IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 24, 2007
Mr. Rockefeller (for himself and Ms. Snowe) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance
To create a new incentive fund that will encourage States to adopt the 21st Century Skills Framework.
This Act may be cited as
21st Century Skills Incentive Fund
Congress makes the following findings:
Students must be prepared in the core subjects of English, reading, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, art, history, and geography.
In order for our Nation's students to be prepared to succeed in our communities and workplaces, students need 21st century content, beyond the traditional core subjects, that includes global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, and health and wellness awareness.
Students need to go beyond just learning today’s academic context to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills, and information and media literacy skills.
Information and communications technology literacy is the ability to use technology to develop 21st century content knowledge and skills, in the content of learning core subjects, and students must be able to use technology to learn content and skills so that the students know how to learn, think critically, solve problems, use information, communicate, innovate, and collaborate.
Educators need to incorporate life skills into pedagogy, including leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, personal responsibility, people skills, self-direction, and social responsibility.
There needs to be 21st century assessments of education that measure the following priorities:
Core subjects, and 21st century themes.
Life and career skills.
Thinking and innovation skills.
Information media and technology skills.
In this Act:
The term eligible State means a State that—
develops a comprehensive plan for implementing a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative;
demonstrates a commitment to advancing 21st Century Skills within—
standards and assessments;
professional development; and
the learning environment;
achieves broad support for a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative from among the State’s education leaders (including classroom practitioners), business leaders, and civic leaders; and
is approved as a 21st Century Partner State by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
The term Fund means the 21st Century Skills Incentive Fund established under section 6(a).
The Secretary is authorized to award grants, from amounts available in the Fund, to eligible States having applications approved under section 5 to enable the eligible States to pay the Federal share of the cost of establishing a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative.
The Secretary shall award grants under this Act on a first-come, first-served basis, so that the grants are awarded—
to eligible States in the order the Secretary receives approvable applications; and
in an amount determined on the basis of the amount of the non-Federal share identified, and supported by the information contained, in an approvable application.
Federal share; non-Federal share
The Federal share shall be 50 percent.
The non-Federal share shall be provided from State sources or from foundation sources.
The Secretary shall award each grant under this Act for not less than 1 and not more than 3 years.
Maintenance of effort
The Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to an eligible State under this Act for a fiscal year by the amount, if any, by which the eligible State's expenditures for the activities assisted under the grant for the preceding fiscal year are less than such expenditures for the second fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the determination is made.
Supplement not supplant
Grant funds provided under this Act shall be used to supplement and not supplant other State funds expended for activities assisted under this Act.
Each eligible State that desires a grant under this Act shall submit an application to the Secretary that—
describes the 21st Century Skills initiative for which assistance is sought;
includes evidence that the eligible State has met each of the eligibility criteria described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of section 3(1);
includes a description of how the eligible State will provide the non-Federal share of the grant funds; and
includes a description of how the eligible State will continue to provide the non-Federal share throughout the duration of the grant and the successful statewide implementation of the 21st Century Skills initiative.
21st Century Skills Incentive Fund
The Secretary shall establish a 21st Century Skills Incentive Fund.
The Secretary shall deposit into the Fund all amounts appropriated under section 8.
The Secretary shall use amounts in the Fund to award grants to eligible States in accordance with this Act.
The Secretary shall administer all aspects of the program assisted under this Act, including determining State eligibility, making grant awards, determining award amounts and duration, and conducting program evaluations.
Each eligible State receiving a grant under this Act—
shall conduct an evaluation of the 21st Century Skills initiative assisted under this Act;
shall use the non-Federal share described in section 5(3) to pay the costs of the evaluation; and
shall submit a copy of the evaluation to the Secretary.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act (other than section 7(b))—
$100,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;
$100,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and
such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Separate percentage limitation for corporate charitable contributions to 21st Century Skills initiatives of eligible States
Section 170(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (related to percentage limitations) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
Special rule for corporate contributions to 21st Century Skills initiatives of eligible States
In the case of a corporation which makes a 21st Century Skills initiative contribution, the limitation under paragraph (2) shall apply separately with respect to all such contributions and all other charitable contributions.
21st century skills initiative contribution
For purposes of this paragraph, the term 21st Century Skills initiative contribution means a charitable contribution in cash to an eligible State (as defined in section 3(1) of the 21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act) which has a grant application approved under section 5 of such Act.
The amendment made by this section shall apply to contributions made after the date of the enactment of this Act.