Text: S.968 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (05/04/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 968


To award competitive grants to eligible partnerships to enable the partnerships to implement innovative strategies at the secondary school level to improve student achievement and prepare at-risk students for postsecondary education and the workforce.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 4, 2009

Mr. Reid (for himself, Mr. Pryor, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Menendez, and Mr. Bennet) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To award competitive grants to eligible partnerships to enable the partnerships to implement innovative strategies at the secondary school level to improve student achievement and prepare at-risk students for postsecondary education and the workforce.

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

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Secondary School Innovation Fund Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Since almost 90 percent of the fastest growing and best paying jobs now require some postsecondary education, a secondary school diploma and the skills to succeed in postsecondary education and the modern workplace are essential.

(2) Only 13 of all high school students in the United States graduate in 4 years prepared for a 4-year institution of higher education. Another 13 graduate, but without the skills and qualifications necessary for success in postsecondary education or the workplace, and the rest will not graduate from high school in 4 years, if at all.

(3) Dropouts from the class of 2008 will cost the United States more that $319,000,000,000 in reduced earnings.

(4) The Nation’s failure to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers means that American companies cannot fill a large number of jobs. 81 percent of American manufacturing companies report experiencing a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers.

(5) The education system of the United States should support critical thinking, creativity, and innovative approaches to problem-solving—all skills that cannot easily be outsourced. The Program for International Student Assessment is an international assessment that measures these high-demand skills. Unfortunately, when the results on this assessment of students from the United States are compared to those of students from 27 other countries, many of which are economic competitors of the United States, the United States students rank 24th in problem-solving, 21st in scientific literacy, and 25th in mathematical literacy.

(6) As the bar for success continues to be raised, the responsibility to engender these attributes with progressive programs and original models lies squarely with the education system. It is imperative that the United States develop and implement new, innovative approaches to fully prepare every student for the 21st century.

(7) Realigning the education system to meet new, demanding requirements and face intensifying competition requires effective, systemic reform. Identifying effective, replicable models that achieve this goal is a critical step towards enhancing the prospects of all students entering the modern workforce.

SEC. 3. Secondary school innovation fund.

(a) Secondary school innovation fund.—Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) is amended—

(1) by redesignating part I as part J; and

(2) by inserting after section 1830 the following:

“SEC. 1851. Purposes.

“The purposes of this part are—

“(1) to improve the achievement of at-risk secondary school students and prepare such students for postsecondary education and the workforce;

“(2) to create evidence-based, replicable models of innovation in secondary schools at the State and local level; and

“(3) to support partnerships to create and inform innovation at the State and local level to improve learning outcomes and transitions for secondary school students.

“SEC. 1852. Definitions.

“In this part:

“(1) ELIGIBLE PARTNERSHIP.—The term ‘eligible partnership’ means a partnership that includes—

“(A) not less than 1—

“(i) State educational agency; or

“(ii) local educational agency that is eligible for assistance under part A; and

“(B) not less than 1—

“(i) institution of higher education;

“(ii) nonprofit organization;

“(iii) community-based organization;

“(iv) business; or

“(v) school development organization or intermediary.

“(2) ELIGIBLE SCHOOL.—The term ‘eligible school’ means a public secondary school served by a local educational agency that is eligible for assistance under part A.

“(3) HIGH SCHOOL.—The term ‘high school’ means a public school, including a public charter high school, that provides secondary education, as determined under State law, in 1 or more of grades 9 through 12.

“(4) MIDDLE SCHOOL.—The term ‘middle school’ means a public school, including a public charter middle school, that provides middle or secondary education, as determined under State law, in 1 or more of grades 5 through 8.

“SEC. 1853. Secondary school innovation fund.

“(a) Program authorized.—

“(1) GRANTS TO ELIGIBLE PARTNERSHIPS.—The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible partnerships to enable the eligible partnerships to pay the Federal share of the costs of implementing innovative strategies described in subsection (f) to improve the achievement of at-risk students in secondary schools.

“(2) SUBGRANTS TO ELIGIBLE SCHOOLS.—An eligible partnership that receives a grant under this part may use the grant funds to award a subgrant to an eligible school to enable the eligible school to implement innovative strategies described in subsection (f) to improve the achievement of at-risk students at the eligible school.

“(3) DURATION OF GRANT PERIOD.—A grant awarded under paragraph (1) shall be for not longer than a 5-year period.

“(b) Reservation of funds.—The Secretary shall reserve 5 percent of the amounts appropriated under this part for a fiscal year for the evaluation described in subsection (h).

“(c) Application.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—An eligible partnership desiring a grant under this part shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

“(2) CONTENTS.—The application described in paragraph (1) shall include—

“(A) a description of the eligible partnership, the partners forming the eligible partnership, and the roles and responsibilities of each partner, and a demonstration of each partner's capacity to support the outlined roles and responsibilities;

“(B) a description of how funds will be used to improve the achievement of at-risk students in secondary schools;

“(C) a description of how the activities funded by the grant will be innovative, systemic, evidence-based, and replicable;

“(D) a description of each subgrant the eligible partnership will award to an eligible school, including a description of the eligible school;

“(E) a description of how the eligible partnership will measure and report improvement using the data collected under subsection (g) and additional indicators of improvement proposed by the partnership, such as—

“(i) student attendance or participation;

“(ii) credit accumulation rates;

“(iii) core course completion rates;

“(iv) college enrollment and persistence rates; or

“(v) number or percentage of students taking—

“(I) Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or other postsecondary education courses;

“(II) rigorous postsecondary education preparatory courses; or

“(III) registered apprenticeship and workforce training programs; and

“(F) a description of the planning phase of not more than 90 days that the eligible partnership will undertake for the grant, including—

“(i) the activities and goals of the planning phase; and

“(ii) how each partner in the eligible partnership will participate in the planning phase.

“(d) Application review and award basis.—

“(1) GRANT REVIEW AND APPROVAL.—The Secretary shall—

“(A) establish a peer review process to assist in the review of the grant applications and approval of the grants under this section; and

“(B) appoint to the peer review process—

“(i) individuals who are educators and experts in—

“(I) secondary school reform;

“(II) accountability;

“(III) secondary school improvement;

“(IV) innovative education models;

“(V) postsecondary education preparation and access; and

“(VI) workforce preparation; and

“(ii) not less than 1 parent or community representative; and

“(C) ensure that each grant award is of sufficient size and scope to carry out the activities proposed in the grant application, including the evaluation required under subsection (g)(3).

“(2) AWARD BASIS.—In awarding grants under this part, the Secretary shall ensure, to the extent practicable—

“(A) diversity in the type of activities funded under the grants, including statewide and local initiatives;

“(B) an equitable geographic distribution of the grants, including urban and rural areas and small and large school districts; and

“(C) that the grants support activities—

“(i) that target different grade levels of students at the secondary school level;

“(ii) in a variety of types of secondary schools, including middle schools and high schools; and

“(iii) in secondary schools of varying sizes, including small and large schools.

“(e) Federal share, non-Federal share.—

“(1) FEDERAL SHARE.—The Federal share of a grant under this part shall be not more than 75 percent of the costs of the activities assisted under the grant.

“(2) NON-FEDERAL SHARE.—The non-Federal share shall be not less than 25 percent of the costs of the activities assisted under the grant, of which not more than 10 percent of the costs of the activities assisted under the grant may be provided in-kind, fairly evaluated.

“(f) Use of funds.—An eligible partnership receiving a grant under this part, or an eligible school receiving a subgrant under this part, shall use grant or subgrant funds, respectively, to carry out 1 or more of the following effective models or innovative programs:

“(1) EFFECTIVE SCHOOL MODELS.—

“(A) MULTIPLE EDUCATION PATHWAYS.—A model creating a range of academically rigorous multiple education pathways, based on the analysis of student data, that lead to a secondary school diploma, that are consistent with readiness for postsecondary education and the workforce, and that offer students a range of educational options designed to meet the students’ needs and interests, including through the creation of new schools. Such pathways may include—

“(i) an effective dropout prevention and recovery model that—

“(I) prepares students for postsecondary education and career readiness;

“(II) uses re-engagement and recuperative strategies based in youth development;

“(III) uses innovative strategies for credit recovery and acceleration, such as flexible hours or online access to curricula, courses, assessments, resources, and supports;

“(IV) provides competency-based instruction and performance-based assessment to improve educational outcomes for various populations of overaged or undercredited students or students who have previously dropped out of secondary school, such as—

“(aa) students not making sufficient progress to graduate with a regular secondary school diploma in the standard number of years;

“(bb) students who need to work to support themselves or their families;

“(cc) pregnant and parenting teens; and

“(dd) students returning from the juvenile justice system; and

“(V) combines rigorous academic education with career training for students that are not making sufficient progress to graduate from secondary school in the standard number of years;

“(ii) a career and technical education program;

“(iii) a career academy or other model that delivers high quality, college preparatory curriculum in the context of a rigorous technical core; and

“(iv) creating a more personalized and engaging learning environment for secondary school students, such as—

“(I) establishing smaller learning communities;

“(II) creating student advisories and developing peer engagement strategies;

“(III) creating mechanisms for increased educator collaboration around individual student needs;

“(IV) involving students and parents in the development of individualized student plans for secondary school success and graduation and transition to postsecondary education; and

“(V) creating mechanisms for increased student participation in school improvement efforts and in decisions affecting the students' own learning, including students leading guidance activities, mentoring, or tutoring efforts.

“(B) EARLY COLLEGE AND DUAL ENROLLMENT SCHOOLS.—An early college high school or other dual enrollment learning opportunity that provides a course of study that enables a student to earn a secondary school diploma and either an associate degree or not more than 2 years of transferable postsecondary education credit toward a postsecondary degree or credential.

“(C) SECONDARY SCHOOLS USING EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS.—A secondary school that enables at-risk students to graduate from secondary school ready to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce, through use of an early warning indicator and intervention system that combines—

“(i) research-based whole school reform focused on improving attendance, behavior, and course performance;

“(ii) targeted interventions provided by trained teams of adults working full-time in the school, which may include—

“(I) participants or volunteers under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.) or the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 4950 et seq.);

“(II) student and family advocates; and

“(III) college and career access and success counselors;

“(iii) integrated student services and case-managed interventions for students requiring intensive supports; and

“(iv) an on-track indicator system to identify students in need of additional support and to monitor the effectiveness of the interventions described in clause (ii).

“(2) INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS.—

“(A) EXPANDED LEARNING-TIME OPPORTUNITIES.—The creation of an expanded learning-time opportunity, which may include—

“(i) establishing a mandatory expanded day, for all students transitioning into the first year of high school, for academic catch-up and enrichment;

“(ii) providing arts, service-learning (as defined in section 101 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12511)), or youth development opportunities with community-based cultural and civic organizations;

“(iii) providing higher education and work-based exposure, experience, and credit-bearing learning opportunities in partnership with postsecondary education institutions and the workforce;

“(iv) providing technology-enabled collaboration and access for students to receive assistance from content experts, instructors, and peers and to utilize resources for remediation and enrichment; or

“(v) providing quality summer experiences, which may include youth development.

“(B) SUCCESSFUL TRANSITIONS TO HIGH SCHOOL.—A program improving student transitions from middle school to high school and ensuring successful entry into high school, which may include—

“(i) establishing summer transition programs for students transitioning from middle school to high school to ensure the students' connection to the students' new high school and to orient the students to the study skills and social skills necessary for success in the high school;

“(ii) providing for the sharing of data between high schools and feeder middle schools;

“(iii) establishing early warning indicator and intervention programs in high school for students transitioning into the students' first year of high school so that such students do not become truant or fall too far behind in academics;

“(iv) increasing the level of student supports, including academic and nonacademic supports that meet the comprehensive needs of struggling students;

“(v) aligning academic standards, curricula, and assessments between middle and high schools; and

“(vi) providing electronic access to detailed information on student performance and all content and skill areas to students transitioning into high school and their parents.

“(C) SUCCESSFUL TRANSITIONS TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE.—Improvements to assist student transition from secondary school to postsecondary education and the workforce, which may include—

“(i) providing for the sharing of data between secondary schools and institutions of higher education, including data on remediation and completion rates;

“(ii) enabling dual enrollment and post-secondary credit-bearing learning opportunities;

“(iii) creating new opportunities to better utilize grades 11 and 12 and creating better connections to postsecondary education, which may include internships, externships, job shadowing, and technology-enabled collaboration;

“(iv) providing enhanced planning and counseling for postsecondary education, including financial aid counseling; and

“(v) aligning the academic standards of secondary school with the academic standards of postsecondary education and the requirements and expectations of the workforce, including partnering with local industry to align technical curricula to workforce needs.

“(D) INCREASED SCHOOL AUTONOMY AND FLEXIBILITY.—A program of providing secondary schools with increased autonomy and flexibility, which may include—

“(i) establishing a process whereby existing schools can apply for flexibility in such areas as scheduling, curricula, budgeting, and governance; and

“(ii) starting new small public secondary schools that are guaranteed such autonomy.

“(E) RURAL OPPORTUNITIES.—A program to improve learning opportunities for secondary school students in rural schools, including through the use of distance-learning opportunities and other technology-based tools.

“(F) MIDDLE GRADE IMPROVEMENTS.—A program to improve learning opportunities for students in the middle grades—

“(i) to prevent student disengagement and improve achievement; and

“(ii) to better respond to early warning signs that students are at risk of dropping out of school, such as poor attendance, poor behavior, or course failure, through the use of an early warning indicator system and interventions.

“(G) IMPROVING TEACHING AND ACADEMICS.—A program of improving teaching and increasing academic rigor at the secondary school level, which may include—

“(i) improving the alignment of academic standards with the requirements and expectations of postsecondary education and the workforce;

“(ii) improving the teaching and assessment of 21st century skills, including through the development of formative assessment models;

“(iii) providing high-quality professional development on data literacy, including on use of data to inform classroom instruction;

“(iv) addressing the learning needs of various student populations, including students who are limited English proficient, late entrant English language learners, and students with disabilities; and

“(v) developing value-added measures for use in determining teacher ability and effectiveness, including for use in recruitment and hiring decisions.

“(H) IMPROVED COMMUNITY AND PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT.—A program improving community and parental involvement, which may include—

“(i) increasing community involvement, including leveraging community-based services and opportunities to provide every student with the academic and comprehensive nonacademic supports necessary for academic success; and

“(ii) increasing parental involvement, including providing parents with the tools to navigate, support, and influence their child’s academic career and choices through secondary school graduation and into postsecondary education and the workforce, including through electronic access to student data.

“(g) Data collection and evaluation.—

“(1) COLLECTION OF DATA.—Each eligible partnership receiving a grant under this part shall collect and report annually to the Secretary such information on the results of the activities assisted under the grant as the Secretary may reasonably require, including information on—

“(A) the number and percentage of students who—

“(i) are served by the eligible partnership;

“(ii) are assisted under this part; and

“(iii) graduate from secondary school with a regular secondary school diploma in the standard number of years;

“(B) the number and percentage of students, at each grade level, who are—

“(i) served by the eligible partnership;

“(ii) assisted under this part; and

“(iii) on track to graduate from secondary school with a regular secondary school diploma in the standard number of years;

“(C) the number and percentage of students, at each grade level, who—

“(i) are served by the eligible partnership;

“(ii) are assisted under this part; and

“(iii) meet or exceed State challenging student academic achievement standards in mathematics, reading or language arts, or science, as measured by the State academic assessments under section 1111(b)(3);

“(D) information consistent with the additional indicators of improvement proposed by the eligible partnership in the grant application; and

“(E) other information the Secretary may require as necessary for the evaluation described in subsection (h).

“(2) REPORTING OF DATA.—Each eligible partnership receiving a grant under this part shall disaggregate the information required under paragraph (1) in the same manner as information is disaggregated under section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i).

“(3) EVALUATION.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Each eligible partnership receiving a grant under this part shall, immediately after the receipt of grant funds, enter into a contract with an outside evaluator to enable the evaluator to conduct—

“(i) an evaluation of the effects of the grant after the third year of implementation of the grant; and

“(ii) an evaluation of the effects of the grant after the final year of the grant period.

“(B) DISTRIBUTION.—Upon completion of an evaluation described in subparagraph (A), the eligible partnership shall submit a copy of the evaluation to the Secretary in a timely manner.

“(h) Evaluation; best practices.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—From amounts reserved under subsection (b), the Secretary shall—

“(A) enter into a contract with an outside evaluator to enable the evaluator to conduct—

“(i) a comprehensive evaluation after the third year of implementation on the effectiveness of all grants awarded under this part; and

“(ii) a final evaluation following the final year of the grant period—

“(I) with a focus on the improvement in student achievement and the indicators described in subsection (g)(1) as a result of innovative strategies; and

“(II) to the extent practicable, that compares the relative effectiveness of different types of programs and compares the relative effectiveness of variations in implementation within types of programs; and

“(B) disseminate, and provide technical assistance regarding, best practices in improving the achievement of secondary school students.

“(2) PEER REVIEW.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—An evaluator receiving a contract under this subsection shall—

“(i) establish a peer-review process to assist in the review and approval of the evaluations conducted under this subsection; and

“(ii) appoint individuals to the peer-review process who are educators and experts in—

“(I) research and evaluation; and

“(II) the areas of expertise described in subclauses (I) through (VI) of subsection (d)(1)(B)(i).

“(B) RESTRICTIONS ON USE.—The Secretary shall not distribute or use the results of any evaluation described in paragraph (1)(A) until the results are peer-reviewed in accordance with subparagraph (A).

“(i) Continuation of funding.—An eligible partnership that receives a grant under this part shall only be eligible to receive a grant payment for a fourth or fifth year of the grant if the Secretary determines, on the basis of the evaluation of the grant under subsection (h)(1)(A)(i), that the performance of the eligible partnership under the grant has been satisfactory.

“(j) Rule of construction regarding discrimination.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability in any program or activity funded under this part.

“SEC. 1854. Authorization of appropriations.

“There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this part $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 and for each of the succeeding 5 years.”.

(b) Conforming amendments.—The table of contents in section 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 note) is amended—

(1) by striking the item relating to Part I and inserting the following:

“PART J—GENERAL PROVISIONS”.

(2) by inserting after the item relating to section 1830 the following:


“Sec. 1851. Purposes.

“Sec. 1852. Definitions.

“Sec. 1853. Secondary school innovation fund.

“Sec. 1854. Authorization of appropriations.”.