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S. 2720 (pcs) Making appropriations for the Department of Transportation and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes. [Placed on Calendar Senate] ...


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                                                        Calendar No. 11
106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 271

           To provide for education flexibility partnerships.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            January 21, 1999

    Mr. Frist (for himself, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Allard, Mr. 
   Ashcroft, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Brownback, Ms. Collins, Mr. 
     Coverdell, Mr. DeWine, Mr. Gorton, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Hatch, Mrs. 
   Hutchison, Mr. Kerrey, Mr. Levin, Mr. McCain, Mr. McConnell, Mr. 
   Murkowski, Mr. Smith of Oregon, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Voinovich, Mr. 
 Nickles, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Thomas, Mrs. Lincoln, and 
  Mr. Breaux) introduced the following bill; which was read the first 
                                  time

                            January 22, 1999

            Read the second time and placed on the calendar

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
           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 1 
        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 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, 
        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.--
        The terms ``local educational agency'' and ``State educational 
        agency'' have the meaning given such terms in section 14101 of 
        the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
            (2) Outlying areas.--The term ``outlying areas'' means 
        Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of 
        Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated 
        States of Micronesia.
            (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 of the outlying areas.

SEC. 4. EDUCATION FLEXIBILITY PARTNERSHIP.

    (a) Education Flexibility Program.--
            (1) Program authorized.--
                    (A) In general.--The Secretary may carry out an 
                education flexibility program under which the Secretary 
                authorizes a State educational agency that serves an 
                eligible State to waive statutory or regulatory 
                requirements applicable to 1 or more programs or Acts 
                described in subsection (b), other than requirements 
                described in subsection (c), for the State educational 
                agency or 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 subsection the 
        term ``eligible State'' means a State that--
                    (A)(i) 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, including the 
                        requirements of that section relating to 
                        disaggregation of data, and for which local 
                        educational agencies in the State are producing 
                        the individual school performance profiles 
                        required by section 1116(a) of such Act; or
                            (II) made substantial progress, as 
                        determined by the Secretary, toward developing 
                        and implementing the standards and assessments, 
                        and toward having local educational agencies in 
                        the State produce the profiles, described in 
                        subclause (I); and
                    (ii) holds local educational agencies and schools 
                accountable for meeting the educational goals described 
                in the local applications submitted under paragraph 
                (4), and for taking corrective actions, consistent with 
                section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
                Act of 1965, for the local educational agencies that do 
                not meet the goals; and
                    (B) 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 education 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; and
                            (ii) a detailed description of the State 
                        statutory and regulatory requirements relating 
                        to education that the State educational agency 
                        will waive.
                    (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 such State in carrying out 
                comprehensive educational reform, after considering--
                            (i) the comprehensiveness and quality of 
                        the educational flexibility plan described in 
                        subparagraph (A);
                            (ii) the ability of such plan to ensure 
                        accountability for the activities and goals 
                        described in such plan;
                            (iii) the significance of the State 
                        statutory or regulatory requirements relating 
                        to education that will be waived; and
                            (iv) 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 the 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
                            (iv) explain why the waiver will assist the 
                        local educational agency or school in reaching 
                        such goals.
                    (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; and
                            (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.
            (5) Monitoring.--Each State educational agency 
        participating in the program under this section shall annually 
        monitor the activities of local educational agencies and 
        schools receiving waivers under this section and shall submit 
        an annual report regarding such monitoring to the Secretary.
            (6) Duration of federal waivers.--
                    (A) In general.--The Secretary shall not approve 
                the application of a State educational agency under 
                paragraph (3) for a period exceeding 5 years, except 
                that the Secretary may extend such period if the 
                Secretary determines that such agency's authority to 
                grant waivers has been effective in enabling such State 
                or affected local educational agencies or schools to 
                carry out their local reform plans.
                    (B) Performance review.--The Secretary shall 
                periodically review the performance of any State 
educational agency granting waivers of Federal statutory or regulatory 
requirements as described in paragraph (1)(A) and shall terminate such 
agency's authority to grant such waivers if the Secretary determines, 
after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such agency's 
performance has been inadequate to justify continuation of such 
authority.
            (7) Authority to issue waivers.--Notwithstanding any other 
        provision of law, the Secretary is authorized to carry out the 
        education flexibility program under this subsection for each of 
        the fiscal years 2000 through 2004.
    (b) Included Programs.--The statutory or regulatory requirements 
referred to in subsection (a)(1)(A) are any such requirements under the 
following programs or Acts:
            (1) Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
        of 1965.
            (2) Part A of title II of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965.
            (3) Subpart 2 of part A of title III of the Elementary and 
        Secondary Education Act of 1965 (other than section 3136 of 
        such Act).
            (4) Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
        of 1965.
            (5) Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
        of 1965.
            (6) Part C of title VII of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965.
            (7) The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education 
        Act of 1998.
    (c) Waivers Not Authorized.--The Secretary may not waive any 
statutory or regulatory requirement of the programs or Acts authorized 
to be waived under subsection (a)(1)(A)--
            (1) relating to--
                    (A) maintenance of effort;
                    (B) comparability of services;
                    (C) the equitable participation of students and 
                professional staff in private schools;
                    (D) parental participation and involvement;
                    (E) the distribution of funds to States or to local 
                educational agencies;
                    (F) use of Federal funds to supplement, not 
                supplant, non-Federal funds; and

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