Summary: H.R.444 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (06/03/2004)

Title I: Worker Reemployment Accounts Act of 2004 - Worker Reemployment Accounts Act of 2004 - (Sec. 102) Amends the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to authorize the Secretary of Labor to establish and implement a national demonstration project of grants to support personal reemployment accounts (PRAs).

Directs the Secretary to make competitive grants for such project to States or local boards or consortia to provide PRAs to eligible individuals.

Makes eligible for a PRA, in a designated State or local area, individuals who: (1) are identified as likely to exhaust unemployment compensation and in need of job search assistance to make a successful transition to new employment (or whose unemployment can be attributed in substantial part to unfair competition from Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated); (2) are receiving regular unemployment compensation under any Federal or State unemployment compensation program administered by the State; and (3) are eligible for at least 20 weeks of regular unemployment compensation.

Allows PRAs to be used to purchase intensive services, training services, or supportive services through the one-stop delivery system on a fee-for-service basis, or through other providers, consistent with specified safeguards. Provides cash reemployment bonuses, consisting of the balance of their PRAs, to recipients who obtain full-time employment before the end of the 13th week of unemployment for which compensation is paid.

Title II: Teacher Training Enhancement Act - Teacher Training Enhancement Act - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for title II (Teacher Quality Enhancement): (1) part A, Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants for States and Partnerships; and (2) part B, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology. Sets forth a new part C, Centers of Excellence for recruiting and preparing teachers, including minority teachers, to become highly qualified teachers in elementary and secondary school classrooms (K-12).

(Sec. 202) Revises part A programs to include requirements for: (1) preparing and retaining highly qualified teachers as defined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) (ESEA); and (2) recruiting minorities to teaching.

Revises State grant requirements to allow States to receive more than one such grant. Allows State grants to be used to support innovative programs, including charter colleges of education and university and local educational partnership schools, and including activities to: (1) increase the flexibility of teacher preparation programs in meeting State requirements; (2) generate long term data on teachers' impact on student achievement; (3) provide high quality preparation to individuals from groups underrepresented in teaching; and (4) create measures to gauge the performance of teacher preparation programs in preparing highly qualified teachers.

Authorizes States to use grant funds to: (1) develop ways of measuring the effectiveness of teacher preparation and professional development programs; (2) document student achievement gains and teachers' mastery of subjects taught as a result of these programs; and (3) develop strategies to improve the quality of preschool teachers and their preparation programs. Requires States receiving such grants to establish systems to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher preparation and professional development in increasing student achievement and teachers' subject matter mastery.

Revises partnership grant definitions of partner institution and high-need local educational agency (LEA).

Includes a public or private education organization among the required entities in an eligible partnership.

Requires a high-need LEA in a partnership to benefit directly from at least 50 percent of the partnership's funding.

Directs partnerships to choose among four required activities: (1) teacher preparation program reform to ensure the programs prepare teachers who are highly qualified, able to understand scientifically based research and its applicability, and able to use technology; (2) clinical experience for preservice and inservice teachers; (3) professional development; and (4) teacher preparation activities that train teachers to serve students with different learning styles and to improve student behavior.

Revises additional authorized activities to include: (1) alternatives to traditional teacher preparation and alternative avenues to State certification; (2) provision of clinical experience in mathematics, science, and technology for current teachers (requiring participating teachers to continue teaching for at least two years); (3) coordination with community colleges to implement teacher preparation programs through means such as distance learning; (4) teacher mentoring programs with specified characteristics; and (5) training of teachers to use computer software for multilingual education to address the needs of limited English proficient students.

Requires applicant partnerships to: (1) demonstrate that higher education faculty will serve with highly qualified teachers in K-12 classrooms; and (2) assure that teachers, principals, and superintendents in private K-12 schools will be served. Requires descriptions of how the partnership will design and implement: (1) a clinical program component with close supervision of student teachers by teacher preparation program faculty and mentor teachers; and (2) an induction program for new teachers that includes mentors trained and compensated by the partnership, and ongoing assessment of teacher preparation effectiveness that can be used to improve teacher preparation programs. Requires partnerships to include a certification from the high-need LEA in the partnership that at least 50 percent of the grant funds will be used to directly benefit that LEA. Requires partnership grant funds to supplement, not supplant, other Federal, State, and local funds.

Revises teacher recruitment grant provisions to require applicants to describe how funds will be used to recruit minority students. Gives a priority, in selecting among eligible applicants, to those who assure they will recruit a high percentage of minority students. Includes among authorized uses of such grant funds: (1) recruitment into teaching of employees from technology industries and other high-demand industries (as well as generally from science, mathematics, and engineering); and (2) outreach and coordination with inner-city and rural secondary schools to encourage students to pursue teaching careers.

Revises part A accountability requirements. Requires State grantees to report information on the extent to which substantial progress has been made with these funds in increasing the percentage of highly qualified teachers in the State. Includes objectives and measures regarding an increased percentage of highly qualified teachers among requirements for the evaluation plans prepared by partnerships. Requires reporting on pass rates of test takers who complete at least 50 percent of a teacher preparation program's requirements. Requires States to include evidence of student achievement gains among criteria for assessing the performance of teacher preparation programs conducted by higher education institutions or alternative certification programs. Requires such institutions or programs to include, for State report cards on quality of teacher preparation, comparisons of: (1) the average score on teacher certification exams of their students (who complete at least half of teacher preparation program requirements) with the average scores for other institutions in the State; and (2) average raw score data. Requires State Governors or entities responsible for teacher certification and preparation to attest as to the quality and accuracy of the data being reported by the State to the Secretary of Education.

Extends through FY 2008 the authorization of appropriations for HEA II-A teacher quality enhancement grants.

(Sec. 203) Revises part B activities related to preparing teachers to use technology.

Extends through FY 2008 the authorization of appropriations for HEA II-B programs for preparing tomorrow's teachers to use technology.

(Sec. 204) Establishes a new HEA II part C program of centers of excellence.

Provides that such Centers will be for recruiting and preparing teachers, including minority teachers, to become highly qualified teachers in K-12 classrooms.

Requires such Centers to be established at higher education institutions serving minorities.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2008 for HEA II-C centers of excellence.

Title III: Priorities for Graduate Studies Act of 2004 - Priorities for Graduate Studies Act of 2004 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to revise requirements for Graduate and Postsecondary Improvement Programs (title VII), and to reauthorize appropriations for some of such programs through FY 2009.

(Sec. 302) Revises the Jacob K. Javits fellowship program. Directs the Secretary of Education to give grant priority to institutions of higher education (IHEs) for fellowships to students in advanced linguistic studies and courses that prepare teachers to teach students with limited English proficiency. Permits IHEs to allow fellowship recipients an interruption of study due to active duty military service or a personal or family member illness. Revises requirements for allocation of fellowships. Directs the Secretary to ensure that one member of the fellowship board will be from a minority-serving institution. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 303) Revises the program of graduate assistance in areas of national need. Directs the Secretary to give grant priority to IHEs to prepare mathematics, science and special education faculty who can train highly qualified mathematics, science, or special education teachers for service in elementary and secondary schools. Revises requirements relating to designation of areas of national need, stipends, and additional assistance. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 304) Revises requirements for the Thurgood Marshall legal educational opportunity program. Revises activities for which the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) is to use program contract and grant funds provided by the Secretary to include: (1) assisting students to develop analytical skills and study methods; and (2) awarding such fellowships to eligible law school students who either participated in summer institutes and are enrolled in an accredited law school or have successfully completed a comparable summer institute certified by CLEO. Revises types of program services to provide that undergraduate preparatory courses be in analytical skills and study methods. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 305) Revises requirements for the Secretary's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education program contracts and grants. Authorizes consideration of applications for projects relating to: (1) the needs of nontraditional student populations; (2) distance education delivery through communications technology; and (3) expanded opportunities to enter and reenter postsecondary institutions and pursue study programs tailored to individual needs. Includes among special projects international partnerships with postsecondary institutions abroad. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

Eliminates continuation awards under certain parts of title VII of HEA.

(Sec. 306) Eliminates the Urban Community Service program (part C of title VII of HEA).

(Sec. 307) Revises requirements for demonstration projects to ensure that students with disabilities receive a quality higher education. Includes among authorized project activities developing innovative, effective, and efficient teaching methods and strategies to: (1) ensure such students' smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education; and (2) enable faculty and administrators to provide accessible distance education programs or classes to enhance such students' access to higher education. Requires project grant applications to describe how the IHE will work to replicate the best practices of IHEs with demonstrated success in serving students with disabilities. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.