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ESEA General Provisions
In general, Title IX of the ESEA continues, with minor and updating changes, many of the types of provisions found in Title XIV of the predecessor law, such as definitions, flexibility provisions relating to consolidated plans and use of administrative funds, Secretarial waivers, uniform provisions, and limitations on the Federal role in education. Summarized below are some of the more significant new general provisions.
Definitions - Section 9101 of the ESEA adds new definitions of terms, including the following: "Beginning Teacher;" "Core Academic Subjects;" "Distance Learning;" "Exemplary Teacher;" "Highly Qualified" (as applied to a teacher); "Limited English Proficient;" "Parental Involvement;" "Poverty Line;" "Professional Development;" "Scientifically Based Research;" and "Teacher Mentoring."
School Prayer - Section 9524 of the ESEA requires the Secretary to publish guidance on constitutionally protected school prayer in the public schools by September 1, 2002, and every second year thereafter. The Secretary must consult with the Department of Justice in preparing the guidance. In order to receive funds under the ESEA, each LEA must certify in writing each year to the SEA that it has no policy that prevents constitutionally protected prayer in the public schools as detailed in the Secretary's guidance. The Secretary is directed to bring enforcement action against any LEA that fails to submit the required certification or that provides its certification in bad faith. (Under current law, the Secretary is directed to withhold ESEA funds from any SEA or LEA that is determined by a Federal court to have willfully violated a Federal court order to refrain from violating the constitutional right of any student with respect to prayer in the public schools.)
Boy Scouts of America Equal Access - Section 9525 of the ESEA prohibits an SEA, LEA, or public school that receives funds from the Department and permits outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises before or after school from denying equal access to those facilities to the Boy Scouts based on the latter's membership criteria or oath of allegiance. The Secretary is directed to enforce the requirement of equal access through administrative means.
Armed Forces Recruiting - Section 9528 of the ESEA requires each LEA that receives funds under the ESEA to provide, on request by a military recruiter or an institution of higher education, access to the names, addresses, and telephone listings for secondary students. However, parents may request that such information not be released for their child without prior written parental consent. LEAs must give military recruiters the same right of access to secondary students as they provide generally to postsecondary institutions and prospective employers.
Unsafe School Choice Option - Section 9532 of the ESEA requires each State that receives ESEA funds to implement a statewide policy that offers to the parents of each student who attends a "persistently dangerous" public school (as determined by the State), or "who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense" (as determined by State law) while on school grounds the option to attend a safe public school within the same LEA.
Regulations - Section 9535 of the ESEA directs the Secretary to issue regulations under the ESEA "only to the extent that such regulations are necessary to ensure that there is compliance with [the ESEA's] specific requirements and assurances." However the Conference Report to H.R. 1 clarifies that this statutory language was not intended "to prohibit the Secretary from issuing regulations that are reasonably necessary to ensure timely and orderly grant-making, high-quality applications that respond to priority needs, or grantee accountability."