the LEA; (3) scientifically based research that provides evidence that the program or activity will prevent or reduce drug abuse and violence, with a waiver for innovative programs with a likelihood of success; and (4) periodical evaluation results to improve the program or activity. Requires LEA part A programs to address before- and after-school activities and continuing education needs of youth and adults in the community.

Revises authorized LEA program activities to include: (1) before- and after-school programs and continuing education in specified forms (some of which are in the current 21st Century Learning Centers program); (2) counseling, mentoring, and referral services, and other student assistance practices and programs, including training of teachers by school-based mental health service providers in appropriate identification and intervention techniques for disciplining and teaching students at risk of violent behavior; (3) services and activities that reduce the need for suspension and expulsion in maintaining classroom order and school discipline; (4) a system for transferring suspension and expulsion records by an LEA to any public or private school; (5) allowing students at unsafe public schools to transfer to safe public schools, and paying reasonable transportation costs for such students; (6) programs that improve academic achievement; (7) character education and training; (8) testing students for illegal drug use or conducting student locker searches for illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia; (9) establishing school uniform policies; (10) emergency intervention services following traumatic crisis events; (11) school violence hotlines; (12) background checks of school personnel; (13) school-based mental health services, including early identification of drug use and violence, assessment, and direct individual or group counseling services provided to students, parents, and school personnel by qualified school based mental health services personnel; (14) hiring and training coordinators of drug and violence prevention programs serving students in grades six through nine; (15) mentoring and tutoring services for students provided by senior citizen volunteers; (16) alternative education programs or services for students who have been expelled or suspended from the regular educational settings, including reentry programs; and (17) partnerships between the courts and the schools that address alternative education programs.

Allows LEAs or consortia that receive part A subgrants and have reported expulsions under part C (Gun Possession) during the past three years to: (1) develop plans with local law enforcement agencies to protect students and employees of public schools against gun violence that may include, but not be limited to, promoting the benefits of child safety locks for firearms; and (2) if they have a high rate of such expulsions, use a portion of the subgrant to study the effectiveness of promoting the benefits of child safety locks for firearms with the purpose of reducing the danger of firearms harming public school students and employees.

Requires the National Center for Education Statistics to collect data (in addition to that on youth drug use) on the frequency, degree of harm, and morbidity of violent incidents, by youth in schools and communities in the States, particularly firearm-related ones, including data on: (1) relationships between, and demographic characteristics of, victims and perpetrators; and (2) types of firearms used.

Eliminates special part A provisions for Native Hawaiians.

Revises part B national programs to authorize the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to provide: (1) for demonstrations and scientifically-based evaluations of innovative approaches to drug and violence prevention based on State and LEA reported needs; (2) information on drug abuse education and prevention to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for dissemination by the clearinghouse for alcohol and drug abuse information; and (3) continuing technical assistance to Governors, State education agencies (SEAs), and LEAs to build capacity to develop and implement high-quality, effective programs consistent with the principles of effectiveness.

Directs the Secretary to establish a clearinghouse for after-school program technical assistance and models. Requires the clearinghouse to: (1) be available to the public, including via Internet; and (2) serve as a resource for child care organizations, communities, and individuals seeking to improve the quality and availability of after-school programs.

Eliminates part B provisions for grants for local hate crime prevention.

Redesignates Gun Possession as part C of title IV (it is currently under title XIV part F, known as the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994). Revises requirements for States receiving ESEA funds to have laws requiring LEA agencies to: (1) expel from school for at least one year any student who brings a weapon to school, allowing for case-by-case modifications; and (2) have a policy requiring each school to refer to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system any student who brings a firearm to school.

Requires SEAs and LEAs that receive title IV funds to have a policy that prohibits cigarette vending machines, and the illegal possession or use of drugs or alcohol, in any form, at any time, and by any person, in school buildings, on school grounds, or at school-sponsored events.

Requires LEAs to: (1) upon receipt of written notification from the parents or legal guardian, withdraw a student from any title IV-funded program or activitiy; and (2) make reasonable efforts to inform parents or legal guardians of the content of such programs or activities, other than classroom instruction.

Prohibits use of title IV funds for activities or programs that discriminate against or denigrate the religious or moral beliefs of students who participate or of their parents or legal guardians.

Revises provisions for program standards of quality to include violence prevention programs, as well as drug prevention programs.

Authorizes the Secretary to continue to fund, until the award period terminates, multiyear grants awarded prior to enactment of this Act under: (1) the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (the current ESEA title X part I); and (2) the Middle School Coordinator Initiative (under title III of the Department of Education Act, 2000).

Requires the General Accounting Office to report to Congress: (1) for each State, descriptions of types of after-school programs for students in kindergarten through grade 12, significant areas of unmet needs in quality and availability of such programs, and barriers to participation in such programs; (2) for 15 varied communities, a detailed analysis of such available programs; and (3) a list of activities, other than after-school programs, in which such students participate when not in school, and an analysis of the value of the listed activities for their well-being and educational development.

Authorizes, and sets forth guidelines for, States to provide title IV services through grants and contracts with charitable, religious, or private organizations.

Requires each State receiving funds under ESEA to require each LEA to have in effect a policy authorizing school personnel to discipline (including expel or suspend), in the same manner in which such personnel may discipline a child without a disability, a child with a disability who commits specified school-related weapon, drug, or aggravated assault or battery offenses. Authorizes such personnel to modify the disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis. Permits assertion of a defense that the offense was committed unintentionally or innocently. Allows the LEA responsible for providing educational services to a child with a disability who is expelled or suspended under this Act to choose to continue to provide educational services to such child, but specifies that an LEA that so chooses to continue to provide services: (1) is not required by Federal law to provide such child with a free appropriate public education, or any particular level of service; and (2) has discretion as to the location where it provides the services.

(Sec. 202) Requires an LEA, if it chooses to treat an authorized portion of certain funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as local funds, to use such local funds to provide additional funding for ESEA programs, including programs that address school safety, teacher quality and professional development, before- and after-school learning opportunities, educational reform and literacy, or related education programs authorized under Federal, State, or local law.

Title III: Tech for Success - Tech for Success Act of 2000 - Revises ESEA title III Education Technology to consolidate various programs into a part A Tech for Success Grant Program. Includes among such consolidated programs: (1) Challenge Fund; (2) Challenge Grants; (3) Star Schools; (4) Software Development; (5) Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers; (6) Community Technology Centers; (7) Secretary's Leadership Fund; and (8) Middle Schools Teacher Training.

Authorizes appropriations through FY 2005 for such part A program.

Allocates 95 percent of part A program funds to subpart 1 State and local technology initiatives, and five percent to subpart 2 national technology initiatives.

Bases one-half of State allotment amounts on relative amounts of title I part A grants, and the other half on relative State populations aged five through 17. Requires, within each State, at least 95 percent of funds to be distributed to LEAs. Requires at least 80 percent of such LEA funds to be distributed through a State-developed formula targeting high-need districts, and the remainder through competitive grants. Requires LEAs receiving formula grants to use at least 20 percent for professional development of teachers in the integration of technology into the curriculum.

Includes among allowable local activities: (1) using technology to increase academic achievement; (2) expanding access; (3) developing performance measurements; and (4) providing laptop computers for students. Requires LEAs using such funds to purchase computers used to access the Internet, or to pay costs for such accessing, to have filters to block material deemed harmful to minors.

Authorizes the Secretary to use funds for part A subpart 3 National Technology Initiatives to: (1) fund research-based educational technology programs; (2) provide technical assistance; and (3) update the national long-range educational technology plan. Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the use of technology to improve academic achievement.

Revises the Ready to Learn Television program as part B (currently part C) of title III, which authorizes contracts and grants for producing educational video and television programming and support materials to increase academic achievement for preschool and elementary school children and their parents. Includes under program development activities: (1) programming and digital content especially designed for nationwide distribution over digital broadcasting channels and the Internet, containing Ready to Learn-based children's programming and resources for parents and caregivers; and (2) training and support materials, including interactive programs and programs adaptable to distance-learning technologies, designed to promote school readiness and effective use of Ready to Learn programming by parents, caregivers, and education and library personnel. Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for such part B program.

Establishes a new part C Telecommunications Program to improve the teaching of all core academic subjects (replacing the Telecommunications Demonstration Project, or Mathline, under current part D of title III). Authorizes the Secretary to award: (1) grants for a national telecommunications-based program to improve the teaching of core academic subjects; and (2) grants and contracts for developing, producing and distributing digital, educational and instructional video programming designed for use by elementary and secondary school students.

Authorizes appropriations through FY 2005 for such part C program.

Eliminates the Elementary Mathematics and Science Equipment Program under current part E of title III.

Title IV: Innovative Education Programs - Revises ESEA title VI Innovative Education Program Strategies to eliminate references to National Education Goals. Adds to authorized LEA uses of title VI funds: (1) professional development and hiring of teachers, including activities consistent with the Teacher Empowerment Act; (2) education reform projects that provide single gender schools and classrooms, as long as comparable educational opportunities are offered for students of both sexes; (3) community service programs; (4) curriculum-based youth entrepreneurship education; (5) consumer, economic, and personal finance education; (6) public school choice programs; and (7) school-based mental health services. Requires that all amounts for title VI grants to States in excess of the FY2000 level be allocated to LEAs.

Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for such title VI programs.

Title V: Programs of National Significance - Revises ESEA title X, Programs of National Significance.

Part A: Fund for the Improvement of Education - Revises ESEA title X part A provisions for the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), to prohibit use of part A funds to: (1) develop, test, implement, administer, or distribute any national test in any subject without specific and authorization by Federal law; or (2) federally endorse, approve, or sanction of any curriculum designed for use in elementary or secondary schools. Eliminates references to National Education Goals.

Includes as authorized uses of part A funds: (1) performance rewards for States that agree to meet specific performance goals and that increase proportions of certain groups of students who meet State proficiency standards; (2) an independent study to provide a strategy for effective professional development activities for mathematics and science teachers; (3) hiring and supporting school nurses; and (4) grants for education of recent immigrants.

Revises provisions for part A grants for: (1) elementary and secondary school counseling programs; and (2) character education programs.

Makes the Smaller Learning Communities grants program apply only to those within high schools.

Eliminates provisions for: (1) Promoting Scholar Athlete Competitions; (2) National Student and Parent Mock Election; and (3) Model Projects.

Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for FIE programs.

Part B: Arts Education - Revises ESEA title X part D Arts Education to eliminate references to National Education Goals. Includes State and local arts agencies, organizations representing the arts, and arts educators among the entities for which support may be given for collaborative efforts with Federal agencies or institutions. Requires the Secretary to consult with such non-Federal, as well as Federal, entities in carrying out arts education programs.

Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for Arts Education programs. Requires that such Federal arts education funds be used only to supplement and not supplant non-Federal arts education funds.

Eliminates provisions for Cultural Partnerships for At-Risk Children and Youth (current part D subpart 2).

Part C: Public Charter Schools - Revises ESEA title X part C, Public Charter Schools, to require public charter schools, if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated, to either admit students by lottery (as in current law) or in any other nondiscriminatory manner consistent with State law.

Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for Public Charter Schools programs.

Part D: Civic Education - Education for Democracy Act - Revises ESEA title X, part F, Civic Education to provide for grants or contracts for the Center for Civic Education (CCE) to carry out civic education activities under: (1) (as under current law) (the We the People...) The Citizen and the Constitution program; and (2) (the We the People...) The Project Citizen program. Includes among program requirements provision of: (1) instructional materials and methods, including teacher training, that use the latest advancements in educational technology; (2) civic education materials and services to address specific problems such as prevention of school violence and drug and alcohol abuse; and (3) optional simulated hearings of Congress (Citizen and Constitution) and State legislatures (Project Citizen).

Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for such Civic Education programs.

Part E: Allen J. Ellender Fellowship Program - Reauthorizes ESEA title X part G, Allen J. Ellender Fellowship Program (which is administered by the Close Up Foundation, provides financial aid to enable economically disadvantaged middle and secondary students, their teachers, economically disadvantaged older Americans, recent immigrants, and students of migrant parents Americans to come to Washington, D.C., to study the operations of the Federal Government). Extends through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for such program.

Title VI: General Provisions - Revises ESEA title XIV General Provisions to add definitions of: (1) a child with a disability; (2) family literacy services; and (3) scientifically based research.

(Sec. 601) Allows SEAs, under specified conditions, to combine administrative funds under all ESEA programs and such other programs as the Secretary may designate. (Current law only allows combining administrative funds under specified ESEA and other programs.) Adds to authorized uses of such combined funds: (1) State level activities to carry out ESEA title XIV; (2) training personnel engaged in audit and other monitoring activities; and (3) implementation of the Cooperative Audit Resolution and Oversight Initiative of the Department of Education.

Allows SEAs to submit to the Secretary consolidated plans and applications for all ESEA programs and such other programs as the Secretary may designate. Allows LEAs to submit to SEAs consolidated plans and applications for all ESEA programs.

Revises provisions for waivers to: (1) make them inapplicable to certain prohibitions against use of ESEA funds; and (2) increase their maximum duration to five years (currently three years).

Prohibits the Department of Education from making ESEA or other program funds available to any State or LEA which has a policy of denying, or which prevents participation in, constitutionally-protected voluntary prayer by individuals in public schools. Declares that: (1) ESEA funds may not be used for religious worship, instruction, or construction of any religious memorial; and (2) ESEA does not bar religious memorials and memorial services on public school campuses to honor persons slain on those campuses. Allows up to 20 percent of an LEA's administrative funds to be used for legal expenses in defending against legal actions claiming that an LEA, public school, or their agent violated the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion by permitting, facilitating, or accommodating: (1) a student's religious expression; or (2) the design or construction of any memorial which includes religious symbols, motifs, or saying as part of a memorial placed on a public school campus to honor the memory of a person slain on that campus.

Prohibits use of ESEA funds for: (1) materials, programs, or courses directed at youth that are designed to promote or encourage sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual; (2) distributing, or aiding distribution by any organization, of legally obscene materials to minors on school grounds; (3) sex education or HIV prevention education in schools, unless such programs are age appropriate and emphasize abstinence; or (4) programs of contraceptive distribution in schools.

Directs the Secretary to report to Congress on how audits of ESEA-assisted activities will comply with changes made by this Act, particularly with respect to permitting children with similar educational needs to be served in the same educational settings, where appropriate.

Prohibits requiring any State to have content standards or student performance standards approved or certified by the Federal Government in order to receive assistance under ESEA, but provides that such prohibition shall not be construed to affect requirements under title I of ESEA.

Prohibits the Department of Education from using any funds made available to it or to any applicable program to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary or secondary school.

Prohibits SEAs and LEAs that receives ESEA funds from entering into agreements (or allowing schools under their supervision to do so) that allow any person or entity to monitor, gather, or obtain information used to advertise, sell, or develop a product from any student under 18 years of age unless such agreement requires the prior written permission of the parent.

Declares that nothing in ESEA permits the development of a national database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or data collection efforts under ESEA.

Expresses the sense of Congress regarding: (1) reducing the reading deficit; (2) science assessment; and (3) America Achieves Academic Excellence.

(Sec. 602) Repeals provisions under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act for: (1) the National Education Goals Panel (parts A and C of title II); and (2) the International Education Program (title VI). Repeals ESEA title XI, Coordinated Services.