A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

SEC. 213. DUTIES.

(a) VOLUNTARY NATIONAL CONTENT STANDARDS; VOLUNTARY NATIONAL STUDENT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Council, which may consult with outside experts, shall--
(A) identify areas in which voluntary national content standards need to be developed;
(B) certify voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards using the criteria developed under paragraph (2)(A) (i), that define what all students should know and be able to do;
(C) forward such voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards to the Goals Panel for review, except that the Goals Panel shall have the option of disapproving such standards by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Goals Panel not later than 90 days after receipt of such standards; and
(D) develop a process for periodically reviewing any voluntary national content standards, voluntary national student performance standards, and voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards that have been certified.
(2) CRITERIA.--
(A) The Council, which may consult with outside experts, shall--
(i) identify and develop criteria to be used for certifying the voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards; and
(ii) before applying such criteria, forward such criteria to the Goals Panel for review, except that the Goals Panel shall have the option of disapproving such criteria by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Goals Panel not later than 90 days after receipt of such criteria.
(B) The criteria developed by the Council shall address--
(i) the extent to which the proposed standards are internationally competitive and comparable to the best in the world;
(ii) the extent to which the proposed voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards reflect the best available knowledge about how all students learn and about how the content area can be most effectively taught;
(iii) the extent to which the proposed voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards have been developed through an open and public process that provides for input and involvement of all relevant parties, including teachers, related services personnel, and other professional educators, employers and postsecondary education institutions, curriculum and subject matter specialists, parents, advocacy groups, secondary school students, and the public; and
(iv) other factors that the Council deems appropriate.
(C) In developing the criteria, the Council shall work with entities that are developing, or have already developed, content and student performance standards, and any other entities that the Council deems appropriate, to identify appropriate certification criteria.
(b) STATE CONTENT STANDARDS; STATE STUDENT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.--The Council may certify State content standards and State student performance standards presented on a voluntary basis by a State or group of States, using the criteria developed under subsection (a)(2)(A)(i), if such standards are comparable or higher in rigor and quality to the voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards certified by the Council.
(c) VOLUNTARY NATIONAL OPPORTUNITY-TO-LEARN STANDARDS.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Council, which may consult with outside experts, shall certify exemplary, voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards that will establish a basis for providing all students a fair opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills set out in the voluntary national content standards certified by the Council. In carrying out the preceding sentence the Council is authorized to consider proposals for voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards from groups other than groups that receive grants under section 219.
(2) ELEMENTS ADDRESSED.--The voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards certified by the Council shall address--
(A) the quality and availability to all students of curricula, instructional materials, and technologies, including distance learning;
(B) the capability of teachers to provide high-quality instruction to meet diverse learning needs in each content area to all students;
(C) the extent to which teachers, principals, and administrators have ready and continuing access to professional development, including the best knowledge about teaching, learning, and school improvement;
(D) the extent to which curriculum, instructional practices, and assessments are aligned to voluntary national content standards;
(E) the extent to which school facilities provide a safe and secure environment for learning and instruction and have the requisite libraries, laboratories, and other resources necessary to provide an opportunity-to-learn;
(F) the extent to which schools utilize policies, curricula, and instructional practices which ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of gender; and
(G) other factors that the Council deems appropriate to ensure that all students receive a fair opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills described in the voluntary national content standards and the voluntary national student performance standards certified by the Council.
(3) ADDITIONAL DUTIES.--In carrying out this subsection, the Council shall--
(A) identify what other countries with rigorous content standards do to--
(i) provide their children with opportunities to learn;
(ii) prepare their teachers; and
(iii) provide continuing professional development opportunities for their teachers; and
(B) develop criteria to be used for certifying the voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards and State opportunity-to-learn standards and, before applying such criteria, forward such criteria to the Goals Panel for review, except that the Goals Panel shall have the option of disapproving such criteria by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Goals Panel not later than 90 days after receipt of such criteria.
(4) RECOMMENDATIONS AND COORDINATION.--The Council shall assist in the development of the voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards developed by each consortium under section 219 by--
(A) making recommendations to the Secretary regarding priorities and selection criteria for each grant awarded under section 219; and
(B) coordinating with each consortium receiving awards under section 219 to ensure that the opportunity-to-learn standards the consortium develops are appropriate for the needs of all students, are of high quality, and are consistent with the criteria developed by the Council for the certification of such standards.
(5) APPROVAL.--The Council shall forward the voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards the Council certifies to the Goals Panel for review, except that the Goals Panel shall have the option of disapproving such standards by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Goals Panel not later than 90 days after receipt of such standards.
(d) STATE OPPORTUNITY-TO-LEARN STANDARDS.--The Council may certify State opportunity-to-learn standards submitted voluntarily by a State, using the criteria developed under subsection (c)(3)(B), if such standards are comparable or higher in rigor and quality to the voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards.
(e) GENERAL PROVISION REGARDING VOLUNTARY NATIONAL Standards.--The Council may certify voluntary national content standards, voluntary national student performance standards, and voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards if such standards are sufficiently general to be used by any State without restricting State and local control of curriculum and prerogatives regarding instructional methods to be employed.
(f) STATE ASSESSMENTS.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--
(A) The Council may certify for a period not to exceed 5 years, State assessments that are submitted voluntarily by a State, using the criteria developed under paragraph (2)(A), if such assessments are aligned with the State's content standards certified by the Council.
(B) State assessments shall be certified by the Council for the purposes of--
(i) informing students, parents, teachers, and related services personnel about the progress of all students toward the standards;
(ii) improving classroom instruction and improving the learning outcomes for all students;
(iii) exemplifying for students, parents, and teachers the kinds and levels of achievement that should be expected of all students, including the identification of State student performance standards;
(iv) measuring and motivating individual students, schools, districts, States, and the Nation to improve educational performance; and
(v) assisting education policymakers in making decisions about education programs.
(C) The Council shall certify State assessments only if--
(i) a State can demonstrate to the Council that all students have been prepared in the content for which such students are being assessed;
(ii) such assessments will not be used to make decisions regarding graduation, grade promotion, or retention of students for a period of 5 years from the date of enactment of this Act; and
(iii) the State has submitted to the Council--
(I) a description of the purposes for which the State assessments have been designed;
(II) the methodologies and process used to develop, select, validate, and use such State assessments;
(III) a copy of the test instrument, as appropriate;
(IV) a description of the other measures the State will use to evaluate student performance; and
(V) evidence that the test or tests which are part of the State assessments are valid, reliable measures of their intended purposes, are aligned with the State content standards, are capable of assessing the progress of all students toward learning the material in the State content standards, and are consistent with relevant nationally recognized professional and technical standards.
(D) The Council, at the request of a State prior to the State's submission to the Council of a State assessment for a proposed use, shall review and provide guidance to such State on a proposed package of measures, including tests that will be included in such a system.
(2) CRITERIA.--
(A) The Council shall develop and, not sooner than three years nor later than four years after the date of enactment of this Act, begin utilizing criteria for the certification of State assessments for the purposes described in paragraph (1)(B).
(B) Before using such criteria, the Council shall forward the criteria to the Goals Panel for review, except that the Goals Panel shall have the option of disapproving such criteria by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Goals Panel not later than 90 days after receipt of such criteria.
(C) The certification criteria developed by the Council shall address the extent to which the State assessments--
(i) are aligned with a State's or a group of States' State content standards certified by the Council; and
(ii) are to be used for a purpose for which they are valid, reliable, and free of discrimination, and are consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical standards for assessment.
(D) In determining appropriate certification criteria for State assessments, the Council shall--
(i) consider standards and criteria being developed by other national organizations, research on assessment, and emerging new State and local assessments;
(ii) recommend needed research;
(iii) encourage the development and field testing of State assessments; and
(iv) provide a public forum for discussing, debating, and building consensus for the criteria to be used for the certification of State assessments.
(E) Prior to determining the certification criteria, the Council shall seek public comment regarding the proposed criteria.
(F) The Council shall certify State assessments only if such assessments include all students and provide for the adaptations and accommodations necessary to permit the participation of all students with diverse learning needs.
(g) PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES.--In carrying out its responsibilities under this title, the Council shall--
(1) provide for a process of broad public input as part of the process of developing criteria for standards and assessments;
(2) work with Federal and non-Federal departments, agencies, or organizations which are conducting research, studies, or demonstration projects to determine internationally competitive standards and assessments, and may establish subject matter and other panels to advise the Council on particular content, student performance, and opportunity-to-learn standards and on State assessments;
(3) establish cooperative arrangements with the National Skill Standards Board to promote the coordination of the development of content and student performance standards under this title with the development of skill standards under title V of this Act;
(4) recommend studies to the Secretary that are necessary to carry out the Council's responsibilities;
(5) inform the public about what constitutes high quality, internationally competitive, content, student performance, and opportunity-to-learn standards, and State assessments;
(6) on a regular basis, review and update criteria for certifying content, student performance, and opportunity-to-learn standards, and State assessments; and
(7) periodically recertify, as appropriate, the voluntary national content standards, the voluntary national student performance standards, and the voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards and the State assessments that the Council certifies under this section.
(h) SPECIAL RULES.--
(1) UNCONDITIONED STATE PARTICIPATION.--No State shall be required to obtain certification of standards or assessments developed under subsection (b), (d), or (f) of this section or to participate in programs under title III of this Act, as a condition of participating in any Federal education program under this or any other Act.
(2) CONSTRUCTION.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to create a legally enforceable right for any person against a State, local educational agency, or school based on a standard or assessment certified by the Council or the criteria developed by the Council for such certification.

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SEC. 212. NATIONAL EDUCATION STANDARDS AND IMPROVEMENT COUNCIL. Table of Contents SEC. 214. ANNUAL REPORTS.