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

SEC. 306. STATE IMPROVEMENT PLANS.

(a) BASIC SCOPE OF PLAN.--Except as provided in section 305(c)(2) and consistent with the requirements of this section, any State educational agency that wishes to receive an allotment under this title after its first year of participation shall develop and implement a State improvement plan for the improvement of elementary and secondary education in the State.
(b) PLAN DEVELOPMENT.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--A State improvement plan under this title shall be developed by a broad-based State panel in cooperation with the State educational agency and the Governor. The panel shall include--
(A) the Governor and the chief State school officer, or their designees;
(B) the chairperson of the State board of education and the chairpersons of the appropriate authorizing committees of the State legislature, or their designees;
(C) teachers, principals, and administrators who have successfully improved student performance, and deans or senior administrators of a college, school, or department of education;
(D) representatives of teacher's organizations, parents, secondary school students, institutions of higher education, business and labor leaders, community-based organizations of demonstrated effectiveness, organizations serving young children, local boards of education, State and local officials responsible for health, social, and other related services, private schools in which students or teachers participate in Federal education programs, and, as appropriate, Indian tribes and others;
(E) representatives from rural and urban local educational agencies in the State, as appropriate; and
(F) experts in educational measurement and assessment.
(2) APPOINTMENT.--The Governor and the chief State school officer shall each appoint half the members of the panel and shall jointly select the Chairperson of the panel and the representative of private schools described in paragraph (1)(D).
(3) REPRESENTATION.--
(A) To the extent feasible, the membership of the panel shall be geographically representative of the State and reflect the diversity of the population of the State with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, and disability characteristics.
(B) The membership of the panel shall be composed so that the minimum total number of members of the panel with expertise or background in the educational needs or assessments of children from low-income families, children with minority backgrounds, children with limited-English proficiency, or children with disabilities, serving on the panel--
(i) bears the same relation to the total number of members serving on the panel as the total number of all such children in the State bears to the total number of all children in the State; or
(ii) is at least one-third of the number of members of the panel, whichever is less.
(4) CONSULTATION.--The panel shall consult the Governor, the chief State school officer, the State board of education, and relevant committees of the State legislature in developing the State improvement plan.
(5) OUTREACH.--The panel shall be responsible for conducting a statewide, grassroots outreach process, including conducting public hearings, to involve educators, related services personnel, parents, local officials, tribal government officials as appropriate, individuals representing private nonprofit elementary and secondary schools, community and business leaders, citizens, children's advocates, secondary school students, and others with a stake in the success of students and their education system, and who are representative of the diversity of the State and the State's student population, including, students of limited- English proficiency, students with disabilities, and, as appropriate, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students, in the development of the State improvement plan and in a continuing dialogue regarding the need for and nature of standards for students and local and State responsibilities for helping all students achieve such standards in order to assure that the development and implementation of the State improvement plan reflects local needs and experiences and does not result in a significant increase in paperwork for teachers.
(6) PROCEDURE AND APPROVAL.--The panel shall develop a State improvement plan, provide opportunity for public comment, and submit such plan to the State educational agency for approval.
(7) SUBMISSION.--The State educational agency shall submit the original State improvement plan developed by the panel and the State improvement plan if modified by such agency, together with an explanation of any changes made by such agency to the plan developed by the panel, to the Secretary for approval.
(8) MATTERS NOT UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY.--If any portion of a State improvement plan addresses matters that, under State or other applicable law, are not under the authority of the State educational agency, the State educational agency shall obtain the approval of, or changes to, such portion, with an explanation thereof, from the Governor or other official responsible for that portion before submitting such plan to the Secretary.
(9) MONITORING; REVISIONS; REPORTING.--After approval of the State improvement plan by the Secretary, the panel shall be informed of progress on such plan by the State educational agency, and such agency, in close consultation with teachers, principals, administrators, advocates and parents in local educational agencies and schools receiving funds under this title, shall monitor the implementation and operation of such plan. The panel shall review such plan, and based on the progress described in the preceding sentence, determine if revisions to such plan are appropriate and necessary. The panel shall periodically report such determination to the public.
(c) TEACHING, LEARNING, STANDARDS, AND ASSESSMENTS.--Each State educational agency, with broad-based classroom teacher input, shall establish and include in its State improvement plan strategies for meeting the National Education Goals by improving teaching and learning and students' mastery of basic and advanced skills in core content areas, such as English, mathematics, science (including physics), history, geography, foreign languages, the arts, civics and government, and economics. Such strategies--
(1) shall include--
(A) a process for developing or adopting State content standards and State student performance standards for all students, which process shall include coordinating the standards developed pursuant to section 115 of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act;
(B) a process for developing and implementing valid, nondiscriminatory, and reliable State assessments--
(i) which assessments shall--
(I) be aligned with such State's content standards;
(II) involve multiple measures of student performance;
(III) provide for--
(aa) the participation in such assessments of all students with diverse learning needs; and
(bb) the adaptations and accommodations necessary to permit such participation;
(IV) be consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical standards for such assessments;
(V) be capable of providing coherent information about student attainments relative to the State content standards; and
(VI) support effective curriculum and instruction; and
(ii) which process shall provide for monitoring the implementation of such assessments and the impact of such assessments on improved instruction for all students;
(C) a process for aligning State or local curricula, instructional materials, and State assessments with the State content standards and State student performance standards; and
(D) a process for familiarizing teachers with the State content standards and State student performance standards and developing the capability of teachers to provide high quality instruction within the content areas described in the matter preceding paragraph
(1) of this subsection;
(2) may include strategies such as--
(A) a process for providing assistance and support to local educational agencies and schools to strengthen the capacity of such agencies and schools to provide all students the opportunity to increase educational achievement and meet State content standards and State student performance standards;
(B) assessing the effectiveness and equity of the school finance program of the State to identify disparities in the resources available to each local educational agency and school in such State and how such disparities affect the ability of the State educational agency and local educational agencies to develop and implement plans under this title;
(C) a process for developing, selecting, or recommending instructional materials, including gender equitable and multicultural materials, and technology to support and assist local educational agencies and schools to provide all students the opportunity to meet State content standards and State student performance standards;
(D) a process for providing appropriate and effective professional development, including the use of technology, distance learning, and gender-equitable methods, necessary for teachers, school administrators, and others to help all students meet State content standards and State student performance standards; and
(E) a process for improving the State's system of teacher and school administrator preparation and licensure, and of continuing professional development programs, including the use of technology at both the State and local levels, so that all teachers, related services personnel, and administrators develop the subject matter and pedagogical expertise needed to prepare all students to meet State content standards and State student performance standards.
(d) OPPORTUNITY-TO-LEARN STANDARDS AND STRATEGIES.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Each State improvement plan shall establish standards or strategies for providing all students with an opportunity to learn. Such standards or strategies shall include such factors as the State deems appropriate to ensure that all students receive a fair opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills as described in State content standards and State student performance standards adopted by the State.
(2) IMPLEMENTATION.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the implementation of opportunity- to-learn standards or strategies shall be voluntary on the part of the States, local educational agencies, and schools.
(3) CONSTRUCTION.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to--
(A) mandate equalized spending per pupil for a State, local educational agency, or school; or
(B) mandate national school building standards for a State, local educational agency, or school.
(e) GOVERNANCE, ACCOUNTABILITY AND MANAGEMENT.--Each State improvement plan shall establish strategies for improved governance, accountability and management of the State's education system, such as--
(1) aligning responsibility, authority, and accountability throughout the education system, so that decisions regarding the means for achieving State content standards and State student performance standards are made closest to the learners; and
(2) creating an integrated and coherent approach to recruiting, retaining and supporting the continued professional development of teachers (including vocational teachers), and other educators, giving special attention to the recruitment into and retention of qualified minorities in the education profession.
(f) PARENTAL AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND INVOLVEMENT.--Each State improvement plan shall describe strategies for how the State educational agency will involve parents and other community representatives in planning, designing, and implementing the State improvement plan, including strategies such as--
(1) focusing public and private community resources and public school resources on prevention and early intervention to address the needs of all students by identifying and removing unnecessary regulations and obstacles to coordination; and
(2) increasing the access of all students to social services, health care, nutrition, related services, and child care services, and locating such services in schools, cooperating service agencies, community-based centers, or other convenient sites designed to provide "one-stop shopping" for parents and students.
(g) MAKING THE IMPROVEMENTS SYSTEMWIDE.--To help provide all students throughout the State the opportunity to meet State standards, each State improvement plan shall describe strategies, such as strategies that--
(1) provide for the availability of curricular materials, learning technologies, including distance learning, and professional development in a manner that ensures equal access by all local educational agencies in the State; and
(2) develop partnerships with Indian tribes and schools funded by the Bureau, where appropriate, to improve consistency and compatibility in curriculum among public elementary and secondary schools, and such schools funded by the Bureau at all grade levels.
(h) PROMOTING BOTTOM-UP REFORM.--Each State improvement plan shall include strategies for ensuring that comprehensive, systemic reform is promoted from the bottom up in communities, local educational agencies, and schools, as well as guided by coordination and facilitation from State leaders, including strategies such as--
(1) providing flexibility to individual schools and local educational agencies to enable such schools and agencies to adapt and integrate State content standards into courses of study appropriate for individual schools and communities; and
(2) facilitating the provision of waivers from State rules and regulations that impede the ability of local educational agencies or schools to carry out local improvement plans.
(i) DROPOUT STRATEGIES.--Each State improvement plan shall include strategies for assisting local educational agencies and schools to enable such agencies and schools--
(1) to meet the needs of school-aged children who have dropped out of school;
(2) to bring such children into the education system; and
(3) to help such students meet State content standards and State student performance standards.
(j) COORDINATION WITH SCHOOL-TO-WORK PROGRAMS.--If a State has received Federal assistance for the purpose of planning for, expanding, or establishing a school-to-work program, then a State shall include in the State improvement plan a description of how such school-to-work program will be incorporated into the school reform efforts of the State. In particular, the State improvement plan shall include a description of how secondary schools will be modified in order to provide career guidance, the integration of academic and vocational education, and work-based learning, if such programs are proposed in the State's school-to- work plan.
(k) BENCHMARKS AND TIMELINES.--Each State improvement plan shall include specific benchmarks of improved student performance and of progress in implementing such plan, and timelines against which the progress of the State in carrying out such plan, including the elements described in subsections (c) through (j), can be measured.
(l) COORDINATING STRATEGIES.--Each State plan shall include strategies for coordinating the integration of academic and vocational instruction pursuant to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act.
(m) PROGRAM IMPROVEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY.--Each State improvement plan shall describe--
(1) how the State will monitor progress towards implementing the State and local improvement plans; and
(2) procedures the State plans to use, consistent with State law, to improve schools that are not meeting the State content standards voluntarily adopted by the State within the established timelines.
(n) PEER REVIEW AND SECRETARIAL APPROVAL.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--
(A) The Secretary shall review, within a reasonable period of time, each State improvement plan prepared under this section, and each application submitted under section 305, through a peer review process involving the assistance and advice of State and local education policymakers, educators, classroom teachers, related services personnel, experts on educational innovation and improvement, parents, advocates, and other appropriate individuals. Such peer review process shall be representative of the diversity of the United States with regard to geography, race, ethnicity, gender and disability characteristics. Such peer review process shall include at least 1 site visit to each State, except during the period when a State improvement plan is being developed.
(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (A), in the first year that a State educational agency submits an application for development of a State improvement plan under this title the Secretary shall not be required to--
(i) review such application through a peer review process; and
(ii) conduct a site visit.
(2) APPROVAL.--The Secretary shall approve a State improvement plan if such plan is submitted to the Secretary not later than 2 years after the date the State educational agency receives its first allotment under section 304(b), and when the Secretary determines, after considering the peer reviewers' comment, that such plan--
(A) reflects a widespread commitment within the State;
(B) holds reasonable promise of helping all students to achieve at the high levels called for by this Act;
(C) meets the requirements of subsections (a) through (k); and
(D) allows local schools, local educational agencies and communities the flexibility to implement local improvement plans in a manner which reflects local needs and requirements in order to promote a `bottom up' system of school reform.
(3) DISAPPROVAL.--The Secretary shall not disapprove a State improvement plan, or any State application submitted under section 305, before offering the State--
(A) an opportunity to revise such plan or application; and
(B) a hearing.
(o) REGULAR REVIEW.--Each State improvement plan shall include a process for periodically reviewing and updating any State content standards, State student performance standards, State opportunity-to-learn standards or strategies, and State assessments.
(p) AMENDMENTS TO PLAN.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Each State educational agency shall periodically review its State improvement plan and revise such plan, as appropriate, in accordance with the process described in subsection (b).
(2) REVIEW.--The Secretary shall review any major amendment to a State improvement plan and shall not disapprove any such amendment before offering a State educational agency--
(A) an opportunity to revise such amendment; and
(B) a hearing.
(q) PREEXISTING STATE PLANS AND PANELS.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--If a State has developed a comprehensive and systemic State improvement plan to help all students meet State standards or any component of such plan, that meets the intent and purposes of this section, then the Secretary may approve such plan or component notwithstanding that such plan was not developed in accordance with subsection (b) if the Secretary determines that such approval would further the purposes of State systemic education improvement.
(2) SPECIAL RULE.--
(A) If, before the date of enactment of this Act, a State has made substantial progress in developing a plan that meets the intent and purposes of this section, but was developed by a panel that does not meet the requirements of paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b), the Secretary may, at the request of the Governor and the State educational agency, treat such panel as meeting the requirements of this title if the Secretary determines that there has been statewide involvement of educators, parents, students, advocacy groups, and other interested members of the public in the development of the plan.

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SEC. 305. STATE APPLICATIONS. Table of Contents SEC. 307. SECRETARY'S REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS; PAYMENTS.