Text: S.2785 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (11/17/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 2785


To provide grants to improve after-school interdisciplinary education programs, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

November 17, 2009

Mrs. Lincoln (for herself and Mr. Franken) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To provide grants to improve after-school interdisciplinary education programs, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “After-School Partnerships Improve Results in Education (ASPIRE) Act”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Purpose.

Sec. 4. Definitions.

Sec. 5. National model after-school interdisciplinary education program grants.

Sec. 6. State grants.

Sec. 7. Subgrants to eligible entities for after-school interdisciplinary education programs.

Sec. 8. Eligible entity applications.

Sec. 9. Required uses.

Sec. 10. Secretarial peer review and approval.

Sec. 11. National activities.

Sec. 12. Regulations.

Sec. 13. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 14. Limitation on authority.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds that—

(1) over 15,000,000 students have no place to go after school hours, which is associated with high rates of juvenile crime;

(2) studies show that almost 13 of all public high school students in the United States fail to graduate;

(3) high school dropouts—

(A) on average, earn less than high school graduates; and

(B) are more likely than high school graduates to be unemployed;

(4) high dropout rates have a significant effect on communities through—

(A) loss of productivity and revenues; and

(B) higher costs associated with incarceration, health care, and social services;

(5) students consistently cite a lack of interest in core curriculum and a lack of relevancy to future careers as the major reasons for dropping out of high school;

(6) it is in the best interest of the United States to ensure students are qualified to compete in the global economy;

(7)(A) 80 percent of jobs are classified as skilled jobs; and

(B) only 32 percent of high school graduates are prepared for college;

(8) Microsoft’s Bill Gates warned that American companies “face a severe shortfall of scientists and engineers with expertise to develop the next generation of breakthroughs”;

(9) business leaders have stated that a qualified workforce is important to keeping jobs in the United States;

(10) Corporate Voices for Working Families has called for public and private efforts to create after-school programs in which young people can develop skills for the 21st century;

(11) opportunities for real-world learning and seeing the connection between school and getting a good job improve students’ chances of staying in school;

(12) students involved in after-school programs have significantly higher school attendance rates, score higher on mathematics and writing assessments, and are more likely to graduate from high school than those who are not involved in such programs;

(13) reinforcing core curricula by integrating academic work within alternative course material can lead to significant improvements in student achievement and engagement, as shown by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education;

(14) after-school programs and community partnerships offer youth opportunities—

(A) to develop social and citizenship skills; and

(B) to have access to a variety of mentors and role models from their communities; and

(15) after-school programs can also provide opportunities, for youth who have extra time, to experience the academic enrichment, career exploration, and skills development the youth need to succeed.

SEC. 3. Purpose.

The purpose of this Act is to establish and expand after-school programs and other similar programs—

(1) to improve middle school and high school student academic achievement, overall school success, and graduation rates by reinforcing core curriculum;

(2) to increase student knowledge of, and interest in, high-demand career opportunities;

(3) to increase student engagement in learning by—

(A) demonstrating the means by which academic content relates to career opportunities;

(B) providing opportunities for civic engagement and service learning; and

(C) providing students with marketable skills; and

(4) to provide opportunities for students to broaden curricula, to expose students to learning opportunities outside a core curriculum of study, and to provide opportunities for students to gain credit toward high school graduation through learning outside a traditional classroom.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) IN GENERAL.—The terms “local educational agency” and “State educational agency” have the meanings given the terms in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(2) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—The term “eligible entity”—

(A) when used with respect to a grant awarded under section 5, means a partnership that includes—

(i) not less than 1—

(I) State educational agency; or

(II) local educational agency serving a high school or middle school; and

(ii) not less than 1—

(I) career technical student organization;

(II) institution of higher education or tribal college or university;

(III) nonprofit organization;

(IV) community-based organization;

(V) tribal organization;

(VI) business; or

(VII) labor union; and

(B) when used with respect to a subgrant awarded under section 7, means a partnership that includes—

(i) a local educational agency that—

(I) serves a high school or middle school; and

(II) does not participate in a partnership that received a grant under section 5; and

(ii) not less than 1 of the entities described in subparagraph (A)(ii).

(3) HIGH SCHOOL.—The term “high school” means a secondary school as defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

(4) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).

(5) NATIONAL MODEL AFTER-SCHOOL INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION PROGRAM.—The term “national model after-school interdisciplinary education program” means a high-quality, multisite, after-school program that operates in not less than 5 States.

(6) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.

(7) STATE.—The term “State” means—

(A) each of the several States of the United States;

(B) the District of Columbia;

(C) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;

(D) the United States Virgin Islands;

(E) Guam;

(F) American Samoa;

(G) the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and

(H) the Republic of Palau.

(8) STRUGGLING STUDENT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term “struggling student” means a middle school-aged or high school-aged student who is not making sufficient progress toward graduating from high school with a regular diploma in the standard number of years.

(B) INCLUSIONS.—The term “struggling student” includes a student who—

(i) has been retained in a grade level; or

(ii) is a high school student who—

(I) lacks the necessary credits or courses, as determined by the local educational agency or State educational agency serving the student, to graduate from high school with a regular diploma in the standard number of years; or

(II)(aa) enters a school served by a local educational agency at grade 9 or higher; and

(bb) is identified by the local educational agency as—

(AA) being limited English-proficient; and

(BB) having experienced interrupted formal education.

SEC. 5. National model after-school interdisciplinary education program grants.

(a) Authorization of grants.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From amounts made available under section 13(b)(1), the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to enable the eligible entities to establish or expand, in accordance with section 9, national model after-school interdisciplinary education programs that—

(A) expand the knowledge base for other after-school interdisciplinary education programs; and

(B) disseminate information regarding effective practices to those other programs.

(2) DURATION OF GRANTS.—Each grant awarded under this section shall be—

(A) for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years; and

(B) renewable, based on performance, for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years.

(3) GRANT AMOUNTS.—The total amount of a grant awarded under this section shall be not less than $5,000,000 for the period of the grant.

(4) MATCHING FUNDS.—As a condition of receiving a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall match the grant amount with private funding on an equal basis.

(b) Priority.—In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to applications for assistance under this section that propose to target services to—

(1) a high percentage of students who—

(A) are from low-income families;

(B) are struggling students; or

(C) attend schools located in a rural, sparsely populated area; and

(2) the families of students described in paragraph (1).

SEC. 6. State grants.

(a) In general.—From amounts made available under section 13(b)(2), the Secretary shall award grants, from allotments under subsection (b), to States having applications approved under subsection (c) to enable the States to award subgrants to eligible entities under section 7.

(b) Allotments.—

(1) FORMULA.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), of the amounts made available under section 13(b)(2) that remain after the reservation required under subsection (d), the Secretary shall allot to each State for each applicable fiscal year an amount that bears the same relationship to that remainder as—

(i) the amount the State received under subpart 2 of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6331 et seq.) for the preceding fiscal year; bears to

(ii) the amount all States received under that subpart for the preceding fiscal year.

(B) EXCEPTION.—No State shall receive less than an amount equal to 12 of 1 percent of the total amount made available to all States under this subsection.

(2) REALLOTMENT OF UNUSED FUNDS.—If a State does not receive an allotment under this section for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall reallot the amount of the allotment of the State to the remaining States in accordance with this subsection.

(c) State application and application procedures.—

(1) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.—To be eligible to receive a grant under this section for any fiscal year, a State shall submit to the Secretary, in such form and manner as the Secretary may require, an application that—

(A) designates the State educational agency of the State as the agency responsible for the administration and supervision of programs assisted under this section;

(B) describes the means by which the State educational agency will use funds received under this section, including funds reserved for State-level activities;

(C) contains an assurance that the State educational agency will award subgrants under section 7 only to eligible entities that propose to serve—

(i) a high percentage of students who—

(I) are from low-income families;

(II) are struggling students; or

(III) attend schools located in a rural, sparsely populated area; and

(ii) the families of students described in clause (i);

(D) describes the procedures and criteria the State educational agency will use for reviewing applications and awarding subgrants under section 7 to eligible entities on a competitive basis, which shall include procedures and criteria that take into consideration the likelihood that a proposed program will help participating students meet local content and student academic achievement standards;

(E) describes the means by which the State educational agency will ensure that subgrants awarded under section 7 are—

(i) of sufficient size and scope to support high-quality, effective programs that are consistent with the purpose of this Act; and

(ii) in amounts that are consistent with section 7(a)(4);

(F) describes the measures the State educational agency will take to ensure that relevant programs implement effective strategies, including providing ongoing technical assistance and training, evaluation, and dissemination of information regarding promising practices;

(G) describes the means by which programs under section 7 will be coordinated with programs under section 5 and other programs as appropriate;

(H) contains an assurance that the State educational agency will—

(i) award subgrants under section 7 for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years that are renewable, based on performance, for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years; and

(ii) require each eligible entity seeking a subgrant to submit a plan describing the means by which the program funded through the subgrant will continue after funding under this Act is terminated;

(I) contains an assurance that funds made available to carry out this section will be used to supplement, and not supplant, other Federal, State, and local public funds expended to provide programs and activities authorized under this Act and other similar programs;

(J) contains an assurance that the State educational agency will require eligible entities to describe in an application submitted under section 8 the means by which the transportation needs of participating students will be addressed;

(K) contains an assurance that the State application was developed in consultation and coordination with—

(i) appropriate State officials, including the chief State school officer and the State director of career technical education;

(ii) other State agencies administering before- and after-school (or summer school) programs; and

(iii) representatives of teacher organizations, parents, students, the business community, community-based organizations, and labor unions;

(L) describes the results of the needs and resources assessment of the State for before- and after-school activities, which shall be based on the results of ongoing State evaluation activities;

(M) describes the means by which the State educational agency will evaluate the effectiveness of programs and activities carried out under section 7, which shall include, at a minimum—

(i) a description of the performance indicators and performance measures that will be used to evaluate programs and activities; and

(ii) public dissemination of the evaluations of programs and activities carried out under section 7; and

(N) provides for timely public notice of intent to file an application under this subsection and an assurance that the application will be available for public review after submission.

(2) APPROVAL BY SECRETARY.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 120 days after the date of receipt of an application under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall approve or disapprove the application.

(B) DEEMED APPROVAL.—If the Secretary fails to make a written determination that an application under paragraph (1) is not in compliance with the requirements of this section by the date required under subparagraph (A), the application shall be considered to be approved.

(C) DISAPPROVAL.—

(i) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall not finally disapprove an application under paragraph (1) until the State is provided notice and an opportunity for a hearing regarding the application in accordance with clause (ii).

(ii) NOTICE AND HEARING.—If the Secretary determines that an application is not in compliance with the requirements of this section, in whole or in part, the Secretary shall provide to the State—

(I) a notice of the finding of noncompliance, including—

(aa) a description of the specific provisions of the application that are not in compliance; and

(bb) a request for additional information (only regarding the noncompliant provisions) needed to make the application compliant with the requirements of this section; and

(II) an opportunity for a hearing regarding the application.

(D) RESPONSE.—

(i) IN GENERAL.—A State shall respond, in accordance with clause (ii), to a notice from the Secretary under subparagraph (C)(i) by not later than 45 days after the date of receipt of the notice.

(ii) CONTENTS.—To respond to a notice under clause (i), a State shall resubmit to the Secretary the application of the State, together with such additional information as is requested by the Secretary under subparagraph (C)(ii)(I)(bb).

(iii) APPROVAL.—The Secretary shall approve or disapprove an application resubmitted under clause (ii) by not later than the later of—

(I) the date that is 45 days after the date on which the State resubmits the application; and

(II) the expiration of the applicable 120-day period described in subparagraph (A).

(E) FAILURE TO RESPOND.—If the State fails to respond to a notification from the Secretary under subparagraph (C) by the date required under subparagraph (D)(i), the application of the State shall be considered to be disapproved.

(d) Reservation.—Of the amounts made available to carry out this section under section 13(b)(2), the Secretary shall reserve not less than 1 percent, but not more than 5 percent, for payment to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to be allotted in accordance with the needs of the Bureau for assistance under this Act, as determined by the Secretary, to enable the Bureau to carry out the purpose of this Act.

(e) Use of funds.—

(1) SUBGRANTS.—Each State that receives a grant under this section shall reserve not less than 93 percent of the amount of the grant to award subgrants to eligible entities under section 7.

(2) STATE ADMINISTRATION.—Each State that receives a grant under this section may use not more than 2 percent of the amount of the grant for—

(A) the administrative costs of carrying out this section and section 7;

(B) establishing and implementing a peer review process for subgrant applications submitted under section 7 (including consultation with other State agencies responsible for administering youth development programs and adult learning activities); and

(C) supervising the awarding of subgrants to eligible entities under section 7 (including consultation with other State agencies responsible for administering youth development programs and adult learning activities).

(3) STATE ACTIVITIES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Each State that receives a grant under this section may use not more than 5 percent of the amount of the grant for the following activities:

(i) MONITORING AND EVALUATION.—Monitoring and evaluation of programs and activities assisted under section 7.

(ii) CAPACITY BUILDING, TRAINING, AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.—Providing capacity building, training, and technical assistance under section 7.

(iii) COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION.—Comprehensive evaluation (directly or through a grant or contract) of the effectiveness of programs and activities under section 7.

(iv) STATE-LEVEL EFFORTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE.—Supporting State-level efforts and infrastructure to ensure the quality and availability of after-school programs.

(B) REPORTING REQUIREMENT.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, each State using grant funds made available under subparagraph (A) shall submit to the Secretary a report describing how the grant funds are used.

SEC. 7. Subgrants to eligible entities for after-school interdisciplinary education programs.

(a) Subgrants.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each State that receives a grant under section 6, acting through the State educational agency of the State, shall use the grant funds to award subgrants to eligible entities to enable the eligible entities to establish or expand after-school interdisciplinary education programs in accordance with section 9.

(2) DURATION OF AWARDS.—A subgrant awarded under this section—

(A) may be for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years; and

(B) shall be renewable, based on performance, for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years.

(3) AMOUNT.—The amount of a subgrant under this section shall be not less than $50,000 per fiscal year.

(4) PRIORITY.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In awarding subgrants under this section, a State shall give priority to applications for assistance under this section that—

(i) propose to serve—

(I) a high percentage of students who—

(aa) are from low-income families;

(bb) are struggling students; or

(cc) attend schools located in a rural, sparsely populated area; and

(II) the families of students described in subclause (I); or

(ii) are submitted by an eligible entity consisting of not less than 1 local educational agency serving a middle school or high school that receives funds under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.).

(B) GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY.—To the maximum extent practicable, a State shall distribute subgrant funds under this section equitably among geographical areas within the State, including urban and rural communities.

(b) Permissive local match.—

(1) REQUIREMENT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a State may require an eligible entity to match the amount of a subgrant awarded under this section.

(B) EXCEPTION.—A contribution by an eligible entity under subparagraph (A) shall not—

(i) exceed the amount of the subgrant awarded to the eligible entity; or

(ii) be derived from other Federal or State funds.

(2) SLIDING SCALE.—The amount of a contribution by an eligible entity under paragraph (1) shall be established based on a sliding fee scale that takes into account—

(A) the relative poverty of the population targeted by the eligible entity; and

(B) the ability of the eligible entity to obtain matching funds.

(3) IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS.—A State that requires an eligible entity to match funds under this subsection shall permit the eligible entity to provide all or any portion of those funds in the form of in-kind contributions.

(4) CONSIDERATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, a State shall not take into consideration the ability of an eligible entity to provide sufficient matching funds under this subsection in selecting eligible entities to receive subgrants under this section.

SEC. 8. Eligible entity applications.

(a) In general.—To be eligible to receive a grant under section 5 or a subgrant under section 7, an eligible entity shall submit to the Secretary or the State, as applicable, an application in such form and manner as the Secretary or State, as applicable, may require.

(b) Contents.—Each application described in subsection (a) shall include—

(1) a description of the programs and activities to be funded using the grant or subgrant, including—

(A) an assurance that the programs and activities will take place in a safe and easily accessible facility;

(B) a description of how students participating in the programs and activities will travel safely to and from the location of the programs; and

(C) a description of how the eligible entity will disseminate information regarding the programs and activities (including the locations of the programs and activities) to the community in a manner that is understandable and accessible;

(2) a description of how the programs and activities are expected to meet the purpose of this Act;

(3) an identification of Federal, State, and local programs that will be combined or coordinated with the proposed programs and activities to make the most effective use of public resources;

(4) an assurance that the proposed programs and activities were developed, and will be carried out, in active collaboration with schools attended by the students to be served by the eligible entity;

(5) a description of the means by which the programs and activities will meet the principles of effectiveness described in section 9(b);

(6) an assurance that the programs and activities will primarily target students from low-income families or struggling students and the families of those students;

(7) an assurance that funds provided pursuant to this Act will—

(A) be used to increase the level of State, local, and other non-Federal funds that would, in the absence of funds under this Act, be made available for programs and activities authorized under this Act; and

(B) in no case supplant any Federal, State, local, or non-Federal funds;

(8) a description of a preliminary plan for the means by which the proposed programs and activities will continue after funding under this Act is terminated;

(9) an assurance that—

(A) the affected community will be given notice of an intent to submit an application under this Act; and

(B) the application and any applicable waiver request will be available for public review after submission of the application; and

(10) such other information and assurances as the Secretary or the State, as applicable, may reasonably require.

(c) Special rule for subgrant applications.—

(1) APPROVAL OF CERTAIN APPLICATIONS.—A State may approve an application for a subgrant under section 7, for a program to be located in a facility other than a high school, only if the program will be at least as available and accessible to the students to be served as if the program were located in the high school.

(2) PEER REVIEW.—In reviewing applications for a subgrant under section 7, a State shall use a peer review process or other method of ensuring the quality of applications, in accordance with section 6(c)(1)(D).

SEC. 9. Required uses.

(a) Required activities.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each eligible entity that receives a grant under section 5 or a subgrant under section 7 shall use the grant or subgrant funds, as applicable, to establish or expand after-school programs and activities that meet the purpose of this Act, including—

(A) not less than 1—

(i) mathematics and science education activity;

(ii) language arts, writing, and reading activity; or

(iii) history, geography, or social studies activity; and

(B) not less than 1—

(i) career technical education activity;

(ii) business and entrepreneurial education program;

(iii) health and wellness activity;

(iv) environmental and conservation activity; or

(v) arts and music education activity.

(2) ACTIVITY AND PROGRAM TIMES.—In addition to after school, the activities and programs described in paragraph (1) may take place before school or at any other time during which school is not in session, including on weekends and during vacation and summer recess periods.

(b) Principles of effectiveness.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each program and activity established or expanded under this Act shall meet principles of effectiveness that are based on—

(A) an assessment of objective data regarding the need for the programs and activities described in subsection (a), including activities in the schools and communities;

(B) an established set of performance measures, including academic, social, and behavioral measures, aimed at ensuring opportunities for high-quality academic enrichment and positive youth development; and

(C) if appropriate, scientifically based research that provides evidence that the programs or activities will help students improve academic achievement, deepen student engagement in learning, and promote positive youth development.

(2) PERIODIC EVALUATION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Each program and activity established or expanded under this Act shall be subject to periodic evaluation to assess the progress made by the program or activity toward achieving the goal of providing high-quality opportunities for academic enrichment and positive youth development.

(B) USE OF RESULTS.—The results of evaluations under subparagraph (A) shall be—

(i) used—

(I) to refine, improve, and strengthen each program or activity so evaluated; and

(II) to refine the applicable performance measures; and

(ii) made available to the public—

(I) on request; and

(II) by public notice.

SEC. 10. Secretarial peer review and approval.

The Secretary shall establish—

(1) a peer-review process to assist in the review and approval of grant applications submitted under section 5 and State applications submitted under section 6; and

(2) appoint to serve the peer-review process individuals who are educators and experts in educational standards, assessments, accountability, high school improvement, youth development, dropout prevention, and other educational needs of high school students.

SEC. 11. National activities.

(a) National activities.—From amounts made available under section 13(b)(3), the Secretary shall carry out national activities (directly or through grants or contracts), such as—

(1) providing technical assistance as described in subsection (b), to States or eligible entities carrying out programs or activities under this Act; or

(2) conducting a national evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and activities under this Act.

(b) Technical assistance.—The Secretary may provide, pursuant to subsection (a), technical assistance to States and eligible entities carrying out programs and activities under this Act, such as—

(1) conducting outreach to ensure widespread knowledge of the availability of those programs and activities;

(2) annually convening participating States, eligible entities, and organizations providing support to those States or eligible entities, to provide training and education regarding best practices;

(3) disseminating information regarding best practices and successful program models for serving high school youth; and

(4) providing capacity building and training to ensure high-quality programming.

SEC. 12. Regulations.

The Secretary shall promulgate such regulations as the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry out this Act.

SEC. 13. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act for fiscal year 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter.

(b) Allocations.—Of the amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (b) for each fiscal year, the Secretary shall allocate for the fiscal year—

(1) 40 percent for grants under section 5;

(2) 50 percent for grants under section 6; and

(3) 10 percent for national activities under section 11.

SEC. 14. Limitation on authority.

Any new spending authority or new authority to enter into contracts provided by this Act, and under which the United States is obligated to make outlays, shall be effective only to the extent, and in such amounts, as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.