News & Policies
History & Tours | Kids | Your Government | Appointments | Jobs | Contact | Graphic version
Preámbulo por el Presidente George W. Bush
Las reformas educativas bipartitas serán el punto principal de mi gobierno.
La calidad de las escuelas públicas nos afecta directamente a todos como padres, como estudiantes, y como ciudadanos. Sin embargo, en los Estados Unidos, demasiados niños son segregados por las bajas expectativas, el analfabetismo y la falta de confianza en sí mismos. En un mundo en cambio constante que requiere aptitudes cada vez más complejas de su fuerza laboral, los niños literalmente se están quedando atrás.
No tiene que ser así.
Existen soluciones bipartitas a nuestro alcance. Si nuestro país falta a su responsabilidad de educar a cada niño, lo más probable es que fallemos en muchas otras áreas. Pero si tenemos éxito en educar a nuestra juventud, muchos otros logros vendrán posteriormente en todo nuestro país y en la vida de nuestros ciudadanos.
Este proyecto representa parte de mi plan de reformas educativas. Aunque no abarca todos los aspectos de las reformas educativas que planeo proponer, este proyecto servirá como un marco a partir del cual podremos trabajar juntos los demócratas, republicanos e independientes para fortalecer nuestras escuelas primarias y secundarias. En conjunto, estas reformas expresan mi profunda confianza en nuestras escuelas públicas y su misión de formar la mente y el carácter de todos los niños, de todos los entornos, de todas las regiones de los Estados Unidos.
Y estoy muy dispuesto a trabajar con los miembros del Congreso que tienen ideas adicionales para lograr nuestras metas compartidas.
Espero con interés la oportunidad de trabajar con el Congreso para asegurar que ningún niño se quede atrás.
Resumen Ejecutivo 1
Lograr la Excelencia por Medio de los Altos Estándares y la Responsabilidad 7
Fomentar el Alfabetismo al Darle Prioridad a la Lectura 10
Mejorar la Calidad de los Profesores 12
Mejorar la Enseñanza de las Matemáticas y las Ciencias 14
Hacer que los Estudiantes con Limitada Habilidad en el Inglés lo Dominen 16
Promover la Habilidad de los Padres de Elegir Alternativas y los Programas Innovadores 18
Promover las Escuelas Seguras para el Siglo XXI 20
Mejorar la Educación por Medio de la Tecnología 22
Proporcionar Asistencia por el Impacto (Impact Aid) 24
Alentar la Libertad y la Responsabilidad 26
"Si una nación espera ser ignorante y libre, en un estado de civilización, espera lo que nunca fue y nunca será".
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1816
Transforming the Federal Role in Education So That No Child is Left Behind
As America enters the 21st Century full of hope and promise, too many of our neediest students are being left behind.
Today, nearly 70 percent of inner city fourth graders are unable to read at a basic level on national reading tests. Our high school seniors trail students in Cyprus and South Africa on international math tests. And nearly a third of our college freshmen find they must take a remedial course before they are able to even begin regular college level courses.
Although education is primarily a state and local responsibility, the federal government is partly at fault for tolerating these abysmal results. The federal government currently does not do enough to reward success and sanction failure in our education system.
Since 1965, when the federal government embarked on its first major elementary-secondary education initiative, federal policy has strongly influenced America's schools. Over the years Congress has created hundreds of programs intended to address problems in education without asking whether or not the programs produce results or knowing their impact on local needs. This "program for every problem" solution has begun to add up -- so much so that there are hundreds of education programs spread across 39 federal agencies at a cost of $120 billion a year. Yet, after spending billions of dollars on education, we have fallen short in meeting our goals for educational excellence. The academic achievement gap between rich and poor, Anglo and minority is not only wide, but in some cases is growing wider still.
In reaction to these disappointing results, some have decided that there should be no federal involvement in education. Others suggest we merely add new programs into the old system. Surely, there must be another way a way that points to a more effective federal role. The priorities that follow are based on the fundamental notion that an enterprise works best when responsibility is placed closest to the most important activity of the enterprise, when those responsible are given greatest latitude and support, and when those responsible are held accountable for producing results. This education blueprint will:
Though these priorities do not address reforms in every federal education program, they do address a general vision for reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and linking federal dollars to specific performance goals to ensure improved results. Details about other programs and priorities will be provided at a later date.* Our priorities in this blueprint consist of seven performance-based titles:
* (These proposals are presented within a new legislative framework. There are programs and policies in the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act that are not addressed in these proposals. The proposals that are starred in this document will be considered separately from the ESEA reauthorization.)
There will be additional funds targeted to needy schools and districts. States and school districts will have the flexibility to produce results, and may lose funds if performance goals are not met.
In America, no child should be left behind. Every child should be educated to his or her full potential. This proposal sets forth the Presidents proposed framework to accomplish that goal. This Administration will work with Congress to ensure that this happens quickly, and in a bipartisan manner.
The Administrations education reform agenda is comprised of the following key components, many of which would be implemented during the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):
Closing the Achievement Gap :
Improving Literacy by Putting Reading First:
Expanding Flexibility, Reducing Bureaucracy:
Rewarding Success and Sanctioning Failure:
Promoting Informed Parental Choice:
Improving Teacher Quality:
Making Schools Safer for the 21st Century:
Achieving Equality Through High Standards and Accountability
(Part A: Closing the Achievement Gap for Disadvantaged Students)
The federal government can, and must, help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.
To meet that goal, the federal investment in Title I must be spent more effectively and with greater accountability. This proposal changes current law by requiring that states, school districts and schools receiving Title I funds ensure that students in all student groups meet high standards. Schools must have clear, measurable goals focused on basic skills and essential knowledge. Requiring annual state assessments in math and reading in grades 3-8 will ensure that the goals are being met for every child, every year. Annual testing in every grade gives teachers, parents and policymakers the information they need to ensure that children will reach academic success.
Schools that fail to make sufficient progress should receive special assistance. Students should not be forced to attend persistently failing schools, and they must at some point be freed to attend adequate schools. Under this plan, disadvantaged students will not be required to sacrifice their education and future for the sake of preserving the status quo.
Accountability for student performance must be accompanied by local control and flexibility. If schools are to be held to high standards, they must have the freedom to meet those standards.
Summary of Proposals
Close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students by providing states additional assistance and flexibility in return for implementing rigorous accountability for results:
Sets High Standards. Most states have established standards for what students should know in reading and math. This proposal requires that states also set challenging content standards in history and science.
Establishes Annual Assessments for Every Child in Grades 3-8. Annual reading and math assessments will provide parents with the information they need to know how well their child is doing in school, and how well the school is educating their child. With adequate time to plan and implement, states may select and design assessments of their choosing. The only requirement would be that the results in student achievement would be comparable from year to year. States will have three years to develop and implement the assessments. Federal funds will cover the cost of developing these assessments.
Requires Progress Reports on All Student Groups. In keeping with current law, states will be required to report student assessment results to parents. In order to hold schools accountable for improving the performance of all students, these results must also be reported to the public disaggregated by race, gender, English language proficiency, disability, and socio-economic status.
Expects Adequate Yearly Progress for Disadvantaged Students. Under current law, districts must determine whether each Title I school is making adequate yearly progress based on whether its students are meeting state content and performance standards. The status quo does not ensure, however, that disadvantaged students within each school make progress. Under this proposal, a states definition of adequate yearly progress must apply specifically to disadvantaged students, as well as to the overall student population. This expectation will serve to hold schools and districts accountable for improving the performance of disadvantaged students and to help educators, parents and others discern whether achievement gaps are closing.
Helps States with Technical Assistance Funds to Help Turn Around Low-Performing Schools. Federal funds will be available to states and districts to augment their efforts to provide capacity building and technical assistance to schools identified as needing improvement. State technical assistance provided with these funds must be grounded in scientifically-based research.
Increases Flexibility for Schools. Flexibility will be increased by lowering the schoolwide poverty threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent, so that more schools can combine their federal dollars to improve the quality of the school.
Provides Corrective Action for Low-Performing Schools and Districts. Schools and districts that have not made adequate yearly progress for one academic year will be identified by the district or state as needing improvement. Immediately after identification, these schools will receive assistance to improve performance:
Rewards Schools and States That Narrow the Achievement Gap. Schools and states that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap will be honored with awards from a "No Child Left Behind" school bonus fund and an "Achievement in Education" state bonus fund.
Puts in Place Consequences for Failure. States that fail to make adequate yearly progress for their disadvantaged students will be subject to losing a portion of their administrative funds. Sanctions will be based on a states failure to narrow the achievement gap in meeting adequate yearly progress requirements in math and reading in grades 3 through 8. Progress on state assessments will be confirmed by state results on an annual sampling of 4th and 8th grade students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in math and reading.
Protects Homeschools and Private Schools. Federal requirements do not apply to home schools or private schools. Protections in current law would be maintained.
Improving Literacy by Putting Reading First
(Part B: Reading First)
Overview The Administration is committed to ensuring that every child can read by the third grade. To help meet this goal, a new program will be established known as the "Reading First" initiative.
The Reading First initiative gives states both the funds and the tools they need to eliminate the reading deficit. The findings of years of scientific research on reading are now available, and application of this research to the classroom is now possible for all schools in America. The National Reading Panel issued a report in April 2000 after reviewing 100,000 studies on how students learn to read. The panel concluded:
"effective reading instruction includes teaching children to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words (phonemic awareness), teaching them that these sounds are represented by letters of the alphabet which can then be blended together to form words (phonics), having them practice what they have learned by reading aloud with guidance and feedback (guided oral reading), and applying reading comprehension strategies to guide and improve reading comprehension."
The Reading First initiative builds upon these findings by investing in scientifically-based reading instruction programs in the early grades. Ensuring that more children receive effective reading instruction means that more children will receive the help they need before they fall too far behind. This will also reduce the cost burden on all levels of government as fewer children are diagnosed as needing IDEA services simply because they did not receive proper reading instruction during the crucial early years.
Summary of Proposals
Creates Comprehensive, Statewide Reading Programs to Ensure Every Child is Reading by the Third Grade. States and local districts will have access to funds from the new Reading First program to implement comprehensive, science-based reading programs in Kindergarten through second grade. The Reading Excellence Act would be consolidated under Reading First. The Even Start family literacy program (Title I Part B) also would become a part of this larger initiative, while continuing to fund family literacy programs throughout the nation.
Supplements Reading First with an Early Childhood Reading Initiative. States participating in the Reading First program will have the option to receive "Early Reading First" funding to implement research-based reading programs in existing pre-school programs and Head Start programs that feed into participating elementary schools. The purpose of this program is to illustrate on a larger scale recent research findings that children taught pre-reading and math skills in pre-school enter school ready to learn reading and mathematics.
Improving Teacher Quality
(Part A: Grants for Improving Teacher Quality)
The Administrations proposal for preparing, training and recruiting teachers is based upon the basic principle that teacher excellence is vital to achieving improvement in student achievement.
This proposal will provide a major boost to schools in their efforts to establish and support a high-quality teaching force. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, there are 28 programs within the Department of Education that spend a significant portion of their funds on teacher training. A total of 87 programs support teacher training, administered by 13 different agencies.
This proposal combines the funding of Federal education programs, including the Class Size Reduction program and the Eisenhower Professional Development program, into performance-based grants to states and localities. Using these funds, they will have the support and flexibility necessary to improve academic achievement through such initiatives as providing high-quality training for teachers that is grounded in scientific research. In return, states will be held accountable for improving the quality of their teachers.
Summary of Proposals
Grants States and Districts Greater Flexibility for Effective Professional Development. Every child in America deserves a high-quality teacher. The current structure of federal programs fails to deliver on this promise. In order to assist states in their efforts to prepare, recruit and train high-quality teachers, the Eisenhower Professional Development Program and the Class Size Reduction program will be consolidated into more flexible teacher quality grants to states and local districts.
Establishes High Standards for Professional Development. States and local districts will be permitted to use this funding to meet their particular needs and to strengthen the skills and improve the knowledge of their public school teachers, principals, and administrators. In return, states and districts would be required to ensure that federal funds promote the use of scientific, research-based and effective practice in the classroom.
Promotes Innovative Teacher Reforms. In addition to funding professional development, states and school districts will be free to use their funds to promote innovative programs such as reforming teacher certification or licensure requirements; alternative certification; tenure reform and merit-based teacher performance systems; differential and bonus pay for teachers in high-need subject areas such as reading, math and science, and in high poverty schools and districts; and mentoring programs.
Expects Teacher Quality to Improve. States will be accountable for ensuring that all children are taught by effective teachers and for developing a plan to ensure this goal will be met.
Awards Grants for Excellence in Teaching. One percent of funding for this program is set aside for the Secretary of Education to award grants to states that develop teacher assessment systems that measure teacher performance using gains in student academic achievement.
Protects Teachers. Teachers, principals, and school board members acting in their official capacity will be shielded from federal liability arising out of their efforts to maintain discipline in the classroom, so long as they do not engage in reckless or criminal misconduct.* *
Provides Tax Deductions for Teachers. Teachers will be able to make tax deductions of up to $400 to help defray the costs associated with out-of-pocket classroom expenses, such as books, school supplies, professional enrichment programs and other training.*
Empowers Parents with Teacher Quality Information. Parents have a right to know if their childs teacher is effective. Local districts, upon the request, will be required to disclose to parents information about the quality of their childs teacher, as defined by the state.
Improving Math and Science Instruction
(Part B: Math and Science Partnerships)
Among the underlying causes for the poor performance of U.S. students in the areas of math and science, three problems must be addressed -- too many teachers teaching out-of-field; too few students taking advanced coursework; and too few schools offering a challenging curriculum and textbooks.
The Higher Education Community recognizes that it has a vested interest in working to improve elementary and secondary math and science achievement. More than twenty states have begun to form partnerships with colleges and universities for the purpose of raising math and science standards for students, providing math and science training for teachers, and creating innovative ways to reach underserved schools.
The Math and Science Partnership program provides funds for states to join with institutions of higher education in strengthening K-12 math and science education. States that access these funds will be required to establish partnership agreements with state colleges, universities and community colleges and school districts, with the goal of strengthening K-12 math and science education. These funds could be used by the states to defray the cost of the partnerships and to involve other colleges and community colleges in their math and science initiatives.
The success of partnerships between states and institutions of higher education will be linked to accountability goals that measure important indicators such as student performance on state assessments, increasing participation of students in advanced courses in math and science and passing advanced placement exams, and increasing the numbers of teachers that major in math or science.
Summary of Proposals
Establishes Math and Science Partnerships. States and local districts would be eligible to receive new federal funds to help fund partnerships with the math and science departments of institutions of higher education. Partnerships would focus on strengthening the quality of math and science instruction in elementary and secondary schools and could include such activities as making math and science curricula more rigorous, improving math and science professional development, attracting math and science majors to teaching, and aligning high school math and science standards to foster college placement.
Involves Major Research Institutions. Research universities will be encouraged to participate fully in these state partnerships in order to strengthen K-12 math and science education.
Moving Limited English Proficient Students to English Fluency
One of Americas greatest attributes is our diversity. Ensuring that all children, regardless of background, have the chance to succeed is a central purpose of the federal role in education. The changes that our schools have witnessed over the last decade have created new challenges to teaching and learning. All parents want their children to graduate with the basic tools needed to work and succeed in today's global marketplace. For the more than 3 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in America, this means learning English in school.
Unfortunately, there are indications that LEP students are not receiving the services they need to make this transition. For example, research has shown that English language learners, when compared with their English-fluent peers, tend to receive lower grades and often score below the average on standardized math and reading assessments. This is partly because federal funding for bilingual education currently has no performance measures attached to it. Our proposal will give districts more flexibility in using bilingual funds in exchange for effectively transitioning LEP students into English fluency and improving their achievement.
In order for all students to meet high standards, limited English proficient (LEP) students need to master English as quickly as possible. To accomplish this goal, states and school districts will be held accountable for making annual increases in English proficiency from the previous year. Moreover, they will be required to teach children in English after three consecutive years of being in school.
Summary of Proposals
Streamlines ESEA Bilingual Education Programs. These programs will be streamlined into performance-based grants to states and local districts.
Sets Performance Objectives for Improving English Fluency. As part of their application for funds, states will set performance objectives to ensure LEP children achieve English fluency within three years. States would also ensure that LEP students meet standards in core content areas that are at least as rigorous as those in classes taught in English.
Imposes Sanctions for Poor Performance. States that do not meet their performance objectives for LEP students could lose up to ten percent of the administrative portion of their funding for all ESEA state administered formula grant programs.
Frees School Districts to Select a Teaching Approach That Meets the Needs of Students. Regulations on the funds mandating a particular method of instruction to educate LEP students will be prohibited.
Promoting Parental Options and Innovative Programs
The purpose of Title IV is to promote parental choice and to increase the amount of flexible funds available to states and school districts for innovative education programs.
Systems are often resistant to change no matter how good the intentions of those who lead them. Competition can be the stimulus a bureaucracy needs in order to change. For that reason, the Administration seeks to increase parental options and influence. Parents, armed with data, are the best forces of accountability in education. And parents, armed with options and choice, can assure that their children get the best, most effective education possible.
Summary of Proposals
Promotes Charter Schools. Funding will be provided to assist charter schools with start-up costs, facilities, and other needs associated with creating high-quality schools.
Broadens Education Savings Accounts. The amount of funding that can be contributed annually to these accounts will be increased to $5,000 and allowable uses of funds will be expanded to include education-related expenses in Kindergarten through 12th grade.*
Expands School Choice. A school choice fund will be created and administered by the Secretary of Education to demonstrate, develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate information on innovative approaches that promote school choice.
Consolidates Categorical Grant Programs to Send More Dollars to Classrooms. Overlapping and duplicative grant programs will be consolidated into one flexible grant for innovative programs and sent to states and school districts. Funds may be used for local innovative programs, as well as to provide choice to students in persistently failing or dangerous schools so they can attend adequate, safe schools of choice.
Expands Public-Private Partnership in School Construction. States are currently allowed to issue a certain number of tax-exempt bonds for private contractors to build public facilities, such as airports and low-income housing. Public school construction is currently not an allowable use of such bonds. By allowing private activity bonds to be used for public school construction, local districts across America will be able to leverage additional funds to be used for school construction and repair. The amount of bonds in each state able to be used for public-private partnerships in school construction would be based on the state population.*
Safe Schools for the 21st Century
Part A: Supporting Drug and Violence Prevention and Education for Students and Communities
The purpose of Title V is to help children meet challenging academic standards by empowering states and school districts with the means to provide a high-quality education that is also safe and drug free.
This proposal seeks to ease the burden of administering two separate but similar programs that clearly overlap each other in statute and practice. It streamlines the Safe and Drug Free Schools program and the 21st Century Learning Centers program into a performance-based grant for before and after-school learning opportunities, as well as for violence and drug prevention activities. States are held accountable for using research-based programs to improve academic achievement, improve school safety, and reduce drug use. In addition, this Title ensures that parents know whether their child attends a safe school, and frees students from those that are dangerous.
Summary of Proposals
Consolidates and Simplifies Funding for the Safe and Drug Free Schools Program and the 21st Century Learning Centers Program. School districts will be able to use federal dollars on after-school learning opportunities and drug and violence prevention activities.
Establishes Accountability for School Safety and Achievement. In order to receive funds for this program, states must develop a definition for a "persistently dangerous school" and must report on safety on a school-by-school basis. Victims of serious, school-based crimes and students trapped in persistently dangerous schools will be provided the option to transfer to a safe alternative.
Grants Teachers Control Over Their Classrooms. Teachers will be empowered by the states to remove violent or persistently disruptive students from the classroom. In order to receive funds from this program, states must adopt a zero-tolerance policy for violent or persistently disruptive students.
Focuses on What Works. An emphasis will be placed on preventing drug use and violence among youth and ensuring that schools utilize funds for programs that have demonstrated proven effectiveness in making schools safer. Funds may be used for after school programs, to provide students with safety and anti-substance abuse activities before, during and after school; and to educate students about the dangers of drugs, especially newly emerging drugs.
Allows Community-Based Organizations to Receive Grants for After-School Programs. Before and after-school learning opportunities will be expanded by granting states and school districts freedom to award grants to faith-based and community-based organizations.
Facilitates Crime Prevention and Prosecution. The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) will be amended to make it easier for public school districts and local law enforcement authorities to share information regarding disciplinary actions and misconduct by students.*
Strengthens Gun Law Enforcement. Project Sentry, a new federal-state partnership will be established to identify, prosecute, punish, and supervise juveniles who violate state and federal firearms laws. *
Increases Funds for Character Education. Funding for character education grants to states and districts to train teachers in methods of incorporating character-building lessons and activities in the classroom would be increased.
Enhancing Education Through Technology
(Part B: Grants for Education Technology)
The Administration believes schools should use technology as a tool to improve academic achievement, and that using the latest technology in the classroom should not be an end unto itself.
This proposal begins to accomplish that goal by streamlining duplicative technology programs into a performance-based technology grant program that sends more money to schools. Consolidating the technology grant programs and allocating with E-rate funds by formula ensures that schools will not have to submit multiple grant applications and incur the associated administrative burdens to obtain education technology funding. Furthermore, a single program will facilitate comprehensive and integrated education technology strategies that target the specific needs of individual schools.
Summary of Proposals
Sends More Dollars to Schools for Technology. Consolidated technology grant programs and E-rate funds will be allocated by formula to states and school districts to ensure that more technology funds reach the classroom. Funds will be targeted to high-need schools, including rural schools and schools serving high percentages of low-income students.
Reduces Paperwork and Increases Flexibility. Burdensome paperwork requirements will be eliminated by sending E-rate funds to schools by a formula instead of the current application process. Flexibility will be increased by allowing funds to be used for purposes that include software purchases and development, wiring and technology infrastructure, and teacher training in the use of technology.
Allows Funds to be Used for Internet Filters. In support of Childrens Internet Protection Act of 2000, funds may be used to purchase filters to protect children from obscene and adult material on the Internet.
Focuses Funds on Proven Means of Enhancing Education Through Advanced Technology. States will be encouraged to set performance goals to measure how federal technology funds are being used to improve student achievement.
Offers Matching Grants for Community Technology Centers. Matching federal grants will be provided through the Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to establish Community Technology Centers in high poverty areas.*
Rebuilding Schools for Native Americans and Children from Military Families
The federal government has a special obligation to certain schools those schools that educate the children of families who serve in the United States military and those that educate Native American children.
However, the federal obligation to these schools has often not been met, most notably in the area of school construction. These shortfalls can be addressed by increasing funds for construction in the Impact Aid Program and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Approximately 700,000 dependents of military personnel are educated in public schools. More than three-quarters of these students are educated in 600 school districts located on or near military facilities. Funded by the Department of Education, these "Military Impacted Schools" are located throughout the country. Schools educating military dependents generally receive federal school construction funding from the Department of Defenses Education Activity program for DODEA schools located on military facilities, and through the Department of Educations "Impact Aid" program for other public schools located on or near such facilities.
During the 1999 school year, more than 50,000 children attended 185 Native American schools in 23 states. The majority of these schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are concentrated in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington State. Enrollment in BIA schools is growing, having increased by 25 percent since 1987. While more children are attending BIA schools, they are doing so in physical environments that are among the worst in the nation.
Summary of Proposals
Increases Funds to the Impact Aid Construction Program. Funds will improve the quality of public school buildings and eliminate the backlog of repairs and construction for schools on or near military facilities and those serving children from Native American lands.
Establishes a Tribal Capital Improvement Fund. Funds will help replace schools and eliminate the backlog of school repairs in Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. *
Freedom and Accountability
The purpose of Title VII is to establish a system for how states and school districts will be held accountable for improving student achievement.
States and school districts will be granted unprecedented flexibility by this proposal in how they may spend federal education funds. Accountability for student results is expected in return. States will submit plans that address specific accountability requirements. States and schools that make significant progress will be honored with rewards. The Secretary of Education will be authorized to withhold administrative funds from states that fail to make adequate progress.
Sanctions and rewards will be based on state assessment results as confirmed by the results of an annual sample of students in each state on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th and 8th grade assessment in reading and math.
Summary of Proposals
Frees Schools, Local School Districts, and States with More Flexibility:
Creates a Charter Option for States and Districts on the Cutting-Edge of Accountability and Reform. Interested states or school districts will be able to enter into a charter agreement with the Secretary of Education. The agreement would offer freedom from the current requirements placed on categorical grant programs in return for submitting a five-year performance agreement to the Secretary establishing specific goals for increased student performance. During the course of the charter, states or school districts will be subject to strict accountability for improving student achievement, review during the course of the charter, and sanctions for failing to meet the terms of the agreement. A state or school district would lose "charter" status if student achievement and other performance indicators did not improve as agreed to in the charter.
Increases Funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA funds will be increased in order to reduce the burden that states and local districts bear in meeting the special needs of their disabled students. *
Increases Accountability for Improved Student Achievement:
Expects States to Improve Academic Achievement. In a manner similar to that in current law, states will, within a reasonable period of transition, submit to the Secretary of Education a consolidated state plan for all ESEA funds. The plan will include assurances that the state:
Creates Sanctions for Low-Performing States. The Secretary of Education will be authorized to reduce the amount a state may use for administration of ESEA programs if a state fails to meet its performance objectives. Sanctions will be based on whether a state meets its performance objectives for improving the achievement of disadvantaged students and English language proficiency.
Rewards for High-Performing States and Schools:
Creates an Achievement in Education Fund. The "Achievement in Education" fund will reward high-performing States that have made the greatest progress in closing achievement gaps and improving English proficiency. Performance will be evaluated using state assessment results. Those results will be confirmed with other indicators of academic achievement and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Grants Bonuses for Early Implementation of Annual Assessments. States that implement annual reading and math assessments in grades 3-8 before the end of the second year after this plans enactment will be eligible to receive a one-time bonus.
Awards "No Child Left Behind" School Bonuses. This proposal reforms the current Blue Ribbon Schools program. The Secretary of Education will administer a "No Child Left Behind" bonus fund that would honor and provide financial rewards to schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap.