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[[Page 113 STAT. 41]]

Public Law 106-25
106th Congress

                                 An Act


 
    To provide for education <<NOTE: Apr. 29, 1999 -  [H.R. 800]>>  
                        flexibility partnerships.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Education Flexibility 
Partnership Act of 1999. Inter- governmental relations.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. <<NOTE: 20 USC 5801 note.>> 

    This Act may be cited as the ``Education Flexibility Partnership Act 
of 1999''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. <<NOTE: 20 USC 5891b note.>> 

    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

[[Page 113 STAT. 42]]

        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. <<NOTE: 20 USC 5891a.>> 

    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. <<NOTE: 20 USC 5891b.>> 

    (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

[[Page 113 STAT. 43]]

                      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)

[[Page 113 STAT. 44]]

                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

[[Page 113 STAT. 45]]

                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 

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