Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 800 (ih) To provide for education flexibility partnerships. [Introduced in House] ...

H.R. 800 (ih) To provide for education flexibility partnerships. [Introduced in House] ...


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        H.R.800

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE FIRST SESSION

         Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,
   the sixth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine


                                 An Act


 
           To provide for education flexibility partnerships.

    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 ``Education Flexibility Partnership 
Act of 1999''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
        (1) States differ substantially in demographics, in school 
    governance, and in school finance and funding. The administrative 
    and funding mechanisms that help schools in one State improve may 
    not prove successful in other States.
        (2) Although the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 
    and other Federal education statutes afford flexibility to State 
    educational agencies and local educational agencies in implementing 
    Federal programs, certain requirements of Federal education 
    statutes or regulations may impede local efforts to reform and 
    improve education.
        (3) By granting waivers of certain statutory and regulatory 
    requirements, the Federal Government can remove impediments for 
    local educational agencies in implementing 
    educational reforms and raising the achievement levels of all 
    children.
        (4) State educational agencies are closer to local school 
    systems, implement statewide educational reforms with both Federal 
    and State funds, and are responsible for maintaining accountability 
    for local activities consistent with State standards and assessment 
    systems. Therefore, State educational agencies are often in the 
    best position to align waivers of Federal and State requirements 
    with State and local initiatives.
        (5) The Education Flexibility Partnership Demonstration Act 
    allows State educational agencies the flexibility to waive certain 
    Federal requirements, along with related State requirements, but 
    allows only 12 States to qualify for such waivers.
        (6) Expansion of waiver authority will allow for the waiver of 
    statutory and regulatory requirements that impede implementation of 
    State and local educational improvement plans, or that 
    unnecessarily burden program administration, while maintaining the 
    intent and purposes of affected programs, such as the important 
    focus on improving mathematics and science performance under title 
    II of the Elementary and 
    Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional 
    Development Program), and maintaining such fundamental requirements 
    as those relating to civil rights, educational equity, and 
    accountability.
        (7) To achieve the State goals for the education of children in 
    the State, the focus must be on results in raising the achievement 
    of all students, not process.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
        (1) Local educational agency; state educational agency; 
    outlying area.--The terms ``local educational agency'', ``State 
    educational agency'', and ``outlying area'' have the meanings given 
    the terms in section 14101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
    Education Act of 1965.
        (2) Eligible school attendance area; school attendance area.--
    The terms ``eligible school attendance area'' and ``school 
    attendance area'' have the meanings given the terms in section 
    1113(a)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
        (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
    Education.
        (4) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the 50 States, the 
    District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each 
    outlying area.

SEC. 4. EDUCATION FLEXIBILITY PARTNERSHIP.

    (a) Educational Flexibility Program.--
        (1) Program authorized.--
            (A) In general.--The Secretary may carry out an 
        educational flexibility program under which the Secretary 
        authorizes a State educational agency that serves an eligible 
        State to waive statutory or regulatory requirements applicable 
        to one or more programs described in subsection (b), other than 
        requirements described in subsection (c), for any local 
        educational agency or school within the State.
            (B) Designation.--Each eligible State participating in the 
        program described in subparagraph (A) shall be known as an 
        ``Ed-Flex Partnership State''.
        (2) Eligible state.--For the purpose of this section the term 
    ``eligible State'' means a State that--
            (A) has--
                (i) developed and implemented the challenging State 
            content standards, challenging State student performance 
            standards, and aligned assessments described in section 
            1111(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
            1965, and for which local educational agencies in the State 
            are producing the individual school performance profiles 
            required by section 1116(a)(3) of such Act; or
                (ii)(I) developed and implemented the content standards 
            described in clause (i);
                (II) developed and implemented interim assessments; and
                (III) made substantial progress (as determined by the 
            Secretary) toward developing and implementing the 
            performance standards and final aligned assessments 
            described in clause (i), and toward having local 
            educational agencies in the State produce the profiles 
            described in clause (i);
            (B) holds local educational agencies and schools 
        accountable for meeting the educational goals described in the 
        local applications submitted under paragraph (4) and for 
        engaging in technical assistance and corrective actions 
        consistent with section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965, for the local educational agencies and 
        schools that do not make adequate yearly progress as described 
        in section 1111(b)(2) of such Act; and
            (C) waives State statutory or regulatory requirements 
        relating to education while holding local educational agencies 
        or schools within the State that are affected by such waivers 
        accountable for the performance of the students who are 
        affected by such waivers.
        (3) State application.--
            (A) In general.--Each State educational agency desiring to 
        participate in the educational flexibility program under this 
        section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such 
        time, in such manner, and containing such information as the 
        Secretary may reasonably require. Each such application shall 
        demonstrate that the eligible State has adopted an educational 
        flexibility plan for the State that includes--
                (i) a description of the process the State educational 
            agency will use to evaluate applications from local 
            educational agencies or schools requesting waivers of--

                    (I) Federal statutory or regulatory requirements as 
                described in paragraph (1)(A); and
                    (II) State statutory or regulatory requirements 
                relating to education;

                (ii) a detailed description of the State statutory and 
            regulatory requirements relating to education that the 
            State educational agency will waive;
                (iii) a description of clear educational objectives the 
            State intends to meet under the educational flexibility 
            plan;
                (iv) a description of how the educational flexibility 
            plan is consistent with and will assist in implementing the 
            State comprehensive reform plan or, if a State does not 
            have a comprehensive reform plan, a description of how the 
            educational flexibility plan is coordinated with activities 
            described in section 1111(b) of the Elementary and 
            Secondary Education Act of 1965;
                (v) a description of how the State educational agency 
            will evaluate, (consistent with the requirements of title I 
            of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965), the 
            performance of students in the schools and local 
            educational agencies affected by the waivers; and
                (vi) a description of how the State educational agency 
            will meet the requirements of paragraph (8).
            (B) Approval and considerations.--The Secretary may approve 
        an application described in subparagraph (A) only if the 
        Secretary determines that such application demonstrates 
        substantial promise of assisting the State educational agency 
        and affected local educational agencies and schools within the 
        State in carrying out comprehensive educational reform, after 
        considering--
                (i) the eligibility of the State as described in 
            paragraph (2);
                (ii) the comprehensiveness and quality of the 
            educational flexibility plan described in subparagraph (A);
                (iii) the ability of the educational flexibility plan 
            to ensure accountability for the activities and goals 
            described in such plan;
                (iv) the degree to which the State's objectives 
            described in subparagraph (A)(iii)--

                    (I) are clear and have the ability to be assessed; 
                and
                    (II) take into account the performance of local 
                educational agencies or schools, and students, 
                particularly those affected by waivers;

                (v) the significance of the State statutory or 
            regulatory requirements relating to education that will be 
            waived; and
                (vi) the quality of the State educational agency's 
            process for approving applications for waivers of Federal 
            statutory or regulatory requirements as described in 
            paragraph (1)(A) and for monitoring and evaluating the 
            results of such waivers.
        (4) Local application.--
            (A) In general.--Each local educational agency or school 
        requesting a waiver of a Federal statutory or regulatory 
        requirement as described in paragraph (1)(A) and any relevant 
        State statutory or regulatory requirement from a State 
        educational agency shall submit an application to the State 
        educational agency at such time, in such manner, and containing 
        such information as the State educational agency may reasonably 
        require. Each such application shall--
                (i) indicate each Federal program affected and each 
            statutory or regulatory requirement that will be waived;
                (ii) describe the purposes and overall expected results 
            of waiving each such requirement;
                (iii) describe, for each school year, specific, 
            measurable, educational goals for each local educational 
            agency or school affected by the proposed waiver, and for 
            the students served by the local educational agency or 
            school who are affected by the waiver;
                (iv) explain why the waiver will assist the local 
            educational agency or school in reaching such goals; and
                (v) in the case of an application from a local 
            educational agency, describe how the local educational 
            agency will meet the requirements of paragraph (8).
            (B) Evaluation of applications.--A State 
        educational agency shall evaluate an application submitted 
        under subparagraph (A) in accordance with the State's 
        educational flexibility plan described in paragraph (3)(A).
            (C) Approval.--A State educational agency shall not approve 
        an application for a waiver under this paragraph unless--
                (i) the local educational agency or school requesting 
            such waiver has developed a local reform plan that is 
            applicable to such agency or school, respectively;
                (ii) the waiver of Federal statutory or regulatory 
            requirements as described in paragraph (1)(A) will assist 
            the local educational agency or school in reaching its 
            educational goals, particularly goals with respect to 
            school and student performance; and
                (iii) the State educational agency is satisfied that 
            the underlying purposes of the statutory requirements of 
            each program for which a waiver is granted will continue to 
            be met.
            (D) Termination.--The State educational agency shall 
        annually review the performance of any local educational agency 
        or school granted a waiver of Federal statutory or regulatory 
        requirements as described in paragraph (1)(A) in accordance 
        with the evaluation requirement described in paragraph 
        (3)(A)(v), and shall terminate any waiver granted to the local 
        educational agency or school if the State educational agency 
        determines, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that 
        the local educational agency or school's performance with 
        respect to meeting the accountability requirement described in 
        paragraph (2)(C) and the goals described in paragraph 
        (4)(A)(iii)--
                (i) has been inadequate to justify continuation of such 
            waiver; or
                (ii) has decreased for two consecutive years, unless 
            the State educational agency determines that the decrease 
            in performance was justified due to exceptional or 
            uncontrollable circumstances.
        (5) Oversight and reporting.--
            (A) Oversight.--Each State educational agency participating 
        in the educational flexibility program under this section shall 
        annually monitor the activities of local educational agencies 
        and schools receiving waivers under this section.
            (B) State reports.--
                (i) Annual reports.--The State educational agency shall 
            submit to the Secretary an annual report on the results of 
            such oversight and the impact of the waivers on school and 
            student performance.
                (ii) Performance data.--Not later than 2 years after 
            the date a State is designated an Ed-Flex Partnership 
            State, each such State shall include, as part of the 
            State's annual report submitted under clause (i), data 
            demonstrating the degree to which progress has been made 
            toward meeting the State's educational objectives. The 
            data, when applicable, shall include--

                    (I) information on the total number of waivers 
                granted for Federal and State statutory and regulatory 
                requirements under this section, including the number 
                of waivers granted for each type of waiver;
                    (II) information describing the effect of the 
                waivers on the implementation of State and local 
                educational reforms pertaining to school and student 
                performance;
                    (III) information describing the relationship of 
                the waivers to the performance of schools and students 
                affected by the waivers; and
                    (IV) an assurance from State program managers that 
                the data reported under this section are reliable, 
                complete, and accurate, as defined by the State, or a 
                description of a plan for improving the reliability, 
                completeness, and accuracy of such data as defined by 
                the State.

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