S. 2227 (110th): Success in the Middle Act of 2007

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Oct 24, 2007 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2227

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 24, 2007

(for himself and Mr. Reed) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To provide grants to States to ensure that all students in the middle grades are taught an academically rigorous curriculum with effective supports so that students complete the middle grades prepared for success in high school and postsecondary endeavors, to improve State and district policies and programs relating to the academic achievement of students in the middle grades, to develop and implement effective middle school models for struggling students, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

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

2.

Findings

In this Act:

(1)

Assessments indicate that the interval between the 4th and 8th grades is a period where academic achievement for United States students falls dramatically, with the most severe losses in academic achievement among minority and low-income students. International comparisons indicate that students in the United States do not start out behind students of other nations in mathematics and science, but that they fall behind by the end of the middle grades.

(2)

Only 1/3 of the students in 8th grade, and only 5 percent of English language learners, can read with proficiency, according to the 2007 National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP). The percentage of 8th grade students proficient at reading has decreased since 1998, and the NAEP average reading score for 8th graders has remained static. In contrast, NAEP reading scores and achievement levels for 4th graders have increased significantly.

(3)

In mathematics, again less than 1/3 of students in 8th grade show skills at the NAEP proficient level, and nearly 30 percent score below the basic level. The percentage of 8th grade students scoring above the basic level was 8 points higher in 2007 than in 2000, but for 4th graders, the percentage increased 17 points, more than double the increase for middle school students. In 8th grade, the gaps between the average mathematics scores of white and black students and between white and Hispanic students were as wide in 2007 as in 1990.

(4)

Lack of basic skills at the end of middle school has serious implications for students. Students who enter high school 2 or more years behind grade level in mathematics and literacy have only a 50 percent chance of progressing on time to the 10th grade; those not progressing are at grave risk of dropping out of high school.

(5)

Middle school students are hopeful about their future, with 93 percent believing that they will complete high school and 92 percent anticipating that they will attend college. Yet about 1/3 of students who enter high school do not graduate with their peers, and another 1/3 graduate but do not have the knowledge and skills to succeed in college. In fact, 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.

(6)

Sixth-grade students who do not attend school regularly, who are subjected to frequent disciplinary actions, 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 1 year late. Significant numbers of 6th grade students exhibit attendance or behavior problems, or need additional supports in reading or mathematics; without effective interventions and proper supports, these students are at risk of subsequent failure in high school, or of dropping out.

(7)

Student transitions from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school are often complicated by poor curriculum alignment, inadequate counseling services to help them make decisions about high school classes that will prepare them for college, and unsatisfactory sharing of student performance and academic achievement data between schools.

(8)

Middle schools are more likely than elementary schools or high schools to be identified for improvement. Although middle schools represented only 15 percent of the schools that received funds under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.), they accounted for 32 percent of those schools in corrective action or restructuring during 2005–2006. In the 2004–2005 academic year, 36 percent of middle schools that received funds under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.), were deemed in need of improvement, compared with 10 percent of elementary schools.

(9)

Federal funding has long focused on early elementary grades and on higher education. Students in the middle grades represent 23 percent of the Nation's student population and 58 percent of the Nation's annual test-takers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.). Yet, of the funds appropriated in fiscal year 2005 for part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.), only 10 percent were allocated to middle schools by the States.

(10)

Middle school improvement strategies should be tailored based on a variety of performance indicators and data, so that educators can create and implement successful school improvement strategies to address the needs of the individual schools, and so that schools can provide effective instruction and adequate assistance to meet the needs of at-risk students.

(11)

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.

(12)

Local educational agencies and State educational agencies often do not have the capacity to provide support for school improvement strategies. Successful models do exist for turning around low-performing middle schools, and Federal support should be provided to increase the capacity to apply promising practices based on evidence from successful schools.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Middle school

The term middle school means a nonprofit public school, including a public charter middle school, that provides education in any 2 or more successive grades beginning with grade 5 and ending with grade 8, as determined under State law.

(2)

Middle grade

The term middle grade means grade 5, 6, 7, or 8.

(3)

Scientifically valid

The term scientifically valid means the rationale, design, and interpretation are soundly developed in accordance with accepted principles of scientific research.

(4)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Education.

(5)

State

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

I

Middle school improvement

101.

Purposes

The purposes of this title are to—

(1)

improve middle school student academic achievement to prepare students for rigorous high school course work, and eventually for postsecondary education, independent living, and employment;

(2)

align curriculum and student supports between elementary school and middle school and between middle school and high school;

(3)

provide resources to State educational agencies and local educational agencies to collaboratively develop school improvement plans in order to deliver support and technical assistance to schools serving students in the middle grades; and

(4)

increase the capacity of States and local educational agencies to develop effective, sustainable, and replicable school improvement programs and models and evidence-based or, when available, scientifically valid student interventions for implementation by schools serving students in the middle grades.

102.

Formula grants to State educational agencies for middle school improvement

(a)

In general

From amounts appropriated under section 107, the Secretary shall make grants under this title for a fiscal year to each State educational agency for which the Secretary has approved an application under subsection (h) in an amount equal to the allotment determined for such agency under subsection (c) for such fiscal year.

(b)

Reservations

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

(1)

shall reserve not more than 1 percent for the Secretary of the Interior (on behalf of the Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the outlying areas for activities carried out in accordance with this section;

(2)

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

(3)

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

(c)

Amount of State allotments

(1)

In general

Of the total amount made available to carry out this title for a fiscal year and not reserved under subsection (b), the Secretary shall allot such amount among the States in proportion to the number of children, aged 5 to 17, who reside within the State and are from families with incomes below the poverty line for the most recent fiscal year for which satisfactory data are available, compared to the number of such individuals who reside in all such States for that fiscal year, determined in accordance with section 1124(c)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965(20 U.S.C. 6333(c)(1)(A)).

(2)

Minimum allotments

No State educational agency shall receive an allotment under this subsection for a fiscal year that is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the amount made available to carry out this title for such fiscal year.

(d)

Matching requirement

(1)

In general

To be eligible to receive a grant under this title, 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, fairly assessed, 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)

Special rule

For any fiscal year for which the funds appropriated to carry out this title are less that $500,000,000, the Secretary is authorized to award grants to State educational agencies, on a competitive basis, rather than as allotments described in this section, to enable such agencies to award subgrants, on a competitive basis, to carry out the activities authorized under section 104.

(f)

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 application from the State educational agency 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).

(g)

Application

In order to receive a grant under this title, a State educational agency shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require, including a State middle school improvement plan described in section 103(a)(4).

(h)

Peer review and selection

The Secretary—

(1)

shall establish a peer-review process to assist in the review and approval of proposed State applications;

(2)

shall appoint individuals to participate in the peer-review process who are educators and experts in identifying, evaluating, and implementing effective education programs and practices, including areas of teaching and learning, educational standards and assessments, school improvement, and academic and behavioral supports for middle school students, including recognized exemplary middle level teachers and principals who have been recognized at the State or national level for exemplary work or contributions to the field;

(3)

shall ensure that States are given the opportunity to receive timely feedback, and to interact with peer-review panels, in person or via electronic communication, on issues that need clarification during the peer-review process;

(4)

shall approve a State application submitted under this title not later than 120 days after the date of submission of the application unless the Secretary determines that the application does not meet the requirements of this title;

(5)

may not decline to approve a State's application before—

(A)

offering the State an opportunity to revise the State's application;

(B)

providing the State with technical assistance in order to submit a successful application; and

(C)

providing a hearing to the State; and

(6)

shall direct the Inspector General of the Department to review final determinations reached by the Secretary to approve or deny State applications, and to analyze the consistency of the process used by peer review panels in reviewing and recommending to the Secretary approval or denial of such State applications, and report the findings of this review and analysis to Congress.

103.

State plan; authorized activities

(a)

Mandatory activities

(1)

In general

A State educational agency that receives a grant under this title shall use the grant funds—

(A)

to prepare and implement the needs analysis and middle school improvement plan described in paragraphs (3) and (4) of such agency;

(B)

to make subgrants to local educational agencies under section 104; and

(C)

to assist local educational agencies when determined necessary, or at the request of a local educational agency, in designing an improvement plan and carrying out the activities under section 104.

(2)

Funds for subgrants

A State educational agency that receives a grant under this title shall use not less than 80 percent of the grant funds to make subgrants to local educational agencies under section 104.

(3)

Middle school needs analysis

(A)

In general

A State educational agency that receives a grant under this title shall enter into a contract, or similar formal agreement, to work with entities such as national and regional comprehensive centers (as described in section 203 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002), institutions of higher education, or nonprofit organizations, to prepare a plan that analyzes how to strengthen the programs, practices, and policies of the State in supporting middle school education, including the factors, such as local implementation, that influence variation in the effectiveness of such programs, practices, and policies.

(B)

Preparation of plan

In preparing the plan under subparagraph (A), the State educational agency shall examine policies and practices of the State, and of local educational agencies within the State, affecting—

(i)

middle school curriculum instruction and assessment;

(ii)

education accountability and data systems;

(iii)

teacher quality and equitable distribution; and

(iv)

interventions that support learning in school.

(4)

Middle school improvement plan

(A)

In general

A State educational agency that receives a grant under this title shall develop a middle school improvement plan that shall be a statewide plan to improve student academic achievement, based on the needs analysis described in paragraph (3), that describes what students are required to know and do to successfully—

(i)

complete the middle grades; and

(ii)

make the transition to succeed in an academically rigorous high school coursework, that prepares students for college, independent living, and employment.

(B)

Plan components

A middle school improvement plan described in subparagraph (A) shall also describe how the State educational agency will do each of the following:

(i)

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, ensuring coordination, where applicable, with grants for P–16 alignment as provided in section 6401 of the America COMPETES Act (Public Law 110–69).

(ii)

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, in using challenging and relevant research-based best practices and curricula, and in using data to inform instruction.

(iii)

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

(iv)

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

(v)

Develop and implement early identification data systems (as defined in section 104(k)) to alert schools when students begin to exhibit outcomes or behaviors that indicate the student is at increased risk for low academic achievement or is unlikely to progress to high school graduation, to and develop and implement a system of evidence based interventions that schools can use to effectively intervene.

(vi)

Define a set of comprehensive school performance indicators that shall be used, in addition to the indicators used to determine adequate yearly progress, to evaluate school performance, and guide the school improvement process, such as—

(I)

student attendance and absenteeism;

(II)

earned on-time promotion rates from grade to grade;

(III)

percent of students failing a mathematics, reading or language arts, or science course, or failing 2 or more of any course;

(IV)

teacher quality and attendance measures;

(V)

in-school and out-of-school suspension or other measurable evidence of at-risk behavior; and

(VI)

additional indicators proposed by the State educational agency, and approved by the Secretary pursuant to the peer-review process described in section 102(h).

(vii)

Ensure that such plan is coordinated with State activities to turn around other schools in need of improvement, including State activities to improve high schools and elementary schools.

(b)

Permissible activities

(1)

In general

A State educational agency that receives a grant under this title may use the grant funds 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 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801), 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 effective middle grade practices, models and programs that are evidence-based or, when available, scientifically valid and that lead to improved student academic achievement.

(C)

Support collaborative communities of middle school teachers, administrators, and researchers in creating and sustaining informational databases to disseminate results from rigorous research on effective practices and programs for middle grade education.

(D)

Increase student support services, such as school counseling on the transition to high school.

(2)

Eligible entity

In this subsection, the term eligible entity means any partnership that includes not less than 1 local educational agency and may include an institution of higher education, an educational service agency, and any non-profit organization with demonstrated expertise in high quality middle grade interventions.

104.

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

(a)

In general

A State educational agency that receives 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)

the local educational agency's respective populations of children described in section 102(c)(1); and

(2)

the local educational agency's 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, fairly assessed, 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

An eligible local educational agency that desires to receive a subgrant under this title shall submit an application to the State educational agency at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the State educational agency may reasonably require, including—

(1)

a comprehensive schoolwide improvement plan described in subsection (e);

(2)

a description of how activities described in such plan will be coordinated with activities specified in plans for schoolwide programs under section 1114 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6314) and school improvement plans required under section 1116 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 6316); and

(3)

a description of how activities described in such plan will be complementary to, and coordinated with, school improvement activities for elementary schools and high schools in need of improvement that serve the same students within the local educational agency.

(e)

Comprehensive schoolwide improvement plan

An eligible local educational agency that desires to receive a subgrant under this title shall develop a comprehensive schoolwide improvement plan that shall include the information described in subsection (d)(2) 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 academic achievement of all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities, in eligible schools and middle grades;

(4)

implement an early identification data system and use this data to guide decisions on implementing appropriate interventions;

(5)

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

(6)

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

(7)

provide evidence of an ongoing commitment to sustain the plan for a period of not less than 4 years.

(f)

Review and selection of subgrants

In making subgrants under this section, the State educational agency shall—

(1)

establish a peer-review process to assist in the review and approval of eligible local educational agency applications; and

(2)

appoint individuals to participate in the peer-review process who are educators and experts in identifying, evaluating, and implementing effective education programs and practices, including areas of teaching and learning, educational standards and assessments, school improvement, and academic and behavioral supports for middle school students, including recognized exemplary middle level teachers and principals who have been recognized at the State or national level for exemplary work or contributions to the field.

(g)

Revision of subgrants

If a State educational agency, using the peer-review process described in subsection (f), determines that an eligible local educational agency's application does not meet the requirements of this title, the State educational agency shall notify the local educational agency of such determination and the reasons for such determination, and offer—

(1)

the local educational agency an opportunity to revise and resubmit the application; and

(2)

technical assistance to the local educational agency to revise the application.

(h)

Mandatory uses of funds

An eligible local educational agency that receives a subgrant under this section shall carry out the following in each eligible school served by the agency:

(1)

Align curricula among elementary grades, middle grades, and high schools to improve transitions from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school within the local educational agency, and across all grade levels within middle schools to improve grade to grade transitions.

(2)

Implement evidence-based or, when available, scientifically valid instructional strategies, programs, and learning environments that meet the needs of all students and ensure that school leaders and teachers receive professional development on the use of these strategies.

(3)

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.

(4)

Implement organizational practices and school schedules that allow for effective leadership, collaborative staff participation, 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 not less than 1 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 identification data system and guidance resources to identify struggling students and assist the students as the students transition from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school.

(8)

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

(9)

Implement evidence-based or, when available, scientifically valid schoolwide programs and targeted supports to promote positive academic outcomes, such as increased attendance rates and the promotion of physical, personal, and social development.

(10)

Develop and use an effective formative assessment to inform instruction.

(i)

Permissible uses of funds

An eligible local educational agency that receives a subgrant under this section may use the subgrant funds to carry out 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 evidence-based professional development activities with specific benchmarks 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 (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)).

(3)

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

(4)

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.

(5)

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

(6)

Create collaborative study groups composed of principals or teachers, or both, among middle schools within the eligible local educational agency, or between the eligible local educational agency and another local educational agency, with a focus on developing and sharing methods to increase student learning and academic achievement.

(j)

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 planning subgrants, and provide technical assistance, to eligible local educational agencies that have not received a subgrant under subsection (a) to assist the local educational agencies in 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.

(k)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Early identification data system

The term early identification data system means an electronic system—

(A)

that is maintained by the State educational agency for use by local educational agencies and schools containing not less than 1 middle grade;

(B)

that 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, such as—

(i)

student attendance and absenteeism;

(ii)

earned on-time promotion rates from grade to grade;

(iii)

a failing grade in a mathematics, reading or language arts course;

(iv)

in-school and out-of-school suspension or other measurable evidence of at-risk behavior; and

(v)

additional indicators proposed by the State educational agency and approved by the Secretary;

(C)

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

(D)

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

(2)

Eligible local educational agency

The term eligible local educational agency means a local educational agency that serves not less than 1 eligible school.

(3)

Eligible school

The term eligible school means a school containing not less than 1 middle grade and—

(A)

more than 50 percent of the 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 6, or the earliest middle grade level in the school, exhibit 1 or more of the key risk factors and early risk identification signs, including—

(i)

student attendance below 90 percent;

(ii)

a failing grade in a mathematics, reading or language arts course;

(iii)

2 failing grades in any courses; and

(iv)

out-of-school suspension or other evidence of at-risk 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 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(3)) in mathematics or reading or language arts.

105.

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 grant or subgrant recipient shall 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 academic achievement, as measured by the annual measurable objectives established pursuant to section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)) 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.

106.

Evaluation and reporting

(a)

Evaluation

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for the period of the grant, each State receiving a grant under this title shall—

(1)

conduct an evaluation of the State's progress regarding the impact of the changes made to the policies and practices of the State in accordance with this title, including—

(A)

a description of the specific changes made, or in the process of being made, to policies and practices as a result of the grant;

(B)

a discussion of any barriers hindering the identified changes in policies and practices, and implementations strategies to overcome such barriers;

(C)

evidence of the impact of changes to policies and practices on behavior and actions at the local educational agency and school level; and

(D)

evidence of the impact of the changes to State and local policies and practices on improving measurable learning gains by middle school students;

(2)

use the results of the evaluation conducted under paragraph (1) to adjust the policies and practices of the State as necessary to achieve the purposes of this title; and

(3)

submit the results of the evaluation to the Secretary.

(b)

Availability

The Secretary shall make the results of each State's evaluation under subsection (a) available to other States and local educational agencies.

(c)

Local educational agency reporting

On an annual basis, each eligible local educational agency receiving a subgrant under this title shall report to the State educational agency and to the public on—

(1)

the school performance indicators (as described in section 103(a)(4)(B)(vi)) for each eligible school (as defined in section 104(k)) served by the local educational agency, in the aggregate and disaggregated by the subgroups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II)); and

(2)

the use of funds by the local educational agency and each such school.

(d)

State educational agency reporting

On an annual basis, each State educational agency receiving grant funds under this title shall report to the Secretary and to the public on—

(1)

the school performance indicators (as described in section 103(a)(4)(B)(vi)) in the aggregate and disaggregated by the subgroups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II)); and

(2)

the use of the funds by each local educational agency and each school served with such funds.

(e)

Report to Congress

Every 2 years, the Secretary shall report to the public and to Congress—

(1)

a summary of the State reports under subsection (d); and

(2)

the use of funds by each State under this title.

107.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $1,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.

II

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

(a)

Study on promising practices

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into a contract with the Center for Education of the National Academies to identify promising practices for the improvement of middle school education.

(2)

Content of study

The study described in paragraph (1) shall identify promising practices currently being implemented for the improvement of middle school education. The study shall be conducted in an open and transparent way that provides interim information to the public about criteria being used to identify—

(A)

promising practices;

(B)

the practices that are being considered; and

(C)

the kind of evidence needed to document effectiveness.

(3)

Report

The contract entered into pursuant to this subsection shall require that the Center for Education of the National Academies submit to the Secretary, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, and the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives a final report regarding the study conducted under this subsection not later than 1 year after the date of the commencement of the contract.

(4)

Publication

The Secretary shall make public and post on the website of the Department of Education the findings of the study conducted under this subsection.

(b)

Synthesis study of effective teaching and learning in middle school

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into a contract with the Center for Education of the National Academies to review existing research on middle school education, and on factors that might lead to increased effectiveness and enhanced innovation in middle school education.

(2)

Content of study

The study described in paragraph (1) shall review research on education programs, practices, and policies, as well as research on the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children in the middle grades age range, in order to provide an enriched understanding of the factors that might lead to the development of innovative and effective middle school programs, practices, and policies. The study shall focus on—

(A)

the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment (including additional supports for students who are below grade level in reading, writing, mathematics, and science, and the identification of students with disabilities) to better prepare all students for subsequent success in high school, college, and cognitively challenging employment;

(B)

the quality of, and supports for, the teacher workforce;

(C)

aspects of student behavioral and social development, and of social interactions within schools that affect the learning of academic content;

(D)

the ways in which schools and local educational agencies are organized and operated that may be linked to student outcomes; and

(E)

identification of areas where further research and evaluation may be needed on these topics to further the development of effective middle school practices.

(3)

Report

The contract entered into pursuant to this subsection shall require that the Center for Education of the National Academies submit to the Secretary, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, and the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives a final report regarding the study conducted under this subsection not later than 2 years after the date of commencement of the contract.

(4)

Publication

The Secretary shall make public and post on the website of the Department of Education the findings of the study conducted under this subsection.

(c)

Other activities

The Secretary shall carry out each of the following:

(1)

Create a national clearinghouse, in coordination with entities such as What Works and the Doing What Works Clearinghouses, for research in best practices in the middle grades and in the approaches that successfully take those best practices to scale in schools and local educational agencies.

(2)

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

(3)

Require the Institute for Education Sciences to develop a strand of field-initiated and scientifically valid research designed to enhance performance of middle grade schools and students who are most at risk of educational failure, which may be coordinated with the Regional Education Laboratories, institutions of higher education, agencies recognized for their research work that has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and organizations that have regional education laboratories funded through the Institute for Education Sciences. Such research shall target specific issues such as—

(A)

effective practices for instruction and assessment in mathematics, science, technology, and literacy;

(B)

academic interventions for adolescent English language learners;

(C)

school improvement programs and strategies for closing the academic achievement gap;

(D)

evidence-based or, when available, scientifically valid professional development planning targeted to improve pedagogy and student academic achievement;

(E)

the effects of increased learning or extended school time in the middle grades; and

(F)

the effects of decreased class size or increased instructional and support staff.

(4)

Strengthen the work of the existing National Research and Development Centers by adding an Educational Research and Development Center dedicated to addressing—

(A)

curricular, instructional, and assessment issues pertinent to the middle grades (such as mathematics, science, technological fluency, 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 schools.

(5)

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

203.

Authorization of appropriations; reservations

(a)

Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.

(b)

Reservations

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

(1)

2.5 percent for the studies described in subsections (a) and (b) of section 202;

(2)

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

(3)

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

(4)

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

(5)

15 percent for the activities described in section 202(c)(4); and

(6)

30 percent for the activities described in section 202(c)(5).