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

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Introduced in Senate (05/04/2009)

 
[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 968 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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 \1/3\ of all high school students in the United 
        States graduate in 4 years prepared for a 4-year institution of 
        higher education. Another \1/3\ 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:

               ``PART I--SECONDARY SCHOOL INNOVATION FUND

``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'';

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

               ``Part I--Secondary School Innovation Fund

``Sec. 1851. Purposes.
``Sec. 1852. Definitions.
``Sec. 1853. Secondary school innovation fund.
``Sec. 1854. Authorization of appropriations.''.
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