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H.R. 1547 (112th): Success in the Middle Act of 2011

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 14, 2011.

Success in the Middle Act of 2011 - Directs the Secretary of Education to make grants to states, based on their proportion of poor children aged 5 to 17, to: (1) implement state middle grades needs analyses and, on the basis of such analyses, improvement plans that describe what students must master to complete successfully the middle grades and succeed in academically rigorous secondary school coursework; and (2) award competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) or partnerships of LEAs and institutions of higher education, educational service agencies, or educational nonprofit organizations to implement a comprehensive middle school improvement plan for each eligible school. Favors LEAs, or partnerships that include LEAs, that serve high proportions of poor children and children attending eligible schools.

Defines "eligible schools" as those where: (1) a high proportion of middle grade students matriculate to secondary schools with graduation rates below 65%; (2) more than 25% of the students who finish grade six, or the school's earliest middle grade level, exhibit key risk factors for failure; and (3) a majority of middle grade students are not rated proficient on required state assessments in mathematics, reading, or language arts.

Permits states to make subgrants to LEAs and partnerships that did not receive a competitive subgrant to assist them in applying for competitive subgrants and developing comprehensive middle school improvement plans.

Provides the Secretary with funding to: (1) contract for studies that identify promising practices for, and review existing research to identify factors that might lead to, the improvement of middle grades education; (2) create a national clearinghouse in best middle grade educational practices and a national database identifying factors that facilitate or impede middle grade student achievement; (3) require certain educational field research designed to enhance the performance of middle grade schools and students; (4) create a research and development center that addresses topics pertinent to the middle grades; and (5) provide grants to entities that partner with states and LEAs to develop, adapt, or replicate effective models for turning around low-performing middle grades.