Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Summary February 5, 2007
Section II. A. Elementary and Secondary Education
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which was signed into law by President Bush on January 8, 2002, reauthorized Federal elementary and secondary education programs to incorporate stronger accountability, more choices for students and families, greater flexibility for States and school districts, and the use of research-based instructional practices.
Before NCLB, less than half of the States measured the achievement of their students against clear academic standards. Only 20 States produced public report cards that included assessment data disaggregated by race/ethnicity, family income, and disability and limited English proficiency status. Student achievement in core subjects like reading and mathematics had changed little over the previous decade, and achievement gaps between student groupswhich could be ignored if they were not reportedwere widening.
Five years later, every State has clear academic standards and has implemented reading and math assessments in grades 3-8 and once in high school that are used to hold school districts and schools accountable for student academic achievement. Every State not only reports assessment results annually on a disaggregated basis, but also has put into place definitions of adequate yearly progress (AYP) that require strong subgroup accountability, so that schools earn high marks only if all student groups (not just students in general) are making good progress toward the NCLB goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.
The early results of these changes are promising. Individual States, school districts, and schools have made good progress in moving all students toward proficiency in reading and mathematics, and nationwide data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show rising student achievement and narrowing achievement gaps. For example, in 4th-grade and 8th-grade math scores rose to all-time highs in 2005, while achievement gaps between African-American and Hispanic 9-year-olds and their white peers fell to all-time lows in both reading and math from 1999 to 2004.
Now the Administration and the Congress must work together to build on this progress during the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the underlying authority for most Federal elementary and secondary education programs that was reauthorized by NCLB.
The Administration has put forward an ESEA reauthorization proposal that, drawing on the data and experience gathered during the implementation of NCLB, focuses on (1) turning around low- performing schools and (2) improving the academic achievement of students in our high schools. To reach these goals, the Administration's reauthorization proposal, supported by the 2008 budget request, includes three broad themes:
The 2008 request would support these goals with significant new resources in key areas, including a $13.9 billion request for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that would both support a comprehensive Title I reauthorization proposal and greatly expand the role of Title I at the high school level, a $500 million request for a reauthorized School Improvement Grants program that would strengthen State capacity to support LEA and school improvement while also providing additional resources to school districts and schools, a $365 million increase for the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, and $300 million for new efforts to expand educational choice options for parents of low-income students.
Highlights of the budget for elementary and secondary education programs include:
A $68.4 million increase for the Striving Readers program, funded for the first time in fiscal year 2005, to expand the development and implementation of research-based interventions to improve the skills of teenage students who are reading below grade level.
$1.0 billion for Reading First State Grants and $117.7 million for Early Reading First to maintain support for comprehensive reading instruction, grounded in scientifically based reading research, that enables all young children to read well by the end of third grade. The request for Early Reading First, which consolidates this program with the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development program, would also help strengthen partnerships between preschool providers and institutions of higher education that provide professional development to early childhood educators.
$2.8 billion for Improving Teacher Quality State Grants to help States ensure that all teachers of core academic subjects are highly qualified and to strengthen teachers' subject-matter knowledge and teaching skills. The request also includes $199 million to increase support for the Teacher Incentive Fund to encourage States and school districts to develop and implement performance-based financial incentives for teachers and principals. This program helps close the equity gap in access to the best teachers and principals by rewarding those who raise student achievement, close achievement gaps, and work in hard-to-staff schools.
Title I, Part A of the ESEA provides supplemental education funding, especially in high-poverty areas, for locally designed programs that offer extra academic support to help raise the achievement of students at risk of educational failure or, in the case of schoolwide programs, to help all students in high-poverty schools meet challenging State academic standards. This formula-based program serves more than 18 million students in nearly all school districts and more than 54,000 public schoolsincluding two-thirds of the Nation's elementary schools.
Title I schools help students reach challenging State standards through one of two models: "targeted assistance" that supplements the regular education program of individual children deemed most in need of special assistance; or a "schoolwide" approach that allows schools to use Title I fundsin combination with other Federal, State, and local fundsto improve the overall instructional program for all children in a school. More than 30,000 schools participating in Title I use the schoolwide approach.
Both schoolwide and targeted assistance programs must employ effective methods and instructional strategies grounded in scientifically based research, including activities that supplement regular instruction, such as after-school, weekend, and summer programs. Schools also must provide ongoing professional development for staff working with disadvantaged students and implement programs and activities designed to increase parental involvement.
Participating schools must make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward annual, State- established proficiency goals aimed at ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year. Schools that do not make AYP for at least 2 consecutive years must develop and implement improvement plans, and school districts must permit students attending such schools to transfer to a better-performing public school, with transportation provided by the district.
Schools that do not improve are subject to increasingly tough corrective actionssuch as replacing school staff or significantly decreasing management authority at the school leveland can ultimately face restructuring, which involves a fundamental change in governance, such as a State takeover or placement under private management. Students attending schools that have not made AYP for 3 or more years may obtain supplemental educational services (SES)paid for by the districtfrom the public- or private-sector provider selected by their parents from a State-approved list.
States must reserve 4 percent of the Title I funds allocated to their LEAs for school improvement activities, and must subgrant 95 percent of these funds to LEAs with schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. Under the 2008 request, the amount for this set-aside would approximately $550 million.
NCLB Accountability Successfully ImplementedAfter 5 years of hard work, the Department and its State and local partners have largely succeeded in implementing the strong accountability, expanded choice, and focus on improvement envisioned by No Child Left Behind.
The results of these efforts are equally impressive. Parents now have more information than ever before about the achievement of their children and the performance of their schools. Thanks to NCLB, nearly 450,000 eligible students in low-performing have taken advantage of the opportunity to obtain free supplemental educational services or exercise a public school choice option. Reading and math scores for 9-year-olds and fourth-graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have increased, and achievement gaps between 9-year-old African- American and Hispanic students and their white peers have narrowed.
Results like these and strong evidence that the program is well implemented helped Title I Grants to LEAs earn a Moderately Effective rating from the Administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) in 2006. The PART found that the program is well structured to meet its goals, is effectively and efficiently implemented, has established meaningful long-term performance measures and annual targets, and is making progress in increasing achievement among the students served by the program.
The 2008 request for $13.9 billion would support a comprehensive reauthorization proposal for Title I Grants to LEAs that would expand the impact of Title I at the high school level, strengthen adequate yearly progress determinations while giving States greater flexibility in defining AYP, make available more meaningful choice options to students in low-performing schools, and encourage adoption of fundamental staffing and governance changes in schools undergoing restructuring.
A New Focus on High School
Nearly all of the $1.2 billion, or 9.4 percent, increase proposed for 2008 would be used to realign Title I funding so that local allocations to high schools more closely reflect their enrollment of students from low-income families. Districts and schools have made solid achievement gains in recent years in the early grades, where LEAs currently target the large majority of their Title I allocations. The Administration believes that ensuring that high schools receive their fair share of Title I resources will help extend those achievement gains to the high school level and contribute to the preparation of all high school students for postsecondary education or competitive employment in the global economy. The increase, along with State Assessment Grants funding, also would support new assessments in reading and math at two additional high school years, including an 11th-grade assessment of college readiness in each subject. To help focus attention on and bring down the unacceptably high dropout rate, the Administration's proposal also would insist on continuous improvement in the graduation rate as a condition of making AYP at the high school level.
In addition to requiring improvement in the graduation rate for high schools to make AYP, the Administration's reauthorization proposal includes three other changes intended to strengthen measurement of adequate yearly progress.
First, States would be required to include the results of science assessments in their AYP determinations beginning with the 2008-09 school year, with the goal of ensuring that all students are proficient in science by 2020.
Second, States would be permitted to incorporate student academic growth into their AYP definitions so long as they adhere to key No Child Left Behind accountability principles such as the inclusion of all students, subgroup accountability, and ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.
Third, States would be allowed to incorporate into their AYP definitions for limited English proficient students (LEP) the progress of those students in attaining English language proficiency. This measure recognizes the well-established connection between improving English language proficiency and rising content assessment scores, and would provide an incentive for schools to accelerate English language acquisition for their LEP students.
Ensuring Meaningful Choice for Parents and Students
The revolutionary expansion of choice options under the No Child Left Behind Act has been limited by both weak implementation and limited capacity. In too many districts, there are few or no higher-performing schools to which students in schools identified for improvement may transfer, and LEA efforts to promote supplemental educational services (SES) options is not always consistent with the spirit of the law.
To help address these concerns, the Administration's reauthorization proposal would require LEAs to offer SES in the first year of improvement, permit LEAs to use up to 1 percent of their 20-percent reservation for public school choice and SES for parent outreach activities, generally require that the entire 20-percent reservation be used only for choice and SES, increase the per- student cap on SES expenditures for students with disabilities, LEP students, and rural students, and ensure a more level playing field for non-LEA SES providers.
The Administration's proposal also would recognize that not all schools identified for improvement are the same. First, schools that have been identified for improvement due to one or more subgroups missing AYP, but that are making AYP for the "all students" group, would be allowed to offer SES and public school choice options only to students who are not proficient in at least one tested subject. Second, schools that have been identified for improvement or corrective action only because of the achievement of one subgroup would be permitted to serve as receiving schools under the public school choice transfer option. Only LEAs that notify parents of their choice and SES options no later than 30 days prior to the beginning of the school year will be permitted to take advantage of this new flexibility.
The Administration also is proposing to require LEAs to offer private school choice to students from low-income families in grades 3-12 who are attending schools that are in restructuring status. The rapidly growing number of schools identified for restructuring means that an estimated 2.5 million students will be attending such chronically low- performing schools by the 2008-09 school year. Most of the these students attend schools in urban or rural areas with few available public school choice options within their districts, sharply limiting the effectiveness of current choice options. The proposed amendment would require LEAs serving such schools to offer eligible students from low- income families a scholarship that could be used to transfer to a better-performing private or out-of-district public school.
These scholarships would consist of (1) the LEA's per-student Title I allocation, (2) any funds provided to the LEA attributable to that student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and (3) allocations from a new, separately funded $250 million Promise Scholarships program. In most cases, the total scholarship would be approximately $4,000 per student. Scholarship recipients would be required to take State assessments or a nationally normed test in each grade and subject required by the ESEA.
In addition to expanding choices for students in schools undergoing restructuring, the Administration's ESEA reauthorization proposal would strengthen the restructuring process by limiting the use of the "any other major restructuring option" to those schools that enter restructuring due to the performance of a single subgroup. This change would help ensure that the worst performing schools (those that have missed AYP for multiple subgroups for 6 or more years) undertake fundamental, structural reforms that have the greatest likelihood of bringing about real improvement.
The 2008 budget also includes a separate $9.3 million request for Title I Evaluation, primarily to support studies designed to produce rigorous scientific evidence on the effectiveness of education programs and practices, including practices critical to the effective use of Title I, Part A funds.
Section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes a separate State formula grant program making awards to States to provide assistance for local school improvement activities required by section 1116(b) of the ESEA for Title I schools that do not make adequate yearly progress for at least 2 consecutive years. Authorized activities include the development and implementation of school improvement plans, professional development for teachers and staff, corrective actions such as instituting a new curriculum, development and implementation of restructuring plans, and the provision of public school choice and supplemental educational service options for students enrolled in schools that have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
The Administration is proposing to reauthorize the section 1003(g) School Improvement Grants authority to (1) build State capacity to lead LEA and school improvement and (2) provide additional resources to LEAs to support school improvement activities, including the development and implementation of effective restructuring plans. Under this proposal, States would be permitted to retain up to 50 percent of their allocations to carry out their responsibilities under sections 1116 and 1117 to establish statewide systems of support for LEA and school improvement. Remaining funds would be used to make competitive awards to LEAs.
The reauthorization proposal also would require States to develop plans to ensure that activities supported by School Improvement Grants are (1) integrated with local awards under the section 1003(a) reservation for school improvement, and (2) grounded in scientifically based research on improving student achievement. The Department would support the latter requirement by reserving up to 1 percent of School Improvement Grant funding for the identification and dissemination of promising school improvement practices.
The ESEA, as reauthorized by the NCLB Act, requires a strong State role in developing and delivering comprehensive leadership and technical assistance in the area of LEA and school improvement. States must establish a statewide system of intensive and sustained support and improvement for local educational agencies and schools receiving funds under Part A of Title I, including the creation of school support teams to provide expert advice and other assistance to help LEAs and schools develop and implement improvement plans.
However, States are required to subgrant 95 percent of existing school improvement funding [the 4 percent reservation under section 1003(a)] to LEAs, leaving few resources at the State level to operate effective, comprehensive statewide improvement systems. This lack of funding helps explain why the National Assessment of Title I Interim Report found that the school support teams required by NCLB were operating in just two-thirds of the States during the 2004-05 school year, and that just 13 States fielded school support teams that were able to serve all schools identified for improvement, while 21 States provided support to only a subset of identified schools.
Rising numbers of schools identified for improvement will place even more pressure on the limited State-level resources currently available for school improvement. For example, preliminary Department data show that the number of schools identified for improvement nationwide grew from 9,071 in the 2005-2006 school year to 10,214 in the 2006-2007 school year. This 13 percent increase does not include data for 9 States, and thus will likely be considerably higher once all States have reported.
Those same data also highlight the growing demand for the more comprehensive improvement measures required under corrective action and restructuring. While the number of schools identified for restructuring grew only modestly, from roughly 1,700 to 2,000 schools, the number of schools in corrective action more than doubled, from 1,231 to 2,586. Since schools in corrective action have only 1 year to make AYP before being identified for restructuring, the data suggest that the 2007-2008 school year may well bring an increase of 50 percent or more in the number of schools so identified. Individual States may face even greater challenges. For example, in the 2005-2006 school year, Illinois reported a tenfold increase in the number of schools in restructuring, from 21 schools to 238 schools.
The Department expects these improvement trends to continue, and estimates that the number of schools identified for restructuring will more than double by fiscal year 2008 to 5,000 schools. While this estimate may seem high, it would represent less than 10 percent of the 54,000 schools participating in Title I and subject to NCLB accountability requirements.
The reauthorized School Improvement Grants program would help ensure that States are able to carry out their statutory improvement responsibilities while providing significant new support for LEA efforts to fundamentally restructure chronically low-performing schools.
The Promise Scholarships program would provide students from low-income families who are enrolled in persistently low-performing schools with scholarships that they can use to pay tuition, fees, and other costs (including transportation expenses) to attend private or out-of-district public schools, or to purchase intensive supplemental educational services (SES). As discussed under Title I Grants to LEAs, these scholarships would complement funds made available through the Title I program and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Students attending persistently low-performing schools must have the opportunity to pursue other educational opportunities while those schools are being restructured. While current law requires LEAs to provide students who attend such schools the option of attending a higher-performing public school, many LEAs, particularly urban LEAs, have few such options available and thus few meaningful choices for parents.
Under the Administration's reauthorization proposal for Title I, low-income students attending schools in restructuring status (schools that have failed to make adequate yearly progress for at least 5 years) would use a combination of Promise Scholarships, the per-child LEA allocation under Title I, Part A of the ESEA, and any applicable per-child IDEA allocation, to transfer to another public or private school.
Parents who choose to send their child to a private school or an out-of-district public school would receive a $2,500 Promise Scholarship, the LEA's Title I per-student allocation and, for a student with a disability, the LEA's per-child IDEA allocation. In most cases, the total scholarship would equal at least $4,000 per student. These funds could be used to pay tuition, fees, and other costs (including transportation expenses) of attending the new school. Scholarship recipients would be required to take State assessments or a nationally normed test in each grade and subject required under Title I.
Scholarship recipients could choose instead to obtain intensive, sustained supplemental educational services. Under the regular SES program, services often are of limited duration. The Department's 2004 Early Implementation of the Supplemental Educational Services Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act: Year One Report found that the median number of hours of tutoring services purchased per student was about 40 hours. Promise Scholarships would permit eligible students to obtain more intensive, sustained services with a greater likelihood of improving academic achievement.
Parents who choose to obtain intensive SES for their child would receive a Promise Scholarship of up to $3,000 for tutoring assistance provided by eligible entities. Students who receive supplemental educational services under this program would not be able to receive similar services under the regular SES program.
Program funds would be allocated to States through a formula based on their relative shares of low-income students enrolled in schools in restructuring status in the most recent year for which counts of those students are available. States, in turn, would allocate these funds to LEAs, based on the same formula or using another methodology approved by the Department.
This initiative would provide competitive grants to support local efforts to enable students from low-income households who attend a school identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to attend a private or out-of-district public school or to receive intensive, sustained tutoring assistance. Unlike Promise Scholarships, which would work in tandem with the Title I Grants to LEAs program, the Opportunity Scholarships proposal would create a stand-alone program intended to promote a broad range of innovative State and local choice initiatives.
A growing body of evidence shows that providing parents and students with expanded choice options can improve the academic performance of the students exercising choice and the performance of schools at risk of losing students. For example, the GAO identified three studies for its September 2002 report, School Vouchers: Characteristics of Privately Funded Programs, that "provide some evidence that African-American students who used vouchers to attend private schools showed greater improvements in math and reading than students in the comparison group." Further, the studies also found "that parents of voucher users of all racial and ethnic groups were consistently more satisfied with their children's education than parents of comparison group students."
The Department would make competitive awards to States, local educational agencies (LEAs), and public or private nonprofit organizations (including community-and faith- based organizations and mayor's offices). In making awards, priority would be given to applicants that propose to serve students in LEAs that operate large numbers or percentages of schools that have been identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
Parents who choose to send their child to a private school would receive a scholarship equal to the sum of tuition, fees, and costs, including necessary transportation expenses for the new school, or the average per-pupil expenditure of public schools in the State where the recipient resides, whichever is less. The Department would give priority to applications that propose to augment the Federal scholarships with additional funds in order to ensure that parents can pay the tuition and fees at the school of their choice.
Parents who choose to obtain SES would receive up to $3,000 and would use those funds for supplemental educational services from private providers. Students who receive supplemental educational services under this program would not be able to receive similar services under the regular SES program.
The Administration believes that the ESEA reauthorization should include both Promise Scholarships and Opportunity Scholarships because the two initiatives complement one another and, taken together, would markedly expand the options available to eligible students.
This program provides formula grants to States to pay the cost of developing the additional standards and assessments required by NCLB and, if a State has put in place such standards and assessments, to pay for the administration of those assessments or other related activities. Funds also may be used to develop standards and assessments in subjects other than those required by NCLB and to improve the reliability and validity of assessment systems. Other allowable uses include paying the costs of working in voluntary partnership with other States to develop standards and assessments, professional development aligned with State standards and assessments, and support for data reporting and other components of the State accountability systems required under NCLB.
Under NCLB, States select or develop their own assessments aligned with State academic achievement standards. States were required to put in place annual assessments in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in one high school grade by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. States also must implement science assessments in three grade spans (3-5, 6-9, 10-12) by the 2007-2008 school year.
The 2008 request would provide $400 million to support, as part of the Administration's ESEA reauthorization proposal, development of 2 years of high school assessments in reading and mathematics, including a mandatory 11th grade college readiness test in both subjects. These new high school assessments would give students, parents, and teachers the achievement data they need to help ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for either postsecondary education or the workplace.
A 2004 PART analysis of State Assessment Grants produced a rating of Adequate, finding that the program has a clear purpose, is operated well, and meets an important need.
The Reading First initiative remains a strong priority for 2008 because the program's early performance data show clear early reading gains (across all grades and targeted populations) after only a few years of implementation. In addition, nationwide data show a continuing need for the program, as too many young children do not master readingthe most basic and essential skill required for more advanced learningduring their early elementary school years. For example, 61 percent of all fourth graders in high-poverty schools scored below the "basic" reading level on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Research shows that students who cannot read well by fourth grade have a greater likelihood of dropping out and facing a lifetime of diminished success. Reading First activities help increase reading gains, reduce the number of children who fall behind in reading, provide additional help to children who need it, and lower the number of children referred to special education due to low reading scores.
The request includes more than $1.1 billion for the two components of Reading First. The Reading First State Grants program is a comprehensive, nationwide effort to implement high-quality, research-based reading instruction to help ensure that every child can read at grade level or above by the end of 3rd grade.
The Reading First State Grants program received a PART rating of Effective in 2006, reflecting in large part the clear early reading gains documented by performance data. Those early resultsachieved after just a few years of program implementationprovide substantial justification for the 2008 request.
State formula grant funds are used to help school districts and schools provide professional development in reading instruction for teachers and administrators, adopt and use diagnostic reading assessments for students in kindergarten through third grade to determine where they need help, implement reading curricula that are grounded in scientifically based research, and provide reading interventions for young grade-school children.
In addition, as required by statute, the Department would reserve $5 million for the National Institute for Literacy and $2.5 million for Targeted Assistance Grants, which are competitive grants to States that demonstrate exemplary progress in reading achievement.
The Administration is proposing to reauthorize Reading First State Grants with only minor amendments to increase accountability in large LEAs, improve targeting of program funds to the schools most in need of support, and expand flexibility in the Targeted Assistance Grants program.
Early Reading First complements Reading First State Grants by providing competitive grants to school districts and non-profit organizations to support activities in preschool programs designed to enhance the verbal skills, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and pre-reading skills of children from birth through age 5. Funds are targeted to communities with high numbers of low-income families. The 2006 PART rated Early Reading First Moderately Effective. The 2008 request would support up to 36 new Early Reading First projects.
The Administration's reauthorization proposal for Early Reading First would strengthen partnerships between preschool providers and institutions of higher education that provide professional development to early childhood educators, consolidating funding for the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development program into Early Reading First, and requiring all Early Reading First projects to have a strong educator professional development component. This consolidation would promote more efficient administration of ESEA early childhood discretionary grants and ensure that such activities include an appropriate focus on scientifically based reading readiness and high-quality professional development.
The request includes a $68 million expansion for this program, first funded in 2005, which supports research-based interventions to help improve the skills of secondary school students who are reading below grade level. Such students often are at risk of dropping out of school because of their poor reading skills, which can affect their performance in all subject areas.
The request would fund competitive awards for: (1) the development, implementation, and testing of research-based reading interventions designed to improve the reading skills of students reading significantly below grade level; (2) rigorous evaluations, including evaluations that use experimental research designs, of reading interventions being implemented in the Nation's secondary schools to determine their efficacy; and (3) activities to improve the quality of literacy instruction across the curriculum in schools receiving program funds. The Administration's ESEA reauthorization proposal would create a separate authority for the Striving Readers program, which is currently funded under the Title I Demonstration authority.
This proposal, which is part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, would help prepare students for rigorous high school mathematics courses by providing competitive grants to partnerships to improve instruction in mathematics for students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Grantees would use the funds to expand the use of proven practices in math instruction, including those that will be recommended by the National Mathematics Panel, to help teachers prepare all students in algebraic concepts so that every student can take and pass Algebra in secondary school.
This request would support the American Competitiveness Initiative by making competitive grants to partnerships to improve mathematics instruction for middle-school students whose achievement is significantly below grade level. Funds would support comprehensive mathematics initiatives that are based on the best available evidence on mathematics instruction for middle-school students, including forthcoming recommendations from the National Mathematics Panel, and that improve the quality of mathematics instruction, provide intensive interventions to middle-school students whose achievement is significantly below grade level, and help build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent mathematics skills.
This program helps teachers in high-poverty high schools obtain the training needed to teach Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Program funds also support competitive grants to State educational agencies to pay AP and IB test fees for low-income students, as well as State and local efforts to make pre-advanced placement and advanced placement courses more widely available to low-income students. AP and IB programs increase the rigor of high school curricula and offer a proven avenue to postsecondary success for low-income students.
The $90 million increase requested for 2008 would fund new competitive awards to expand AP and IB offerings in mathematics, science, and critical foreign languages. Funded projects would include incentives for teachers to become qualified to teach AP/IB courses in these subjects and rewards for teachers whose students pass AP/IB tests in those subjects. The request reflects the Administration's confidence in a proven model that produces results backed by data and that is immediately scalable on a national basis. The request also would require grantees to match program funds, with two State, local, or private dollars for every Federal dollar.
The PART analysis of the Advanced Placement program, completed in 2005, produced a Moderately Effective rating, primarily based on high scores in program purpose and design, strategic planning, and program management.
This new initiative would create an Adjunct Teacher Corps that would draw on the skills of well- qualified individuals outside of the public education system to meet specialized teaching needs in secondary schools. Instead of the usual focus on certification or licensure of such individuals, the initiative would concentrate on helping schools find experienced professionals who can bring real-world experience to their explanation of abstract mathematical concepts or scientific principles in hard-to-fill teaching positions.
Funds would be used to make competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and States (or of school districts and appropriate public or private institutions) to create opportunities for professionals with subject-matter expertise to teach secondary-school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and science. Adjunct teachers might teach one or more courses on the school site on a part-time basis, teach full-time in secondary schools while on leave from their jobs, or teach courses that would be available online or through other distance learning arrangements.
NCLB required States and school districts to ensure that all teachers were highly qualifiedas defined by individual States according to statutory requirementsby the end of the 2005-2006 school year. While all States have not yet met this requirement, more than 90 percent of teachers nationwide are now highly qualified, and nearly all States have put in place comprehensive plans for meeting the 100 percent target. The Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program is a major source of flexible Federal funding to help States and school districts strengthen the skills of the teaching force and meet the highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements. Program funds support high-quality professional development as a central and indispensable element of the larger effort to help all students achieve. Research indicates that such professional development can contribute to improvement in teaching skills that raises student achievement.
State-level activities may include changes to teacher certification or licensure requirements, alternative certification, tenure reform, merit-based teacher performance systems, and differential and bonus pay for teachers in high-need subject areas. School districts may use funds for professional development, recruitment and retraining of teachers and principals, merit pay, mentoring, and other activities.
The proposed $100 million reduction reflects a decision to increase investment in the Teacher Incentive Fund to expand support for State and local initiatives to introduce performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems and provide incentives for the most effective teachers to serve in the most challenging schools. Because most teachers are now considered to be highly qualified, it is appropriate to shift a portion of funds to the Teacher Incentive Fund in order to encourage these important reforms in compensation practices.
The Department also would continue developing the knowledge base on teacher effectiveness by reserving up to $13.9 million (one-half of 1 percent) of the fiscal year 2008 appropriation for evaluation and related activities.
The initial PART review of this program, in 2003, rated it Results Not Demonstrated. A second review in 2005 gave the program a Moderately Effective rating, based on documented progress in reaching performance targets and evidence that the Department has initiated rigorous program evaluations and improved its technical assistance to help States and districts meet program requirements.
The Administration's reauthorization proposal generally would eliminate the "high objective uniform State standard of evaluation" (HOUSSE) option for determining a veteran teacher's highly qualified status because this option, in practice, has allowed States to apply less rigorous HQT standards in rating veteran teachers. In place of HOUSSE, experienced elementary school teachers would be considered highly qualified if they hold a bachelor's degree, are certified, and pass a subject knowledge and teaching skills test. Experienced secondary school teachers would meet HQT standards if they hold a bachelor's degree, are certified, and either pass an academic subject test or complete coursework in the subjects taught.
In addition, the reauthorization proposal would add a priority for States and school districts to use their Improving Teacher Quality State Grants for activities that will strengthen teacher quality in mathematics, science, or critical foreign languages.
This program provides grants to encourage school districts and States to develop and implement innovative performance-based compensation systems that reward teachers and principals for raising student achievement and for taking positions in high-need schools. States and LEAs, either alone or in partnership with non-profit organizations, may apply for competitive grants to develop and implement performance-based compensation systems for public school teachers and principals. These compensation systems must be based primarily on measures related to student achievement.
This program provides State formula grants to help States and localities improve academic achievement in mathematics and science. It promotes development of strong teaching skills by elementary and secondary school teachers, including skill in integrating teaching methods based on scientifically based research and technology into the curriculum. Partnerships focus on developing rigorous mathematics and science curricula, distance learning programs, and incentives to recruit college graduates with degrees in math and science into the teaching profession.
A 2006 PART review of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating due to limited performance and evaluation data. In response, the Department has revised the program's performance measures and expects baseline data to be available later in 2007.
This program supports the Department of Defense's Troops-to-Teachers program, which helps to improve public school education by recruiting, preparing, and supporting members of the military service as teachers in high-poverty public schools. A 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office found that the program contributes significantly to the diversity of the population of new teachers, with high percentages of men and minorities as participants. Teachers recruited through the Troops-to-Teachers program also teach math, science, and special education in significantly higher proportions than traditional public school teachers.
A 2003 PART analysis of the Troops-to-Teachers program produced an Adequate rating, concluding that, while the program is accomplishing its objectives, it would benefit from short- and long-term performance measures and more transparent reporting of results. The Department has responded to these findings by establishing performance measures and improving reporting.
The Administration's ESEA reauthorization proposal for this program will include amendments to target more effectively high-need school districts and high-need secondary schools while supporting the placement of participants in States and communities across the country.
This program supports alternative routes to teacher certification and other innovative approaches for recruiting, training, and placing mid-career professionals, recent college graduates, and educational paraprofessionals in high-need schools and supporting them during their first years in the classroom. The request would support more than 180 grants to help States and communities recruit and retain capable and qualified teachers in our Nation's public schools.
The program received a PART rating of Adequate in 2005, based on high scores for purpose, measurable goals, and progress in making performance data available to the public. In response to PART findings, the Department has improved the reliability and comparability of performance data and implemented program efficiency measures.
The Administration's reauthorization proposal for Transition to Teaching would expand the pool of LEAs eligible to participate, permit the participation, in some circumstances, of veteran teachers seeking additional credentials, and better align the authorized activities with participating LEAs' plans for recruiting and retaining teachers in high-need schools.
This program makes competitive grants to school districts for professional development to strengthen the teaching of traditional American history as a separate subject in elementary and secondary schools. The Administration recognizes the importance of American history in preparing future generations of students to become responsible citizens and to participate fully in our democracy. However, the number of quality applications for assistance under this program in recent years does not justify the current level of funding. The reduced request would fund up to 52 new awards, roughly the number of high-quality applications likely to be submitted.
A PART analysis completed in 2004 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating for this program, primarily due to the absence of long-term and annual performance targets and data. In response, the Department is collecting new data, setting performance targets, and developing a strategy for making the data available to the public.
This program helps school districts improve literacy skills by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials and professionally certified school library media specialists. The 2008 request would fund an estimated 75-85 competitive grants that would support the efforts of libraries to help children to read well by making information available to all students, training students and teachers about how to obtain and make use of information, and increasing access to technology and information for students in low-income schools.
This program is administered through a contract with Reading is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. RIF allocates funds to local community associations that select and distribute inexpensive books to children free of charge. RIF currently reaches about 4.4 million children through 20,000 projects. By increasing preschool children's access to books, and involving parents as their child's first teachers, this program supports the goal of ensuring that all children read well by the 3rd grade.
RIF also has developed several intervention programs, including "Running Start," which challenges first-grade students to read 21 books in an 8-to-10-week time period; "Shared Beginnings," which helps young parents develop the skills and self-confidence necessary to take an active role in developing their young children's reading readiness; and "Care to Read," which supports children's emerging literacy skills by providing training and resources to early child-care staff in centers and home-based child-care programs.
This program increases public school choice options by supporting the planning, development, and initial implementation of public charter schools. States also may use a portion of their funds for dissemination of information on successful charter school practices. Forty States and the District of Columbia have charter school laws that offer regulatory flexibility in exchange for greater accountability for improving student performance. Over the last decade, the number of charter schools nationwide has grown from only a handful to approximately 3,600. The first $200 million of each year's appropriation is used for competitive grants to States and to individual charter schools in States that elect not to apply, and for national activities. Funding above $200 million currently maintains support for State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants, which provide competitively awarded matching funds to States that offer per-pupil financial assistance to charter schools to obtain facilities. In its ESEA reauthorization proposal, the Administration will seek to eliminate the funding trigger for Incentive Grants, because it does not consistently target funds where the needs are the greatest.
The 2008 request for this program is supported by a 2005 PART analysis that gave the program an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, program management, and demonstrated results, while identifying weaknesses related to data collection and public availability of results. The Department is taking steps to eliminate those weaknesses.
Expanding the number of charter schools is a key Administration strategy for increasing the options available to parents seeking the best educational opportunities for their children. A major obstacle to the creation of charter schools in many communities is limited access to suitable academic facilities. The Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program provides competitive grants to public and nonprofit entities that help charter schools secure the financing needed to purchase, construct, renovate, or lease academic facilities. For example, a grantee might provide guarantees and insurance on bonds and leases. The request would leverage an estimated $333 million and support more than 200 charter schools over the course of the grants.
The request would support continuation of fiscal year 2007 awards to some 40 local educational agencies to operate magnet schools that are part of a court-ordered or approved desegregation plan to eliminate, reduce, or prevent minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools. Magnet schools address their desegregation goals by providing a distinctive educational program that attracts a diverse student population. The Department would use about $1.2 million for evaluation and dissemination activities.
A 2004 PART analysis of this program produced an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, management, and evaluation strategy, while also noting weaknesses in the collection and public dissemination of performance data. The Department is working to improve data collection and to develop a plan for publicizing performance data.
This program supports efforts to establish intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice programs to provide parents, particularly parents whose children attend low-performing public schools, with greater choice for their children's education. Competitive grants support planning and implementation costs associated with new programs, tuition transfer payments to public schools that students choose to attend, and efforts to expand the capacity of schools to meet the demand for choice. The Department will make new awards in 2007, and the notice inviting applications gives priority to plans that would provide interdistrict choice. The 2008 request would provide the second year of funding for these new awards.
The Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) supports nationally significant programs, administered through a combination of discretionary grants and contracts, to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the State and local levels and help all students meet challenging State academic achievement standards. The budget would provide funding for several ongoing activities and two components of the National Security Language Initiative: $5 million for the Language Teacher Corps, which would provide training to college graduates with critical language skills who are interested in becoming foreign language teachers, and $3 million for a Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative that would fund intensive summer training sessions for foreign language teachers, especially teachers of critical need languages.
The request also would provide $10 million for Reach Out and Read, a program that promotes early literacy for infants and preschool children; $10 million for Teach for America, which recruits and trains recent college graduates to teach in high-need communities; and $2 million to continue a Data Quality Initiative launched in fiscal year 2006 that is intended to improve the quality of Department evaluations and data collections for its elementary and secondary education programs.
This program provides 3-year competitive grants to State educational agencies to support systemic approaches to improving foreign language learning in States, and to local educational agencies to establish, improve, and expand foreign language instruction. As part of the President's National Security Language Initiative, the Department will continue to give priority to State and local proposals to provide instruction in critical foreign languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian, as well as languages in the Indic, Iranian, and Turkic families.
This program helps communities establish or expand centers that provide extended learning opportunities for students and related services to their families. From their formula grants, States make competitive awards of at least $50,000 to school districts, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other public or private entities for projects that primarily serve students attending high-poverty schools. States give priority to projects serving students who attend schools identified for improvement or corrective action under Title I, and projects emphasize activities that prepare students to meet State and local achievement standards in core academic subjects. The request would enable districts to provide after-school learning opportunitiesparticularly for children who attend high-poverty or low-performing schoolsto 1.3 million students in 9,600 after-school centers.
A 2003 PART analysis gave this program an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, planning, and management, while identifying weaknesses related to accountability. The program has taken steps to improve its data collection system and to use data and program evaluations to improve program management.
The Comprehensive Centers, selected competitively in 2005, are structured to provide intensive technical assistance to increase the capacity of State educational agencies (SEAs) to help districts and schools meet the key goals of No Child Left Behind, including 100-percent proficiency in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year, highly qualified teachers in every classroom, the use of research-based instructional methods and curricula, and increased choices for students and parents.
The system includes 16 regional centers that work with SEAs within specified geographic regions to help them implement NCLB school improvement measures and objectives. In addition, 5 content centers provide in-depth, specialized support in key areas, with separate centers focusing on (1) assessment and accountability; (2) instruction; (3) teacher quality; (4) innovation and improvement; and (5) high schools. Each content center pulls together resources and expertise to provide analyses, information, and materials in its focus area for use by the network of regional centers, SEAs, and other clients.
The antecedent comprehensive centers program received a PART rating in 2004 of Results Not Demonstrated. The Department responded to the initial recommendations by embedding new common measures for technical assistance programs into the new program. Those measures determine the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the centers' products and services. The Department will establish long-term performance goals, targets, and time frames for the measures in 2008, once baseline data become available.
The Rural Education Achievement Program authorizes two programs to assist rural school districts in carrying out activities to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools. The Small, Rural School Achievement program provides formula funds to rural school districts that serve small numbers of students, and the Rural and Low-Income School program provides funds to rural school districts that serve concentrations of poor students, regardless of the district's size. Funds appropriated for the Rural Education program are divided equally between these two programs. The request would maintain support for small, often geographically isolated rural districts that face significant challenges in implementing NCLB accountability requirements. The Administration's ESEA reauthorization would create a more equitable distribution of funds and improve efficiency in administration of the Small, Rural School Achievement program, while providing additional flexibility to LEAs receiving funds under the Rural and Low-Income School program.
The 2006 PART analysis of the Rural Education program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of student achievement data for the program's annual and long-term performance measures at the time of the initial review. In response, the Department is currently collecting performance data and developing a strategy for making the data available to the public.
SDFSC State Grants
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program supports research-based approaches to drug and violence prevention. PART reviews conducted in 2002 and 2006 found that the structure of the program is flawed, spreading funding too broadly to support quality interventions and failing to target schools and communities in greatest need of assistance. Accordingly, the Administration's ESEA reauthorization would significantly change the structure of the program by requiring State educational agencies to support local implementation of effective models for the creation of safe, healthy, drug-free, and secure schools. Such activities could include, for example, provision of training, technical and financial assistance, and local capacity building to school districts to support their efforts to deter student drug use, and to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from crises arising from violent or traumatic events or natural disasters, and to restore the learning environment in the event of a crisis or emergency.
SDFSC National Programs
Also as part of the ESEA reauthorization, the Administration proposes to consolidate SDFSC National Programs into a single, flexible discretionary program focused on four priority areas: (1) emergency management planning; (2) preventing violence and drug use, including student drug testing; (3) school culture and climate, including character education; and (4) other needs related to improving students' learning environment to enable those students to learn to high academic standards. Grantees would be required, to the extent possible, to implement interventions that reflect scientifically based research. The 2008 request includes $59 million for drug prevention or school safety programs informed by scientifically based research or that will use such research to demonstrate their effectiveness, and $79.2 million for grants to school districts for comprehensive, community-wide "Safe Schools/Healthy Students" drug and violence prevention projects. Other activities include $15 million for initiatives to address school emergency preparedness conducted in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, $17.9 million for school-based drug testing for students, $24.2 million for character education programs in elementary and secondary schools, and $10 million to provide emergency response services to LEAs under Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence).
This program supports the development and distribution of educational video and related materials for preschool children, elementary school children, and their parents that are intended to improve school readiness and academic achievement.
A 2004 PART analysis of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to a lack of consistent or reliable data on program results, and a recommendation that the Department take additional steps to better understand the impact of the program. In response, the Department has made three key changes. First, the Department is requiring that all new children's television programming content be informed by scientifically based research in reading and early literacy. Second, programming grantees must conduct rigorous evaluations using experimental or quasi-experimental designs. And third, instead of a single, large award, the Department has made three smaller competitive awards (two programming and one outreach award) to different grantees. The request would continue support for these three awards.
Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes formula grants to States based on each State's share of the Nation's limited English proficient (LEP) and recent immigrant student population. Grants help States design and implement statewide activities meeting the educational needs of their LEP students. The statute also provides a 0.5 percent set-aside for the Outlying Areas and a $5 million set-aside for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools operated predominantly for Native American children.
States must use at least 95 percent of formula funds for subgrants to school districts, based primarily on each district's share of the State's LEP students. In addition, States must use up to 15 percent of the 95 percent to increase the size of grants to districts that have experienced a significant increase in the percentage or number of recent immigrant students over the preceding 2 years.
States must develop annual measurable achievement objectives for LEP students that measure their success in achieving English language proficiency and meeting challenging State academic content and achievement standards. If a school district does not make progress toward meeting these objectives for 2 consecutive years, the State must require the district to develop and implement an improvement plan. If the district still is not meeting the State's annual achievement objectives after 4 consecutive years, the State must require the district to take corrective action by adopting approaches more likely to bring about meaningful change, such as comprehensive implementation of a new instructional method or replacing educational personnel responsible for the LEA's inability to meet the objectives. The State also may terminate assistance to the district.
Title III also requires the Department to set aside 6.5 percent of the appropriation for National Activities, including the National Professional Development Project, a National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instructional Programs, and evaluation. Under the National Professional Development Project, the Department makes 5-year competitive grants to institutions of higher education that have entered into consortium arrangements with State or local educational agencies. The purpose of these grants is to increase the pool of teachers prepared to serve limited English proficient students and increase the skills of teachers already in classrooms. The purpose of the National Clearinghouse contract is to collect and disseminate information about instructional programs for LEP students.
The Administration's reauthorization proposal for Title III would make minor changes to the program, including strengthening the standards applicable to teachers and paraprofessionals who educate LEP students.
The program received a PART rating of Results Not Demonstrated in 2006. The rating is largely due to the lack of data to document the program's success in improving student outcomes. The Department also does not yet have the results of three evaluations being conducted by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) on the most prevalent English language acquisition instructional approaches. IES expects to complete these studies in 2008.
Migrant Education State Grants provide formula-based assistance in meeting the special educational needs of nearly 730,000 children of migrant agricultural workers by helping States identify and pay the higher costs often associated with serving such children. The Department also uses a portion of funding to improve inter- and intra-state coordination of migrant education activities.
For reauthorization, the Administration will propose a plan to improve and simplify the State allocation formula and to improve targeting of funds with formula changes that would respond to shifts in State counts of migrant students, as well as changes to improve targeting of services to migrant students.
The Migrant Education State Grants program received a PART rating of Adequate. While the review found that the program is on track to meet its long-term performance objectives, it also noted inaccuracies in State identification and counting of eligible students. In response, the Department is also developing a plan to review the reliability and validity of States' reported error rates and is providing States with technical assistance and support in ensuring accurate and timely student identification. In addition, in 2007 the Department expects to open the new Migrant Student Record Exchange System (MSIX), which will enable States to exchange migrant student data records efficiently and expeditiously and provide an accurate, unduplicated count of the number of migrant students on a national and Statewide basis.
The Title I Neglected and Delinquent program makes State formula grants to support educational services for an estimated 110,000 children and youth in State-operated institutions.
The Title I Neglected and Delinquent program received a PART rating of Results Not Demonstrated, primarily due to the absence of performance targets and data. In response, the Department currently is improving data collection procedures as a basis for setting targets.
The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) funds competitively selected projects to help low-income migrant and seasonal farm workers gain high school diplomas or equivalency certificates. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) makes competitive grants to provide stipends and special services, such as tutoring and counseling, to migrant students who are in their first year of college. The 2008 request would support approximately 90 HEP and CAMP projects.
The Department completed a PART analysis of these programs in 2004. Both programs were rated Results Not Demonstrated due to weaknesses related to data collection and accountability. In response, the Department has established procedures to help ensure the collection of comparable performance data across grantees.
Indian Education programs supplement the efforts of State and local educational agencies and Indian tribes to improve educational opportunities for Indian children. The programs link these efforts to broader educational reforms underway in States and localities to ensure that Indian students benefit from those reforms and achieve to the same challenging academic standards as other students.
Grants to Local Educational Agencies provide formula grants to public and BIA-supported schools for activities to improve the educational achievement of Indian students. Special Programs for Indian Children includes $11.5 million in competitive grants for the American Indian Teacher Corps and the American Indian Administrator Corps, to support training for Indian teachers and administrators to take positions in schools that serve concentrations of Indian children, and $7.7 million for competitive demonstration grants to improve educational opportunities for Indian children in areas such as early childhood education and college preparation.
Finally, the request provides $4.0 million for National Activities, which funds research, evaluation, and data collection designed to fill gaps in our understanding of the educational status and needs of Indians and to identify educational practices that are effective with Indian students. The program also provides technical assistance to school districts and other entities receiving Indian Education formula and discretionary grants.
The 2006 PART analysis of the Indian Education Grants to Local Educational Agencies program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating. In response, the Department has established several new long-term and annual performance measures to complement the existing national-level data on Indian students' performance on the NAEP. Further, the Department has taken steps to improve management of the program by developing a web-based Performance Measures Tracking System, which will maintain grant application and performance data within the EDFacts system. The impact of these changes will be assessed during a new PART review in 2007.
The request would maintain support for Supplemental Education Grants to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), as authorized by the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-188). Under the program, the Department transfers funds and provides recommendations on funding to the Department of the Interior, which makes grants to the FSM and RMI for educational services that augment the general operations of the educational systems of the two entities.
P.L. 108-188 eliminated RMI and FSM participation in most domestic formula grant programs funded by the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and created this program to supplement separate education support programs under the Compact. The request would allow the RMI and FSM to support programs that focus on improving the educational achievement of students in the two Freely Associated States.
This program provides formula grants to States, which subgrant most funds to LEAs for tutoring, transportation, and other services that help homeless children to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school. In addition to academic instruction, the program helps ensure access for these children to preschool programs, special education, and gifted and talented programs.
While nearly all States have eased residency requirements and improved transportation and immunization policies to ensure greater access for homeless students over the past decade, those students continue to be at significant risk of educational failure. The request would maintain support for State and local activities designed to reduce that risk.
This program received an Adequate rating following a 2006 PART review indicating that the program is generally well managed and has a good performance data collection system in place. However, the review also identified weaknesses in the areas of evaluation and efficiency data. The Department should have baseline data for the program's efficiency measure later in 2007 and will establish targets for the measure once baseline data are available.
The Impact Aid program provides financial support to school districts affected by Federal activities. The property on which certain children live is exempt from local property taxes, denying districts access to the primary source of revenue used by most communities to finance education. Impact Aid helps to replace the lost local revenue that would otherwise be available to districts to pay for the education of these children.
The $1.1 billion request for Basic Support Payments would provide formula grants for both regular Basic Support Payments and Basic Support Payments for Heavily Impacted LEAs.
The $49.5 million request for Payments for Children with Disabilities would provide formula grants to help eligible districts meet their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide a free appropriate public education for federally connected children with disabilities.
The Department of Education owns and maintains 33 school facilities that serve large numbers of military dependents. The $4.6 million request for Facilities Maintenance would fund essential repair and maintenance of these facilities and allow the Department to continue to transfer schools to local school districts.
School districts also generally pay for most of their school construction costs using their own resources and rely on property taxes to finance these costs. Districts affected by Federal operations have limited access to those sources of funding. The entire $17.8 million proposed for Construction would be used for competitive grants, rather than the formula grants that are also currently authorized under the program. Unlike the formula grants, the competitive grants are targeted to the LEAs with the greatest need and provide sufficient assistance to enable those LEAs to make major repairs and renovations.
The $64.4 million request for Payments for Federal Property would provide formula-based payments to districts that generally have lost 10 percent or more of their taxable property to the Federal Government.
For reauthorization, Administration proposals would improve the Impact Aid funding formulas, achieving greater equity in allocations, particularly in Basic Support Payments.
PART assessments have produced mixed results for Impact Aid programs. A 2005 PART analysis of Impact Aid Basic Support Payments and Payments for Children with Disabilities resulted in a Results Not Demonstrated rating, based on the lack of data on how well program funds are targeted, while also acknowledging the Department's efficiencies in managing payments. In response, the Department has contracted for a study that will examine the effectiveness of the program formulas in delivering assistance to Federally affected school districts.
A 2005 PART analysis of Impact Aid Construction produced an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, program management, and results that show improvement in grantees' ability to improve the condition of their school buildings. A 2004 PART analysis of Payments for Federal Property produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating based on the lack of annual and long-term performance measures for the program. In response, the Department created two new performance measures to track the program's operational efficiency.
This program supports 10 regional Equity Assistance Centers, selected competitively, that provide services to school districts on issues related to discrimination based on race, gender, and national origin. Typical activities include disseminating information on successful practices and legal requirements related to nondiscrimination, providing training to educators to develop their skills in specific areas, such as in the identification of bias in instructional materials, and technical assistance on selection of instructional materials.
A PART analysis of this program conducted in 2005 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of performance targets and data. In response, the Department has developed a survey to measure the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the services provided by the program and to collect data that allow the comparison of this program to other technical assistance programs.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 5, 2007 (mjj).