S. 271 (106th): Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999

106th Congress, 1999–2000. Text as of Jan 22, 1999 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

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S 271 PCS

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

        (G) applicable civil rights requirements; and

      (2) unless the underlying purposes of the statutory requirements of each program or Act for which a waiver is granted continue to be met to the satisfaction of the Secretary.

    (d) CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the authority of a State educational agency that has been granted waiver authority under the following provisions of law:

      (1) Section 311(e) of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.

      (2) The proviso referring to such section 311(e) under the heading ‘education reform’ in the Department of Education Appropriations Act, 1996 (Public Law 104-134; 110 Stat. 1321-229).

    (e) ACCOUNTABILITY- In deciding whether to extend a request for a State educational agency’s authority to issue waivers under this section, the Secretary shall review the progress of the State education agency, local educational agency, or school affected by such waiver or authority to determine if such agency or school has made progress toward achieving the desired results described in the application submitted pursuant to subsection (e)(4)(A)(ii).

    (f) PUBLICATION- A notice of the Secretary’s decision to authorize State educational agencies to issue waivers under this section shall be published in the Federal Register and the Secretary shall provide for the dissemination of such notice to State educational agencies, interested parties, including educators, parents, students, advocacy and civil rights organizations, other interested parties, and the public.

Calendar No. 11

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 271

A BILL

To provide for education flexibility partnerships.


January 22, 1999

Read the second time and placed on the calendar