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

SEC. 912. OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT.

(a) DECLARATION OF POLICY REGARDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Congress declares it to be the policy of the United States to provide to every individual an equal opportunity to receive an education of high quality regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, or social class. Although the American educational system has pursued this objective, it has not been attained. Inequalities of opportunity to receive high quality education remain pronounced. To achieve the goal of quality education requires the continued pursuit of knowledge about education through research, development, improvement activities, data collection, synthesis, technical assistance, and information dissemination. While the direction of American education remains primarily the responsibility of State and local governments, the Federal Government has a clear responsibility to provide leadership in the conduct and support of scientific inquiry into the educational process.
(2) MISSION OF OFFICE.--
(A) The mission of the Office shall be to provide national leadership in--
(i) expanding fundamental knowledge and understanding of education;
(ii) promoting excellence and equity in education; and the achievement of the National Educational Goals by spurring reform in the school systems of the United States;
(iii) promoting the use and application of research and development to improve practice in the classroom; and
(iv) monitoring the state of education.
(B) The mission of the Office shall be accomplished in collaboration with researchers, teachers, school administrators, parents, students, employers, and policymakers.
(b) PURPOSE AND STRUCTURE OF OFFICE.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary, acting through the Office, shall carry out the policies set forth in subsection (a). In carrying out such policies, the Office shall be guided by the Research Priorities Plan developed by the Assistant Secretary working collaboratively with the Board and which has been approved by the Board.
(2) ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE.--The Office shall be administered by the Assistant Secretary and shall include--
(A) the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board established by section 921;
(B) the national research institutes established by section 931;
(C) the national education dissemination system established by section 941;
(D) the National Center for Education Statistics; and
(E) such other units as the Secretary deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of the Office.
(3) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES.--
(A) OFFICE.--In fulfilling its purposes under this section, the Office is authorized to--
(i) conduct and support education-related research activities, including basic and applied research, development, planning, surveys, assessments, evaluations, investigations, experiments, and demonstrations of national significance;
(ii) disseminate the findings of education research, and provide technical assistance to apply such information to specific problems at school sites;
(iii) collect, analyze, and disseminate data related to education, and to library and information services;
(iv) promote the use of knowledge gained from research and statistical findings in schools, other educational institutions, and communities;
(v) provide training in education research; and
(vi) promote the coordination of education research and research support within the Federal Government, and otherwise assist and foster such research.
(c) APPOINTMENT OF EMPLOYEES.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary may appoint, for terms not to exceed three years
(without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointment in the competitive service) and may compensate
(without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates) such scientific or technical employees of the Office as the Assistant Secretary considers necessary to accomplish its functions, provided that--
(A) at least 30 days prior to the appointment of any such employee, public notice is given of the availability of such position and an opportunity is provided for qualified individuals to apply and compete for such position;
(B) the rate of basic pay for such employees does not exceed the maximum rate of basic pay payable for positions at GS--15, as determined in accordance with section 5376 of title 5, United States Code;
(C) the appointment of such employee is necessary to provide the Office with scientific or technical expertise which could not otherwise be obtained by the Office through the competitive service; and
(D) the total number of such employees does not exceed one-fifth of the number of full-time, regular scientific or professional employees of the Office.
(2) REAPPOINTMENT OF EMPLOYEES.--The Assistant Secretary may reappoint employees described in paragraph (1) upon presentation of a clear and convincing justification of need, for one additional term not to exceed 3 years. All such employees shall work on activities of the Office and shall not be reassigned to other duties outside the Office during their term.
(d) AUTHORITY TO PUBLISH.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary is authorized to prepare and publish such information, reports, and documents as may be of value in carrying out the purposes of this title without further clearance or approval by the Secretary or any other office of the Department of Education.
(2) QUALITY ASSURANCE.--In carrying out such authority, the Assistant Secretary shall--
(A) establish such procedures as may be necessary to assure that all reports and publications issued by the Office are of the highest quality; and
(B) provide other offices of the Department of Education with an opportunity to comment upon any report or publication prior to its publication when its contents relate to matters for which such office has responsibility.
(e) BIENNIAL REPORT ON ACTIVITIES OF OFFICE.--The Assistant Secretary shall transmit to the President and the Congress by not later than December 30 of every other year a report which shall consist of--
(1) a description of the activities carried out by and through each research institute during the fiscal years for which such report is prepared and any recommendations and comments regarding such activities as the Assistant Secretary considers appropriate;
(2) a description of the activities carried out by and through the national education dissemination system established by section 941 during the fiscal years for which such report is prepared and any recommendations and comments regarding such activities as the Assistant Secretary considers appropriate;
(3) such written comments and recommendations as may be submitted by the Board concerning the activities carried out by and through each of the institutes and the national education dissemination system during the fiscal years for which such report is prepared;
(4) a description of the coordination activities undertaken pursuant to subsection
(g) during the fiscal years for which such report is prepared;
(5) recommendations for legislative and administrative changes necessary to improve the coordination of all educational research, development, and dissemination activities carried out within the Federal Government; and
(6) such additional comments, recommendations, and materials as the Assistant Secretary considers appropriate.
(f) RESEARCH PRIORITIES PLAN.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Working collaboratively with the Board, the Assistant Secretary shall--
(A) survey and assess the state of knowledge in education research, development and dissemination to identify disciplines and areas of inquiry in which the state of knowledge is insufficient and which warrant further investigation, taking into account the views of both education researchers and practicing educators;
(B) consult with the National Education Goals Panel and other authorities on education to identify national priorities for the improvement of education;
(C) actively solicit recommendations from education researchers, teachers, school administrators, cultural leaders, parents, and others throughout the United States through such means as periodic regional forums;
(D) provide recommendations for the development, maintenance, and assurance of a strong infrastructure for education, research, and development in the United States; and
(E) on the basis of such recommendations, develop a research priorities program which shall recommend priorities for the investment of the resources of the Office over the next 5-, 10-, and 15-year periods, including as priorities those areas of inquiry in which further research, development and dissemination--
(i) is necessary to attain the National Education Goals;
(ii) promises to yield the greatest practical benefits to teachers and other educators in terms of improving education; and
(iii) will not be undertaken in sufficient scope or intensity by the other Federal and non-Federal entities engaged in education research and development.
(2) CONTENTS OF PLAN.--
(A) The research and priorities plan described in paragraph (1) shall, at a minimum--
(i) set forth specific objectives which can be expected to be achieved as a result of a Federal investment in the priorities set forth in the plan;
(ii) include recommendations with respect to research and development on cross-cutting issues which should be carried out jointly by 2 or more of the research institutes; and
(iii) include an evaluative summary of the educational research and development activities undertaken by the Federal Government during the preceding 2 fiscal years, which shall describe--
(I) what has been learned as a result of such activities;
(II) how such new knowledge or understanding extends or otherwise relates to what had been previously known or understood;
(III) the implications of such new knowledge or understanding for educational practice and school reform; and
(IV) any development, reform, and other assistance activities which have utilized such knowledge or understanding and the effects of such efforts.
(B) REPORT.--
(i) Not later than 6 months after the first meeting of the Board and by October 1 of every second year thereafter, the Assistant Secretary shall publish a report specifying the proposed research priorities of the Office and allow a 60-day period beginning on the date of the publication of the report for public comment and suggestions.
(ii) Not later than 90 days after the expiration of the 60-day period referred to in clause
(i), the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the Board a report specifying the proposed research priorities of the Office and any public comment and suggestions obtained under such subparagraph for the Board's review and approval.
(g) COORDINATION.--With the advice and assistance of the Board, the Assistant Secretary shall work cooperatively with the Secretary and the other Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Education to establish and maintain an ongoing program of activities designed to improve the coordination of education research, development, and dissemination and activities within such Department and within the Federal Government to--
(1) minimize duplication in education research, development, and dissemination carried out by the Federal Government;
(2) maximize the value of the total Federal investment in education research, development, and dissemination; and
(3) enable entities engaged in education research, development, and dissemination within the Federal Government to interact effectively as partners and take full advantage of the diverse resources and proficiencies which each entity has available.
(h) ACTIVITIES REQUIRED WITH RESPECT TO COORDINATION.--In carrying out such program of coordination, the Assistant Secretary shall compile (and thereafter regularly maintain) and make available a comprehensive inventory of education research, development, dissemination activities, and expenditures being carried out by the Federal Government.
(i) STANDARDS FOR THE CONDUCT AND EVALUATION OF RESEARCH.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--In consultation with the Board, the Assistant Secretary shall develop such standards as may be necessary to govern the conduct and evaluation of all research, development, and dissemination activities carried out by the Office to assure that such activities meet the highest standards of professional excellence. In developing such standards, the Assistant Secretary shall review the procedures utilized by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other Federal departments or agencies engaged in research and development and shall also actively solicit recommendations from research organizations and members of the general public.
(2) CONTENTS OF STANDARDS.--Such standards shall at a minimum--
(A) require that a process of open competition be used in awarding or entering into all grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements under this title;
(B) require that a system of peer review be utilized by the Office--
(i) for reviewing and evaluating all applications for grants and cooperative agreements and bids for those contracts which exceed $100,000;
(ii) for evaluating and assessing the performance of all recipients of grants from and cooperative agreements and contracts with the Office; and
(iii) for reviewing and designating exemplary and promising programs in accordance with section 941(d);
(C) describe the general procedures which shall be used by each peer review panel in its operations;
(D)
(i) describe the procedures which shall be utilized in evaluating applications for grants, proposed cooperative agreements, and contract bids; and
(ii) specify the criteria and factors which shall be considered in making such evaluations;
(E) describe the procedures which shall be utilized in reviewing educational programs which have been identified by or submitted to the Secretary for evaluation in accordance with section 941
(d); and
(F) require that the performance of all recipients of grants from and contracts and cooperative agreements with the Office shall be periodically evaluated, both during and at the conclusion of their receipt of assistance.
(3) PUBLICATION AND PROMULGATION OF STANDARDS.--
(A) The Assistant Secretary shall publish proposed standards--
(i) which meet the requirements of subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D) of paragraph (2) not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this title;
(ii) which meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(E) not later than 2 years after such date; and
(iii) which meet the requirements of subparagraph (F) of paragraph (2) not later than 3 years after such date.
(B) Following the publication of such proposed standards, the Assistant Secretary shall solicit comments from interested members of the public with respect to such proposed standards for a period of not more than 120 days. After giving due consideration to any comments which may have been received, the Assistant Secretary shall transmit such standards to the Board for its review and approval.
(C) Upon the approval of the Board, the Assistant Secretary shall transmit final standards to the Secretary which meet the requirements of the particular subparagraphs of paragraph(2) for which such standards were developed. Such standards shall be binding upon all activities carried out with funds appropriated pursuant to subsection(m).
(j) ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY.--In carrying out the activities and programs of the Office, the Assistant Secretary--
(1) shall be guided by the Research Priorities Plan developed by the Assistant Secretary working collaboratively with the Board and which has been approved by the Board;
(2) shall ensure that there is broad and regular public and professional involvement from the educational field in the planning and carrying out of the Office's activities, including establishing teacher advisory boards for any program office, program or project of the Office as the Assistant Secretary deems necessary and involving Indian and Alaska Native researchers and educators in activities that relate to the education of Indian and Alaska Native people;
(3) shall ensure that the selection of research topics and the administration of the program are free from undue partisan political influence;
(4) shall ensure that all statistics and other data collected and reported by the Office shall be collected, cross-tabulated, analyzed, and reported by sex within race or ethnicity and socioeconomic status whenever feasible (and when such data collection or analysis is not feasible, ensure that the relevant report or document includes an explanation as to why such data collection or analysis is not feasible);
(5) is authorized to administer funds to support a single project when more than 1 Federal agency uses funds to support such project, and the Assistant Secretary may act for all such agencies in administering such funds; and
(6) is authorized to offer information and technical assistance to State and local educational agencies, school boards, and schools, including schools funded by the Bureau, to ensure that no student is--
(A) denied access to the same rigorous, challenging curriculum that such student's peers are offered; or
(B) grouped or otherwise labeled in such a way that may impede such student's achievement.
(k) INDEPENDENT EVALUATIONS.--The Secretary shall enter into one or more contracts for the conduct of an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the implementation of the provisions of this title. Such evaluations shall be transmitted to the Congress, the President, and the Assistant Secretary not later than 54 months after the date of the enactment of this title.
(l) DEFINITIONS.--For purposes of this title, the following definitions apply:
(1) ASSISTANT SECRETARY.--The term "Assistant Secretary" means the Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement established by section 202 of the Department of Education Organization Act.
(2) AT-RISK STUDENT.--The term "at-risk student" means a student who, because of limited English proficiency, poverty, race, geographic location, or economic disadvantage, faces a greater risk of low educational achievement or reduced academic expectations.
(3) BOARD.--The term "Board" means the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board.
(4) DEVELOPMENT.--The term "development"--
(A) means the systematic use, adaptation, and transformation of knowledge and understanding gained from research to create alternatives, policies, products, methods, practices, or materials which can contribute to the improvement of educational practice; and
(B) includes the design and development of prototypes and the testing of such prototypes for the purposes of establishing their feasibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
(5) DISSEMINATION.--The term "dissemination" means the communication and transfer, through the provision of technical assistance and other means, of the results of research and proven practice in forms that are understandable, easily accessible and usable or adaptable for use in the improvement of educational practice by teachers, administrators, librarians, other practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and the public.
(6) EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH.--The term "educational research" includes basic and applied research, inquiry with the purpose of applying tested knowledge gained to specific educational settings and problems, development, planning, surveys, assessments, evaluations, investigations, experiments, and demonstrations in the field of education and other fields relating to education.
(7) FIELD-INITIATED RESEARCH.--The term "field-initiated research" means education research in which topics and methods of study are generated by investigators, including teachers and other practitioners, not by the source of funding.
(8) NATIONAL EDUCATION DISSEMINATION SYSTEM.--The term "national education dissemination system" means the activities carried out by the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination established by section 941.
(9) OFFICE.--The term "Office", unless otherwise specified, means the Office of Educational Research and Improvement established in section 209 of the Department of Education Organization Act.
(10) NATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE.--The term "national research institute" means an institute established in section 931.
(11) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.--The term "technical assistance" means assistance in identifying, selecting, or designing solutions based on research to address educational problems, planning, and design that leads to adapting research knowledge to school practice, training to implement such solutions, and other assistance necessary to encourage adoption or application of research.
(12) UNITED STATES; STATE.--The terms "United States" and "State" means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau (until the effective date of the Compact of Free Association with the Government of Palau), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
(m) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--
(1) NATIONAL INSTITUTES.--
(A) For the purpose of carrying out section 931, there is authorized to be appropriated $68,000,000 for fiscal year 1995.
(B)
(i) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment and the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students, there are authorized to be appropriated $60,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 1997, 1998, and 1999.
(ii) Of the total amounts appropriated pursuant to clause (i)--
(I) 50 percent shall be used by the Assistant Secretary for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students; and
(II) 50 percent shall be used for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment.
(C) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on Educational Governance, Finance, Policy-Making, and Management, there are authorized to be appropriated $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 1997, 1998, and 1999.
(D) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education, there are authorized to be appropriated $15,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 1997, 1998, and 1999.
(E) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 931 relating to the National Institute on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning, there are authorized to be appropriated $15,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 1997, 1998, and 1999.
(F) COORDINATION AND SYNTHESIS.--The Assistant Secretary is authorized to reserve not more than 10 percent of the total amounts appropriated in any fiscal year pursuant to subparagraphs
(A) through (E) (but not more than 33 percent of the amount appropriated for any single institute in any fiscal year) for the purposes of supporting coordination and synthesis activities described in section 931(i) or to address other priorities which are consistent with the Research Priorities Plan developed by the Assistant Secretary and approved by the Board.
(2) NATIONAL EDUCATION DISSEMINATION SYSTEM.--
(A)
(i) For the purpose of carrying out paragraph (2) of subsection (b) and subsections (c) through (g) of section 941, there are authorized to be appropriated $23,000,000 for fiscal year 1995, and such sums as are necessary for each of the fiscal years 1996 through 1999.
(ii) Of the amount appropriated under clause (i) for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall make available not less than $8,000,000 to carry out subsection (f) of section 941 (relating to Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses).
(B) For the purpose of carrying out subsection (h) of section 941 (relating to regional educational laboratories), there are authorized to be appropriated $41,000,000 for fiscal year 1995, and such sums as are necessary for each of the fiscal years 1996 through 1999. Of the amounts appropriated under the preceding sentence for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall obligate not less than 25 percent to carry out such purpose with respect to rural areas (including schools funded by the Bureau which are located in rural areas).
(C) For the purpose of carrying out subsection (j) of section 941 (relating to the teacher research dissemination demonstration program) there are authorized to be appropriated $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1995, and such sums as are necessary for each of the fiscal years 1996 through 1999.
(D) For the purpose of carrying out subsection (i) of section 941 (relating to the Goals 2000 Community Partnerships program), there are authorized to be appropriated $30,000,000 for fiscal year 1995, $50,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and such sums as are necessary for each of the fiscal years 1997 and 1999.
(3) NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH POLICY AND PRIORITIES BOARD.--Of the amounts appropriated under paragraphs (1) and for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall make available 2 percent of such amounts, or $1,000,000, whichever is less, for the purpose of supporting the activities and expenses of the Board and the collaborative development of the Research Priorities Plan by the Assistant Secretary and the Board.
(4) ALLOCATIONS FOR GRANTS, COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS, AND CONTRACTS.--Of the amounts appropriated under paragraph (1) or (2) for any fiscal year, not less than 95 percent shall be expended to carry out the purposes described in such paragraphs through grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts.
(5) LIMITATIONS ON APPROPRIATIONS.--No amounts are authorized to be appropriated under paragraph (1) or (2) for fiscal year 1996 or any fiscal year thereafter unless the Board has been appointed in accordance with section 921.
(6) GRANT AUTHORIZED.--
(A) IN GENERAL.--From the amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph
(1) for any fiscal year, the Secretary is authorized, in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph, to award a grant of not more than $5,000,000 to a public or private institution, agency or organization for a period not to exceed 5 years for the purpose of conducting a State-by-State poll to determine the perceptions of recent graduates of secondary schools, their instructors in institutions of higher education, parents of recent such graduates, and employers of recent such graduates on how well schools have prepared students for further education or employment.
(B) MATCHING REQUIREMENT.--The grant described in subparagraph (A) shall be awarded on a competitive basis and shall be matched on a two-to-one basis by the recipient.

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PART A--GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT Table of Contents SEC. 913. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT.