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H.R. 3406 (110th): Success in the Middle Act of 2007


The text of the bill below is as of Aug 3, 2007 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3406

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 3, 2007

(for himself, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Hare, Mr. Hinojosa, Mr. Gene Green of Texas, Mr. Yarmuth, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Filner, Ms. Solis, Mr. Holt, and Mrs. McCarthy of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To provide grants to States to ensure that all students exit the middle grades prepared for success in a high school with an academically rigorous curriculum that prepares students for postsecondary education and the workplace.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Success in the Middle Act of 2007.

2.

Findings

(1)

Students in grades 5 through 8 represent 58 percent (approximately 15 million) of the Nation’s annual test-takers under the amendments made by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

(2)

According to the 2005 National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than one-third of the students in 8th grade can read and write with proficiency; in mathematics, only 30 percent of students in 8th grade perform at the proficient level, and nearly one-third score below the basic level.

(3)

According to the 2005 NAEP, only 6 percent of students with disabilities in 8th grade scored at or above proficiency in reading as compared with 31 percent for non-disabled students.

(4)

Results from ACT's EXPLORE assessment reflect that only 11 percent of 8th grade students are on track to succeed in first-year college English, algebra, biology and social science courses.

(5)

96 percent of 8th grade English language learners scored below the proficient level of the reading portion of the 2005 NAEP.

(6)

Sixth-grade students who do not attend school regularly, who receive poor behavior marks, or who fail mathematics or English have no more than a 10 percent chance of graduating high school on time and a 20 percent chance of graduating one year late.

(7)

If funds provided under title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 were distributed on the basis of student populations, middle schools (representing 23 percent of the Nation’s student population) would receive approximately $2.92 billion of the current title I allocation. Yet, of the $12.7 billion appropriated in FY 2005 for title I, only $1.27 billion (10 percent) is allocated to middle schools by the States.

(8)

Middle school students are optimistic about their future with 93 percent believing that there is no chance that they will drop out of high school and 92 percent say that it is likely that they will attend college. Yet about one-third of students who enter high school do not graduate with their peers, and another third graduate but do not have the knowledge and skills to succeed in college.

(9)

68 percent of middle school students indicate that they have little or no information about how to choose high school classes that will prepare them for college.

(10)

Research reflects that the middle school period is an important time for early postsecondary planning.

(11)

Research also associates the middle school years with declines in motivation, self-perception, and academic achievement.

(12)

Transitions from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school are often complicated by poor vertical curriculum alignment, inadequate counseling services to help students make decisions about course work and co-curricular activities, and unsatisfactory sharing of student performance data between schools.

(13)

To stem a dropout rate twice that of students without disabilities, students with disabilities in the critical middle grades must receive appropriate academic accommodations and access to assistive technology, high risk behaviors such as absenteeism and course failure must be monitored, and problem-solving skills with broad application must be taught.

I

Middle school improvement

101.

Formula grants to state educational agencies for middle school improvement

(a)

In general

From amounts appropriated under section 106, the Secretary shall make grants under this title to each State educational agency for which the Secretary has approved an application under subsection (f). The amount of grant to each such State educational agency for each fiscal year shall equal the allotment for such agency determined under subsection (c) for such year.

(b)

Reservations

From the total amount made available to carry out this title for a fiscal year, the Secretary—

(1)

shall reserve 1 percent to evaluate the effectiveness of this title in achieving its purposes, including hiring an outside evaluator and ensuring that results are peer-reviewed and widely disseminated; and

(2)

shall reserve 5 percent for technical assistance and dissemination of best practice in middle grades education to States and local educational agencies.

(c)

Amount of state allotments

(1)

In general

Of the total amount available for allotments to carry out this title for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot such amount among the States in proportion to the number of children, aged 5 to 17, who reside within each State and are from families with incomes below the poverty line for the most recent fiscal year for which satisfactory data are available (determined in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1124(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965).

(2)

Minimum allotments

No State educational agency shall receive an allotment under this subsection that is less than $20,000,000.

(d)

Matching requirement

(1)

In general

To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a State educational agency shall provide non-Federal matching funds equal to not less than 25 percent of the amount of the grant.

(2)

In-kind contributions

In-kind contributions may be used to meet the requirement of paragraph (1) but only to the extent of 10 percent of the amount of the grant.

(e)

Reallotment

(1)

Failure to apply; application not approved

If any State does not apply for an allotment under this title for a fiscal year or if the State educational agency's application is not approved, the Secretary shall reallot the amount of the State's allotment to the remaining States in accordance with this section.

(2)

Unused funds

The Secretary may reallot any amount of an allotment to a State if the Secretary determines that the State will be unable to use such amount within 2 years of such allotment. Such reallotments shall be made on the same basis as allotments are made under subsection (c).

(f)

Application

In order to receive a grant under this title, a State educational agency shall submit an application to the Secretary (at such time and in such form as the Secretary may require) which includes—

(1)

the State middle school improvement plan described in section 102(a)(2), and

(2)

such other information as the Secretary may reasonably require.

102.

State plan; authorized activities

(a)

Mandatory activities

(1)

In general

Grants awarded under this title to a State educational agency shall be used—

(A)

to carry out the middle school improvement plan described in paragraph (3) of such agency, and

(B)

to make subgrants to local educational agencies under section 103.

(2)

Funds for subgrants

At least 80 percent of the grant funds awarded under this title to a State educational agency shall be used to make subgrants to local educational agencies under section 103.

(3)

Middle school improvement plan

The middle school improvement plan of a State educational agency shall be a statewide plan to improve student achievement that describes what students are required to know and do to successfully complete the middle grades and make the transition to succeed in an academically rigorous high school that prepares students for postsecondary education and the workplace. The plan shall also describe how the State educational agency will do the following:

(A)

Ensure that the curricula and assessments for middle grades education are aligned with high school curricula and assessments and prepare students to take challenging high school courses and successfully engage in postsecondary education.

(B)

Provide professional development to school leaders, teachers and other school personnel in addressing the needs of diverse learners, including students with disabilities and English language learners, and in using challenging and relevant research-based best practices and curriculum, and using data to inform instruction.

(C)

Identify and disseminate information on effective schools and instructional strategies for middle grade learners based on high-quality research.

(D)

Include specific provisions for students most at-risk of failure, including English language learners and students with disabilities.

(E)

Develop and implement early warning data systems (as defined in section 103(i)) to alert schools when students begin to exhibit outcomes which indicate the student is at increased risk for low achievement or falling off the path to high school graduation and develop and implement a system of evidence based interventions that schools can use to effectively intervene.

(b)

Permissible activities

(1)

In general

Grants awarded under this title to a State educational agency may be used to make competitive grants to eligible entities to carry out the following activities:

(A)

Develop and encourage collaborations among researchers at institutions of higher education, State educational agencies, educational service agencies (as defined in section 9101(17) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965), local educational agencies, and nonprofit organizations to expand the use of effective practices in the middle grades and to improve middle grade education.

(B)

Support local educational agencies in implementing proven middle grade practices, models and programs that are evidence-based and demonstrate improved student achievement.

(C)

Create and sustain networks to disseminate high-quality research that relates to middle grade education best practices.

(2)

Eligible entity

For purposes of paragraph (1), the term eligible entity means any partnership that includes at least 1 local educational agency. Such a partnership may include an institution of higher education, an education service agency, and any non-profit organization with demonstrated expertise in high quality middle level interventions.

103.

Competitive subgrants to local educational agencies to improve low-performing middle grades

(a)

In general

A State educational agency receiving a grant under this title shall make competitive subgrants to eligible local educational agencies.

(b)

Priorities

In making subgrants under this section, a State educational agency shall give priority to eligible local educational agencies based on—

(1)

their respective populations of children described in section 101(c), and

(2)

their respective populations of children attending eligible schools.

(c)

Matching requirement

(1)

In general

To be eligible to receive a subgrant under this section, an eligible local educational agency shall provide non-Federal matching funds equal to not less than 15 percent of the amount of the subgrant.

(2)

In-kind contributions

In-kind contributions may be used to meet the requirement of paragraph (1) but only to the extent of 10 percent of the amount of the subgrant.

(d)

Application

In order to receive a subgrant under this section, an eligible local educational agency shall submit an application to the State educational agency (at such time and in such form as the State educational agency may require) which includes—

(1)

the comprehensive schoolwide improvement plan described in subsection (e) for each eligible school, and

(2)

such other information as such agency may reasonably require.

(e)

Comprehensive schoolwide improvement plan

The comprehensive local middle school improvement plan of an eligible local educational agency shall include the information described in subsection (b) and describe how the agency will—

(1)

identify eligible schools;

(2)

ensure that funds go to the highest priority eligible schools first;

(3)

use funds to improve the achievement of all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities, in eligible schools and middle grades;

(4)

implement an early warning data system and appropriate interventions;

(5)

increase academic rigor and foster student engagement to ensure students are entering high school prepared for success in the workplace and in a rigorous college-ready curriculum, including a description of how such readiness will be measured; and

(6)

implement a systemic transition plan for all students and encourage collaboration between elementary, middle, and high schools.

(f)

Mandatory uses of funds

Subgrants awarded under this section shall be used by eligible local educational agencies to develop and implement comprehensive, schoolwide improvement plan in eligible schools that include the following:

(1)

Align curricula between elementary grades, middle grades, and high schools and across all grade levels within those schools.

(2)

Implement evidence-based instructional strategies and learning environments that meet the needs of all students and ensure that school leaders and teachers receive professional development on using these strategies.

(3)

Develop and use an effective formative assessment to inform instruction.

(4)

Implement organizational practices and school schedules which allow for collaborative leadership, effective teacher teaming, and parent and community involvement.

(5)

Create a more personalized and engaging learning environment for middle grade students by developing a personal academic plan for each student and assigning at least one adult to help monitor student progress.

(6)

Provide all students with information and assistance about the requirements for high school graduation, college admission, and career success.

(7)

Utilize data from an early warning data system and guidance resources to identify struggling students and assist them as they transition from elementary grade to middle grades and from middle grades to high school.

(8)

Implement academic supports and effective and coordinated extra help programs to ensure that students have a strong foundation in reading, writing, mathematics, and science skills.

(9)

Implement evidence-based school-wide programs and targeted supports to promote positive academic outcomes, such as increased attendance rates and the promotion of physical, personal, and social development.

(g)

Permissible uses of funds

Subgrants awarded under this section may be used by eligible local educational agencies for the following:

(1)

Implement extended learning opportunities in core academic areas including more instructional time in literacy, mathematics, science, history, and civics in addition to opportunities for language instruction and understanding other cultures and the arts.

(2)

Provide professional development activities to enable teachers and other school staff to appropriately monitor academic and behavioral progress, modify curricula, and implement accommodations and assistive technology services for students with disabilities, consistent with individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

(3)

Employ and use instructional coaches, including literacy, mathematics, and English language learner coaches.

(4)

Ensure that school leaders, teachers, pupil service personnel, and other school staff understand the developmental stages of adolescents in the middle grades and how to deal with those stages appropriately in an educational setting.

(5)

Provide professional development for content-area teachers on working effectively with English language learners and students with disabilities, as well as professional development for English as a second language educators, bilingual educators, and special education personnel.

(6)

Encourage and facilitate the sharing of data among elementary, middle, and high schools as well as postsecondary institutions.

(7)

Create professional learning communities focused on enabling student success in high challenge middle grade schools across middle grade schools in the school district and between school districts, where possible.

(h)

Planning subgrants

(1)

In general

In addition to the subgrants to which the preceding provisions of this section apply, a State educational agency may (without regard to such preceding provisions) make subgrants to eligible local educational agencies that have not received a grant under subsection (a) to assist them is meeting the requirements of subsections (d) and (e).

(2)

Amount and duration

Subgrants under this subsection may not exceed $50,000 nor 1 year in duration.

(i)

Definitions

For purposes of this section—

(1)

Early warning data system

The term early warning data system means any electronic system—

(A)

which is maintained by the State educational agency for use by local educational agencies and schools containing at least 1 middle grade,

(B)

which stores individual middle grade student level data (including data necessary to make the determinations under paragraph (3)(B)) tied to a unique student identifier on school outcomes that has been shown to be highly predictive of whether or not a student is on track to graduate from high school with a regular diploma,

(C)

the data in which is easily accessible to teachers and administrators and

(D)

which updated on a regular basis to measure student progress over time.

(2)

Eligible local educational agency

The term eligible local educational agency means any local educational agency serving at least 1 eligible school.

(3)

Eligible school

The term eligible school means any school containing at least 1 middle grade if—

(A)

more than 50 percent of middle grade students go on to attend a high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent;

(B)

more than 25 percent of the students who finish grade 5 in the school exhibit key risk factors and early warning signs, including—

(i)

student attendance below 90 percent,

(ii)

a failing grade in English or mathematics,

(iii)

2 failing grades in any courses,

(iv)

suspension or other evidence of poor behavior; or

(C)

more than 50 percent of the middle grade students do not perform at a proficient level on State assessments required under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in mathematics or reading or language arts.

(4)

Middle grades

The term middle grades means grades 5, 6, 7, and 8.

104.

Duration of grants; supplement not supplant

(a)

Duration of grants

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), grants and subgrants under this title may not exceed 3 years in duration.

(2)

Renewals

(A)

In general

Grants and subgrants under this title may be renewed in 2-year increments.

(B)

Conditions

In order to be eligible to have a grant or subgrant renewed under this paragraph, the recipient must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the granting entity, that—

(i)

the recipient has complied with the terms of the grant or subgrant, including by undertaking all required activities; and

(ii)

during the period of the grant or subgrant, there has been significant progress in student achievement, as measured by the annual measurable objectives established pursuant to section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other key risk factors such as attendance and on-time promotion.

(b)

Federal funds To supplement, not supplant, non-federal funds

(1)

In general

A State educational agency or local educational agency shall use Federal funds received under this title only to supplement the funds that would, in the absence of such Federal funds, be made available from non-Federal sources for the education of pupils participating in programs assisted under this title, and not to supplant such funds.

(2)

Special rule

Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize an officer, employee, or contractor of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, limit, or control a State, local educational agency, or school's specific instructional content, academic achievement standards and assessments, curriculum, or program of instruction.

105.

Definitions

For purposes of this title—

(1)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Education.

(2)

State

The term State means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

106.

Authorization of appropriations

For the purpose of carrying out this title, there are authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 and each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.

J

Research recommendations

201.

Purpose

The purpose of this title is to facilitate the generation, dissemination, and application of research needed to identify and implement effective practices that lead to continual student learning and high academic achievement at the middle level.

202.

Research recommendations

The Secretary of Education shall use the amounts appropriated under this title to carry out the following activities:

(1)

Create a national clearinghouse for research in: best practices in the middle level and in the approaches that successfully take those best practices to scale in schools and school districts.

(2)

Create a national middle level database accessible to educational researchers, practitioners, and policymakers that identify school, classroom, and system-level factors that facilitate or impede student achievement in the middle grades.

(3)

Require the Institute of Education Sciences or any other educational research agency to develop a strand of field-initiated research designed to enhance performance of middle grade schools and students who are most at risk of educational failure. Such research should target specific issues such as—

(A)

effective practices in mathematics, science, literacy;

(B)

academic interventions for adolescent English language learners; and

(C)

school improvement programs and strategies for closing the achievement gap.

(4)

Require the Institute of Education Sciences or any other educational research agency to initiate a series of large scale randomized field trials designed to establish the most effective ways to—

(A)

use increase learning or school time in the middle grades,

(B)

decrease class size or employ additional instructional staff, and

(C)

recruit, retain, and develop teachers with strong middle grade teaching skills in order to raise middle grade achievement.

(5)

Strengthen the work of the existing National Research and Development Centers by adding a research and development center dedicated to addressing—

(A)

curricular/instructional issues pertinent to the middle grades (such as mathematics, science, the needs of English language learners, and students with disabilities);

(B)

comprehensive school-wide reforms for low performing middle grade schools; and

(C)

other topics pertinent to middle grades schools.

(6)

Provide grants to nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, institutes of higher learning, and others to partner with State and local educational agencies to develop, adapt, and/or replicate effective models for turning around low-performing middle grade schools.

203.

Authorization of appropriations; reservations

(1)

Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 to carry out this title.

(2)

Reservations

From the total amount made available to carry out this title, the Secretary shall reserve—

(A)

5 percent for the database described in section 202(1);

(B)

5 percent for the database described in section 202(2);

(C)

25 percent for the activities described in section 202(3);

(D)

20 percent for the activities described in section 202(4);

(E)

15 percent for the activities described in section 202(5); and

(F)

30 percent for the activities described in section 202(6).