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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    112-315

======================================================================



 
                     SOAR TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS ACT

                                _______
                                

December 6, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Issa, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3237]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 3237) to amend the SOAR Act by 
clarifying the scope of coverage of the Act, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     3
Explanation of Amendments........................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Roll Call Votes..................................................     3
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     3
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     4
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     4
Earmark Identification...........................................     4
Committee Estimate...............................................     4
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     5

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``SOAR Technical Corrections Act''.

SEC. 2. USE OF FUNDS.

  Section 3007(a)(4)(F) of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results 
Act (Public Law 112-10; 125 Stat. 203) is amended to read as follows:
                  ``(F) ensures that participating students are taught 
                by core subject matter teachers who have a 
                baccalaureate degree or equivalent degree, whether such 
                degree was awarded in or outside of the United 
                States.''.

SEC. 3. NATIONALLY NORM-REFERENCED STANDARDIZED TESTS.

  Section 3008(h) of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act 
(Public Law 112-10; 125 Stat. 205) is amended by striking paragraph (2) 
and inserting the following:
          ``(2) Administration of tests.--The Institute of Education 
        Sciences shall administer nationally norm-referenced 
        standardized tests, as described in paragraph (3)(A) of section 
        3009(a), to students participating in the evaluation under 
        section 3009(a) for the purpose of conducting the evaluation 
        under such section, except where a student is attending a 
        participating school that is administering the same nationally 
        norm-referenced standardized test.
          ``(3) Test results.--Each participating school that 
        administers the nationally norm-referenced standardized test 
        described in paragraph (2) to an eligible student shall make 
        the test results, with respect to such student, available to 
        the Secretary as necessary for evaluation under section 
        3009(a).''.

SEC. 4. EVALUATIONS.

  Section 3009(a)(3) of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results 
Act (Public Law 112-10; 125 Stat. 206) is amended--
          (1) in subparagraph (A), by inserting before the semicolon 
        the following: ``in a manner consistent with section 3008(h)''; 
        and
          (2) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``, if requested by the 
        Institute of Education Sciences,'' after ``will participate''.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    Earlier this Congress, legislation to reauthorize and 
strengthen the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program was included 
as part of the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing 
Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-10). (See House Report 112-036 for 
details of the program.)
    As with many significant bills enacted into law, there were 
a few small and technical modifications that were needed in 
order for the program to achieve its goal. H.R. 3237, the SOAR 
Technical Corrections Act, makes those changes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    After the 2011-2012 school year began, it became clear that 
there were a few modifications that needed to be made to the 
law in order for the Opportunity Scholarship Program to be 
effective, and to ensure that unclear legislative language did 
not lead to unintended consequences upon enactment.
    The ambiguity with the law lies in three areas: (1) the 
education requirements for teachers of scholarship students; 
(2) the manner in which the nationally-norm referenced test of 
the effectiveness of the program would be administered; and (3) 
which students would participate in the study. H.R. 3237 
clarifies those three areas.
    The legislation requires all students participating in the 
program have a core subject matter teacher who has a 
baccalaureate or equivalent degree. It also mandates that the 
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) administer a nationally 
norm-referenced test as long as the school does not administer 
the same test. In addition, the language ensures that the 
student does not have to take the test twice, and that 
participating schools using that same test will make the 
results available to IES. Finally, the bill clarifies that all 
students applying for a scholarship, including those not 
offered one, agree to participate in IES evaluations, if 
requested by IES.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On October 18, 2011, Representative Trey Gowdy introduced 
H.R. 3237, the SOAR Technical Corrections Act. (See House 
Report 112-036 for details about the legislative history of the 
Opportunity Scholarship Program in general.)
    The Oversight and Government Reform Committee considered 
the bill on November 3, 2011, and reported the legislation 
favorably by a unanimous voice vote.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the ``SOAR Technical Corrections 
Act.''

Section 2. Use of funds

    In order to receive a grant, the school must ensure that 
students participating in the program are taught by core 
subject matter teachers who have a baccalaureate or equivalent 
degree.

Section 3. Nationally norm-referenced standardized tests

    The language directs the Institute of Education Sciences 
(IES) to administer a nationally norm-referenced test to the 
participating student as long as the school doesn't already 
administer the same test. This will ensure there is no 
duplication with the testing procedures. Finally, in order to 
properly evaluate the students' progress, the school shall make 
the results of the tests available to the IES.
    While maintaining their autonomy in administering their own 
tests, schools shall comply with reasonable requests from the 
Secretary in regard to the Congressionally mandated evaluation 
to maintain integrity of the evaluation.

Section 4. Evaluations

    Requires all students applying for an OSP scholarship, 
including those not offered a scholarship, agree to participate 
in IES evaluations if requested by IES.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    Rep. Issa offered an amendment which made very minor 
technical corrections to the legislation.

                        Committee Consideration

    On November 3, 2011, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 3237, as amended, by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes

    There were no roll call votes during consideration of H.R. 
3237.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill makes technical corrections to the DC Opportunity 
Scholarship Program, which was included as part of the 
Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations 
Act (P.L. 112-10). As such this bill does not relate to 
employment or access to public services and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 3237 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 3237. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 3237 from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 8, 2011.
Hon. Darrell Issa,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3237, the SOAR 
Technical Corrections Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
Humphrey.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3237--SOAR Technical Corrections Act

    H.R. 3237 would amend the Scholarships for Opportunity and 
Results Act, which provides funding to cover the costs of 
tuition, fees, and transportation for District of Columbia 
residents attending private elementary and secondary schools. 
The bill would amend the requirements for teachers and for 
testing of students at schools with scholarship recipients.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3237 would have no 
effect on discretionary spending. In addition, enacting the 
bill would have no impact on direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 3237 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Justin Humphrey. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

              SCHOLARSHIPS FOR OPPORTUNITY AND RESULTS ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
DIVISION C--SCHOLARSHIPS FOR OPPORTUNITY AND RESULTS ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 3007. USE OF FUNDS.

  (a) Opportunity Scholarships.--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (4) Participating school requirements.--None of the 
        funds provided under this division for opportunity 
        scholarships may be used by an eligible student to 
        enroll in a participating private school unless the 
        participating school--
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  [(F) ensures that each teacher of core 
                subject matter in the school has a 
                baccalaureate degree or equivalent degree, 
                whether such degree was awarded in or outside 
                of the United States.]
                  (F) ensures that participating students are 
                taught by core subject matter teachers who have 
                a baccalaureate degree or equivalent degree, 
                whether such degree was awarded in or outside 
                of the United States.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 3008. NONDISCRIMINATION AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING 
                    SCHOOLS.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (h) Nationally Norm-Referenced Standardized Tests.--
          (1) * * *
          [(2) Make-up session.--If a participating school does 
        not administer a nationally norm-referenced 
        standardized test or the Institute of Education 
        Sciences does not receive data on a student who is 
        receiving an opportunity scholarship, then the 
        Secretary (through the Institute of Education Sciences 
        of the Department of Education) shall administer such 
        test at least one time during a school year for each 
        student receiving an opportunity scholarship.]
          (2) Administration of tests.--The Institute of 
        Education Sciences shall administer nationally norm-
        referenced standardized tests, as described in 
        paragraph (3)(A) of section 3009(a), to students 
        participating in the evaluation under section 3009(a) 
        for the purpose of conducting the evaluation under such 
        section, except where a student is attending a 
        participating school that is administering the same 
        nationally norm-referenced standardized test.
          (3) Test results.--Each participating school that 
        administers the nationally norm-referenced standardized 
        test described in paragraph (2) to an eligible student 
        shall make the test results, with respect to such 
        student, available to the Secretary as necessary for 
        evaluation under section 3009(a).

SEC. 3009. EVALUATIONS.

  (a) In General.--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) Duties of the institute of education sciences.--
        The Institute of Education Sciences of the Department 
        of Education shall--
                  (A) use a grade appropriate, nationally norm-
                referenced standardized test each school year 
                to assess participating eligible students in a 
                manner consistent with section 3008(h);

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (C) work with the eligible entities to ensure 
                that the parents of each student who applies 
                for a scholarship under this division 
                (regardless of whether the student receives the 
                scholarship) and the parents of each student 
                participating in the scholarship program under 
                this division, agree that the student will 
                participate, if requested by the Institute of 
                Education Sciences, in the measurements given 
                annually by the Institute of Educational 
                Sciences for the period for which the student 
                applied for or received the scholarship, 
                respectively, except that nothing in this 
                subparagraph shall affect a student's priority 
                for an opportunity scholarship as provided 
                under section 3006.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *