NCLB OVERVIEW
Preliminary Overview of Programs and Changes Included in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
Archived Information

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Fund for the Improvement of Education
(Title V, Part D, Subpart 1)

Overview

The Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) supports activities to promote systemic education reform at the State and local levels, recognition programs, scientifically based studies and evaluations of education reform strategies, activities to support Scholar-Athlete Games, programs to promote voter participation in American elections, demonstrations of the effectiveness of school district or school contracts with private management organizations to reform schools, and other programs that meet the purposes of the Act.

Changes from Current Law

  • Uses of funds - Updates the list of activities that are specifically authorized. Retains recognition programs, such as Blue Ribbon Schools, but also includes recognition programs for States, local educational agencies, and schools that have made the greatest progress in improving academic achievement for disadvantaged students and in closing the academic gap on academic assessments administered by the State under section 1111.

  • Applications - Specifies that applicants must establish clear objectives, based on scientifically based research, for their proposed programs and describe how they will meet those objectives.

  • Evaluations - Adds specific evaluation requirements for each award recipient and requires the Secretary to disseminate the evaluations.

  • Matching Funds - Permits the Secretary to require matching funds.

  • Required Studies - Requires the Secretary to conduct studies on unhealthy school buildings, the effects of exposure to violent entertainment, and sexual abuse in schools. The studies must be completed not later than 18 months after enactment of the Act.

Accountability

  • Program Effectiveness - Requires the Secretary to ensure that programs are designed so that their effectiveness is readily ascertainable and is assessed using rigorous, scientifically based research and evaluations. Requires each recipient to base its program objectives on scientifically based research and to evaluate the effectiveness of its program in achieving those objectives.

Allocations

  • Discretionary grants.

Set-Asides

  • None specified.


       •  FIE: Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Programs
    (Title V, Part D, Subpart 2)
         

    Overview

    Reauthorizes, within the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), this program of competitive grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish, or to expand the range, availability, quality, and quantity of, counseling services for students in elementary and secondary schools.

    Changes from Current Law

    • Eligibility - Expands eligibility for the program from elementary schools only, to both elementary and secondary schools.

    • Counseling professionals - Expands the list of professionals who may provide counseling services. Includes school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers (as does current law) but also adds child and adolescent psychiatrists and "other" qualified psychologists to the list.

    • Services - Requires that grantees provide counseling services "in settings that meet the range of student needs." (Current law is silent on this issue and, therefore, allows grantees to provide counseling services to students at school only.)

    • Other - Requires grantees to ensure that counselors, psychologists, social workers, or psychiatrists paid for with funds under this program spend a majority of their time counseling students or in other activities directly related to the counseling process.

    Accountability

    • Reporting - No accountability provisions, other than a requirement that the Secretary make publicly available a report: (1) evaluating the counseling programs funded by these grants; and (2) outlining the ratios of students to school counselors, social workers, and psychologists in the LEAs served.

    Allocations

    In awarding competitive grants, special consideration is to be given to applications describing programs that: (a) demonstrate the greatest need for new or additional counseling services, in part by providing information on current ratios of students to school counselors, social workers, and psychologists; (b) propose the most promising and innovative approaches for initiating or expanding school counseling; and (c) show the greatest potential for replication and dissemination. The Secretary is also required to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of grants among the regions of the United States and among LEAs located in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

    Set-Asides

    None.


       •  FIE: Character Education
    (Title V, Part D, Subpart 3)
         

    Overview

    Retains the Character Education program in the Fund for the Improvement of Education with some changes. The program provides Federal funding for character education programs that include such elements as caring, civic virtue and citizenship, justice and fairness, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, and other elements deemed appropriate by the grantee.

    Changes from Current Law

    • Eligible Grantees - Eliminates current restrictions on who can receive an award, the number of grants made per year, and the total amount of funding each grantee may receive. Previously, only State educational agencies (SEAs) could receive awards, the Department could make no more than 10 grants per year, and each SEA could receive a maximum of $1 million during the life of the program. Under the new program, both SEAs and local educational agencies (LEAs) are eligible to receive grants, and the restrictions on numbers of awards and lifetime funding amounts are removed.

    • Minimum Funding Amounts - SEAs applying in partnership with one or more LEAs or with one or more LEAs and other organization must receive at least $500,000, subject to the availability of appropriations.

    • Clearinghouse - Eliminates the requirement that each State grantee develop a clearinghouse, but allows the Secretary to establish a national clearinghouse that includes information on model programs, high-quality materials and curricula, and research findings in the area of character education.

    • National Activities - Authorizes the Secretary to reserve up to 5 percent of funds for national activities, including research and development, evaluations, technical assistance, and a national clearinghouse.

    • Private Schools - Explicitly authorizes participation by private-school children and teachers in character education programs and activities.

    • Matching - Permits the Secretary to require eligible grantees to match funds awarded, up to the full amount of the grant. Requires that a sliding scale be used for matches that takes into account poverty rates and the ability of the grantee to provide matching funds.

    • Increased Emphasis on Proven Strategies - Requires applicants to demonstrate that the program for which the grant is sought has clear goals and objectives that are based on scientifically based research and includes a sample selection criterion on the extent to which the program has the potential for improving student performance.

    Accountability

    • Grantee evaluation and reporting - Continues the requirement that grantees evaluate their programs and report to the Secretary, and continues to allow grantees to contract with outside sources for the evaluation.

    Allocations

    • Federal to State and Local - At least 95 percent of the funds appropriated must be competitively awarded to State and local educational agencies.

    Set-Asides

    • National activities - Allows the Secretary to reserve up to 5 percent of the funds for national research, dissemination, and evaluation, including evaluations of State and local programs receiving funding.


       •  FIE: Smaller Learning Communities
    (Title V, Part D, Subpart 4)
         

    Overview

    Extends authorization of competitive grants (within FIE) to LEAs to support local efforts to create smaller learning communities within large schools.

    Changes from Current Law

    • Moves Authorization - Reauthorizes the program as Subpart 4 of Part D (FIE) of Title V. The program is currently authorized as Section 10105 of the ESEA.

    Program Description

    • Applications - Requires an application to include, among other things, descriptions of: (1) the strategies and methods the LEA would use to create smaller learning communities; (2) the curriculum and instructional practices that would be used in the smaller learning environment; (3) the process used for involving parents, teachers, and other interested parties in the development of the smaller learning community; and (4) the method for placing students in smaller learning communities to ensure that they are placed at random or by their own choice.

    • Authorized Activities - Authorizes grantees to use their funds to, among other things: (1) study the feasibility of creating smaller learning communities; (2) research, develop, and implement strategies for creating smaller learning communities; (3) provide professional development for school staff in the teaching methods that would be used in the smaller learning community; and (4) develop and implement strategies to include parents, business representatives, community-based organizations, and other community members in the activities of the smaller learning communities.

    • Current Implementation - Appropriations language in fiscal year 2000, 2001, and 2002 stipulated that an LEA use its award only to plan, implement, or expand smaller learning communities in its large high schools, which are defined as schools that include grades 11 and 12 and enroll at least 1,000 students in grades 9 and above. The Department makes two types of awards: planning grants and implementation grants.

    Accountability

    • No specific accountability provisions.

    Allocations

    • Competitive awards to LEAs.

    Set-Asides

    • None in statute. However, the 2000, 2001, and 2002 appropriations acts directed the Department to reserve up to 6 percent for national evaluation, technical assistance, networking, peer review, and outreach activities.


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Last Modified: 01/19/2005