Summary: H.R.471 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House without amendment (03/30/2011)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on March 17, 2011. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act or SOAR Act - (Sec. 4) Authorizes the Secretary of Education to award five-year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations to carry out a program to provide expanded school choice opportunities to students who are District of Columbia (DC) residents and who come from households: (1) receiving assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008; or (2) with incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty line, except in certain grandfathered circumstances.

Requires the Secretary to provide funds to the Mayor of the District of Columbia, if the Mayor agrees to specified requirements, for: (1) the DC public schools to improve public education, and (2) the DC public charter schools to improve and expand quality public charter schools.

(Sec. 5) Prescribes requirements for schools participating in such grant programs.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Secretary to give priority to certain applications, including those of eligible students notified as selected for a scholarship for school year 2009-2010, which was later rescinded by the Secretary.

(Sec. 7) Limits the amount of assistance for school year 2011-2012 at $8,000 for grade school students and $12,000 for high school students.

(Sec. 8) Prescribes nondiscrimination requirements, with certain exceptions for religiously affiliated and single-sex schools.

Requires each participating school to comply with any testing requirements determined necessary for evaluations which use the strongest possible research design for determining the effectiveness of the opportunity scholarship program.

Requires the Secretary (through the Institute of Education Sciences of the Department of Education) to administer the nationally norm-referenced standardized test at least one time during a school year for each student receiving a scholarship if a participating school does not administer such test or the Institute does not receive data on such student.

(Sec. 9) Requires the Institute to use a grade appropriate, nationally norm-referenced standardized test each school year to assess participating eligible students.

(Sec. 12) Repeals the DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003.

Prescribes special rules for funding opportunity scholarships for DC students.

(Sec. 14) Authorizes appropriations for FY2012-FY2016.