H.R. 3289 (110th): PRE-K Act

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Aug 01, 2007 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

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110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3289

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 1, 2007

(for herself, Mr. George Miller of California, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Tierney, and Mrs. Davis of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve early education.

1.

Early education

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended by adding at the end the following:

X

Early Education

10001.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act of 2007 or the PRE–K Act.

10002.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Children’s experiences in the first five years of life influence the developing brain and have significant and lasting impact.

(2)

All children deserve access to high quality early learning experiences that can support their cognitive, social, and emotional development and help prepare them to succeed in school and in life.

(3)

Research shows that high quality early education programs can improve early reading and early math skills, decrease grade retention, decrease the need for special education services, and increase the likelihood that children will graduate from high school and become productive members of society.

(4)

The economic benefits of early education experiences are clear and providing parents greater access to high-quality early learning programs will benefit children, families, and our Nation.

(5)

High quality early education programs have well-trained and well-compensated teachers, small class sizes, a full-day program, comprehensive services, family participation, and a research-based curriculum that aligns with strong early learning standards. The quality of State early education programs varies significantly across the country.

(6)

While nearly three-quarters of three- through five-year-olds not in kindergarten spend time in nonparental care each week, research suggests that most are not in high quality settings that meet the full range of their developmental needs.

(7)

A Federal partnership with States—

(A)

will help increase access to voluntary high quality preschool programs;

(B)

is a necessary step to improving the Nation’s elementary and secondary schools and helping States close the achievement gap and improve graduation rates; and

(C)

should be a national priority.

10003.

Early education grants

(a)

Program established

Each fiscal year, from amounts made available to carry out this title, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall make grants to States to enhance or improve State-funded preschool programs, as defined by the State.

(b)

Allotment

(1)

Determination

After making the reservation described under subsection (c), from funds appropriated under section 10011, the Secretary shall make a base allotment to each State that has submitted an approved application and is either—

(A)

a qualified State (as defined in section 10004(a)); or

(B)

a selected State (as designated under section 10004(b)).

(2)

Amount

The amount of the base allotment described under paragraph (1) for each State shall be based on the number of children up to age 5 from families with incomes below the poverty line for each State, compared to the number of such children from all States, except that no State shall have a base allotment less than .25 percent of the amounts appropriated under this title.

(3)

Basis for the base allotment

The Secretary shall determine the amount of the base allotment determined under paragraph (2) as if every State was to receive a base allotment.

(4)

Remainder

In any fiscal year for which not every State is to receive a base allotment, the Secretary shall reallot any funds remaining after the determination of a base allotment under paragraph (2) to each State that has submitted an approved application and is a qualified State. Such remaining funds shall be realloted among such qualified States and shall be determined by comparing the number of children up to age 5 from families with incomes below the poverty line for each such qualified State to such number for all such qualified States.

(c)

Reservation

Prior to making any allotments under subsection (b), the Secretary shall reserve 2.5 percent for the purpose of making grants to Indian tribes and tribal organizations as described in section 10010.

10004.

State eligibility

(a)

Qualified States

(1)

In general

For purposes of this title, the term qualified State means a State that meets each of the following criteria:

(A)

Carries out a State-funded preschool program that requires, at a minimum, that such programs:

(i)

Use research-based curricula that are aligned with State early learning standards that are developmentally appropriate and include, at a minimum, each of the following domains:

(I)

Language development.

(II)

Literacy.

(III)

Mathematics.

(IV)

Science.

(V)

Creative arts.

(VI)

Social and emotional development.

(VII)

Approaches to learning.

(VIII)

Physical and health development.

(ii)

Follow nationally established best practices for group size and teacher-to-student ratios, appropriate to the age group being served.

(iii)

Require that each teacher holds an associate degree, or higher, in early childhood education or a related field.

(B)

The State must have a plan for moving toward a requirement for State-funded preschool programs that each teacher holds a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education within 5 years after the State first receives a grant under this title.

(C)

The State must, at a minimum, ensure that the average per-child expenditures by the State and its political subdivisions to support State-funded preschool programs for the fiscal year for which the grant is made is equal to, or greater than, such per-child expenditures for the previous fiscal year.

(D)

The State must, at a minimum, ensure that the total expenditures by the State and its political subdivisions to support State-funded preschool programs for the fiscal year for which the grant is made is equal to, or greater than, such expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.

(E)

The State must, at a minimum, ensure that the total expenditures by the State and its political subdivisions to support State-funded child care services and activities for the fiscal year for which the grant is made is equal to, or greater than, such expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.

(b)

Selected States

(1)

In general

Each fiscal year, the Secretary shall carry out, on a competitive basis, a process for the designation of States as selected States for purposes of this title. Under the process, the Secretary shall determine whether to designate any States and, if so, shall determine the States that are to be designated.

(2)

Basis for determinations

The determinations required by paragraph (1) shall be based on the State meeting the requirements of subparagraphs (C) through (E) of subsection (a)(1), and on the quality of the applications submitted and the extent to which the State demonstrates that the State, if designated, will become a qualified State within 2 fiscal years.

(3)

Period of designation

A designation under this subsection shall apply to a State for two fiscal years. However, if a State is both a qualified State and a selected State for a fiscal year, it shall be treated for purposes of this title as a qualified State rather than a selected State.

10005.

Applications

(a)

In general

A State desiring to receive funds under this title shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may reasonably require.

(b)

Required contents

The application referred to in subsection (a) shall include, at a minimum, the following contents:

(1)

If the State desires to be treated as a qualified State, information sufficient for the Secretary to determine whether the State is a qualified State.

(2)

If the State desires to be designated as a selected State—

(A)

assurances that the State, if designated as a selected State, will become a qualified State within two fiscal years;

(B)

information sufficient for the Secretary to determine whether the State meets the requirements of subparagraphs (C) through (E) of section 10004(a)(1); and

(C)

information relating to any competitive criteria that the Secretary may establish.

(3)

A description of how the funds received under this title will be used to enhance or improve preschool programs in the State.

(4)

A description of how the State is working to build its capacity to serve more children in high quality early education programs, including the building of new facilities, as appropriate.

(5)

A description of how the State will ensure that any funds made available to preschool providers are made available to a range of types of preschool providers, including local educational agencies and community based providers such as child care and Head Start, as appropriate.

(6)

Assurances that amounts received by the State under this title will be used only to supplement, and not to supplant, Federal, State, and local funds otherwise available to support existing early childhood services and activities.

(7)

A description of how the State will evaluate the effectiveness of the use of these funds.

(8)

A description of how the State will use the funds to better meet the needs of working parents.

(9)

A description of how the use of funds will help meet the developmental needs of children in the State.

(10)

A description of how the State will ensure that State-funded preschool programs are available to and appropriate for children with disabilities.

(11)

A description of how the State-funded preschool programs will be culturally and linguistically appropriate and how the State plans to meet the early education needs of children with limited English proficiency.

(12)

A description of how the State agency designated under subsection (c) will coordinate with other State agencies delivering early childhood development programs or services.

(13)

A description of how the State-funded preschool programs will ensure a smooth and successful transition to kindergarten.

(14)

A description of how the State monitoring process will effectively assess and ensure program quality of State-funded preschool programs.

(15)

A description of how the State will coordinate this grant with the efforts of the State early learning council or other State entity that is coordinating a system of early childhood development and education birth to kindergarten.

(16)

A description of how the State-funded preschool programs prioritize children from low-income families.

(c)

State agency

The application shall designate a State agency to administer and oversee those funds and the activities carried out under this title.

10006.

Use of funds

(a)

In general

A State that receives funds under this title shall use such funds for any one or more of the following:

(1)

To increase the number of teachers and program directors in State-funded preschool programs who hold a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education, or in a related field if specialized training in early childhood education has also been completed.

(2)

To increase the number of teacher aides in State-funded preschool programs who hold an associate degree in early childhood education, or in a related field if specialized training in early childhood education has also been completed.

(3)

To increase the compensation or benefits provided to teachers, program directors, and teacher aides in State-funded preschool programs in order to improve the ability of those programs to recruit and retain such teachers, program directors, and teacher aides.

(4)

To decrease group size in classrooms in State-funded preschool programs.

(5)

To improve the teacher-to-student ratios in classrooms in State-funded preschool programs.

(6)

To provide, in State-funded preschool programs, one or more of the following comprehensive services that support healthy child development and positive child outcomes:

(A)

Vision and hearing screenings and referrals.

(B)

Health and mental health screenings and referrals.

(C)

Parent involvement opportunities.

(D)

Nutrition services.

(7)

To extend the number of hours per day of program operation of State-funded preschool programs.

(8)

To extend the number of weeks per year of program operation of State-funded preschool programs.

(9)

To improve the State’s system for monitoring the quality of State-funded preschool programs.

(10)

To provide opportunities for intensive and on-going research- and evidence-based professional development in the domains described in section 10004(a)(1)(A)(i).

(11)

To renovate existing facilities, except that such renovation must be limited to minor rehabilitation or remodeling needed to ensure that State-funded preschool program facilities are age- and developmentally-appropriate.

(12)

To use up to 10 percent of the funds received by the State under this title to improve the early learning environments for children from birth to age three through research- and evidence-based methods.

(b)

Rule of construction

Funds provided under this title shall be used only to improve or enhance services that are required in a State-funded preschool program. Nothing in this title shall be construed such that a State may use these funds only for existing State-funded preschool programs.

(c)

Special rule

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding subsection (a), a qualified State that receives funds under this title may use up to 50 percent of those funds for the purposes of expanding a State-funded preschool program, with priority for such expansion to communities with high concentrations of low-income children, that meets or exceeds the criteria in section 10004(a) if—

(A)

the amount appropriated under section 10011 is at least $250,000,000; or

(B)

the State-funded preschool program meets or exceeds the following criteria:

(i)

Require the standards described in clauses (i) and (ii) of section 10004(a)(1)(A).

(ii)

Require that each teacher holds a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education or a related field if specialized training in early childhood education has also been completed.

(iii)

Require that each program provides full-day services at all locations.

(iv)

Require that each program provides comprehensive services to at-risk children participating in the State-funded preschool program.

(v)

Require that each teacher participates in on-going professional development in child development and learning.

(2)

State definition and applicability

For the purpose of establishing a priority for expansion under paragraph (1), the State shall define what constitutes a high concentration of low-income children. In any State described in paragraph (1) in which all communities with high concentrations of low-income children are served by a State-funded preschool program, the priority for expansion described in such paragraph shall not apply.

10007.

Matching requirements

The Secretary shall not make a grant to a State under this title unless the State agrees to the following:

(1)

Qualified State

In the case of a qualified State, the State will make available non-Federal contributions in an amount equal to not less than 50 percent of that portion of the Federal funds provided under the grant that represent the base allotment under section 10003(b)(2).

(2)

Selected State

In the case of a selected State, the State will make available non-Federal contributions for State-funded preschool programs in an amount that exceeds, by at least 30 percent, the amount of non-Federal contributions that the State made available for State-funded preschool programs for the most recent fiscal year for which it was not a selected State.

10008.

Reporting requirements

Each State receiving funds under this title shall report annually to the Secretary on the activities carried out under this title, including data on how the funds improved the quality of State-funded preschool programs.

10009.

Special rule

Funds under this title may not be used for the purposes of assessments that provide rewards or sanctions for individual children or teachers.

10010.

Applications for Indian tribes

The Secretary shall award competitive grants to Indian tribes and tribal organizations to carry out a program under this title. An Indian tribe or tribal organization desiring to receive funds under this title shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may reasonably require.

10011.

Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $1,000,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2013.

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