Laws & Guidance ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION
Part C — Innovation for Teacher Quality

SEC. 2301  |  SEC. 2302  |  SEC. 2303  |  SEC. 2304  |  SEC. 2305  |  SEC. 2306  |  SEC. 2307

Subpart 1 — Transitions to Teaching

CHAPTER A — TROOPS-TO-TEACHERS PROGRAM

SEC. 2301. DEFINITIONS.

    In this chapter:

      (1) ARMED FORCES- The term Armed Forces' means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

      (2) MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES- The term member of the Armed Forces' includes a former member of the Armed Forces.

      (3) PROGRAM- The term Program' means the Troops-to-Teachers Program authorized by this chapter.

      (4) RESERVE COMPONENT- The term reserve component' means —

        (A) the Army National Guard of the United States;

        (B) the Army Reserve;

        (C) the Naval Reserve;

        (D) the Marine Corps Reserve;

        (E) the Air National Guard of the United States;

        (F) the Air Force Reserve; and

        (G) the Coast Guard Reserve.

      (5) SECRETARY CONCERNED- The term Secretary concerned' means —

        (A) the Secretary of the Army, with respect to matters concerning a reserve component of the Army;

        (B) the Secretary of the Navy, with respect to matters concerning reserve components named in subparagraphs (C) and (D) of paragraph (4);

        (C) the Secretary of the Air Force, with respect to matters concerning a reserve component of the Air Force; and

        (D) the Secretary of Transportation, with respect to matters concerning the Coast Guard Reserve.

SEC. 2302. AUTHORIZATION OF TROOPS-TO-TEACHERS PROGRAM.

    (a) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to authorize a mechanism for the funding and administration of the Troops-to-Teachers Program, which was originally established by the Troops-to-Teachers Program Act of 1999 (title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000) (20 U.S.C. 9301 et seq.).

    (b) PROGRAM AUTHORIZED- The Secretary may carry out a program (to be known as the Troops-to-Teachers Program') —

      (1) to assist eligible members of the Armed Forces described in section 2303 to obtain certification or licensing as elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, or vocational or technical teachers, and to become highly qualified teachers; and

      (2) to facilitate the employment of such members —

        (A) by local educational agencies or public charter schools that the Secretary identifies as —

          (i) receiving grants under part A of title I as a result of having within their jurisdictions concentrations of children from low-income families; or

          (ii) experiencing a shortage of highly qualified teachers, in particular a shortage of science, mathematics, special education, or vocational or technical teachers; and

        (B) in elementary schools or secondary schools, or as vocational or technical teachers.

    (c) ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAM- The Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Secretary of Defense under which the Secretary of Defense, acting through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support of the Department of Defense, will perform the actual administration of the Program, other than section 2306. Using funds appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this chapter, the Secretary shall transfer to the Secretary of Defense such amounts as may be necessary to administer the Program pursuant to the memorandum of agreement.

    (d) INFORMATION REGARDING PROGRAM- The Secretary shall provide to the Secretary of Defense information regarding the Program and applications to participate in the Program, for distribution as part of preseparation counseling provided under section 1142 of title 10, United States Code, to members of the Armed Forces described in section 2303.

    (e) PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE AND REFERRAL SERVICES- The Secretary may, with the agreement of the Secretary of Defense, provide placement assistance and referral services to members of the Armed Forces who meet the criteria described in section 2303, including meeting education qualification requirements under subsection 2303(c)(2). Such members shall not be eligible for financial assistance under subsections (c) and (d) of section 2304.

SEC. 2303. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS.

    (a) ELIGIBLE MEMBERS- The following members of the Armed Forces are eligible for selection to participate in the Program:

      (1) Any member who —

        (A) on or after October 1, 1999, becomes entitled to retired or retainer pay in the manner provided in title 10 or title 14, United States Code;

        (B) has an approved date of retirement that is within 1 year after the date on which the member submits an application to participate in the Program; or

        (C) has been transferred to the Retired Reserve.

      (2) Any member who, on or after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 —

        (A)(i) is separated or released from active duty after 6 or more years of continuous active duty immediately before the separation or release; or

        (ii) has completed a total of at least 10 years of active duty service, 10 years of service computed under section 12732 of title 10, United States Code, or 10 years of any combination of such service; and

        (B) executes a reserve commitment agreement for a period of not less than 3 years under subsection (e)(2).

      (3) Any member who, on or after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is retired or separated for physical disability under chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code.

      (4) Any member who —

        (A) during the period beginning on October 1, 1990, and ending on September 30, 1999, was involuntarily discharged or released from active duty for purposes of a reduction of force after 6 or more years of continuous active duty immediately before the discharge or release; or

        (B) applied for the teacher placement program administered under section 1151 of title 10, United States Code, before the repeal of that section, and satisfied the eligibility criteria specified in subsection (c) of such section 1151.

    (b) SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS-

      (1) FORM AND SUBMISSION- Selection of eligible members of the Armed Forces to participate in the Program shall be made on the basis of applications submitted to the Secretary within the time periods specified in paragraph (2). An application shall be in such form and contain such information as the Secretary may require.

      (2) TIME FOR SUBMISSION- An application shall be considered to be submitted on a timely basis under paragraph (1) if —

        (A) in the case of a member described in paragraph (1)(A), (2), or (3) of subsection (a), the application is submitted not later than 4 years after the date on which the member is retired or separated or released from active duty, whichever applies to the member; or

        (B) in the case of a member described in subsection (a)(4), the application is submitted not later than September 30, 2003.

    (c) SELECTION CRITERIA-

      (1) ESTABLISHMENT- Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the Secretary shall prescribe the criteria to be used to select eligible members of the Armed Forces to participate in the Program.

      (2) EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND-

        (A) ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER- If a member of the Armed Forces described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) is applying for assistance for placement as an elementary school or secondary school teacher, the Secretary shall require the member to have received a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

        (B) VOCATIONAL OR TECHNICAL TEACHER- If a member of the Armed Forces described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) is applying for assistance for placement as a vocational or technical teacher, the Secretary shall require the member —

          ave received the equivalent of 1 year of college from an accredited institution of higher education and have 6 or more years of military experience in a vocational or technical field; or

          (ii) to otherwise meet the certification or licensing requirements for a vocational or technical teacher in the State in which the member seeks assistance for placement under the Program.

      (3) HONORABLE SERVICE- A member of the Armed Forces is eligible to participate in the Program only if the member's last period of service in the Armed Forces was honorable, as characterized by the Secretary concerned (as defined in section 101(a)(9) of title 10, United States Code). A member selected to participate in the Program before the retirement of the member or the separation or release of the member from active duty may continue to participate in the Program after the retirement, separation, or release only if the member's last period of service is characterized as honorable by the Secretary concerned (as so defined).

    (d) SELECTION PRIORITIES- In selecting eligible members of the Armed Forces to receive assistance under the Program, the Secretary shall give priority to members who have educational or military experience in science, mathematics, special education, or vocational or technical subjects and agree to seek employment as science, mathematics, or special education teachers in elementary schools or secondary schools or in other schools under the jurisdiction of a local educational agency.

    (e) OTHER CONDITIONS ON SELECTION-

      (1) SELECTION SUBJECT TO FUNDING- The Secretary may not select an eligible member of the Armed Forces to participate in the Program under this section and receive financial assistance under section 2304 unless the Secretary has sufficient appropriations for the Program available at the time of the selection to satisfy the obligations to be incurred by the United States under section 2304 with respect to the member.

      (2) RESERVE COMMITMENT AGREEMENT- The Secretary may not select an eligible member of the Armed Forces described in subsection (a)(2)(A) to participate in the Program under this section and receive financial assistance under section 2304 unless —

        (A) the Secretary notifies the Secretary concerned and the member that the Secretary has reserved a full stipend or bonus under section 2304 for the member; and

        (B) the member executes a written agreement with the Secretary concerned to serve as a member of the Selected Reserve of a reserve component of the Armed Forces for a period of not less than 3 years (in addition to any other reserve commitment the member may have).

SEC. 2304. PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.

    (a) PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- An eligible member of the Armed Forces selected to participate in the Program under section 2303 and receive financial assistance under this section shall be required to enter into an agreement with the Secretary in which the member agrees —

        (A) within such time as the Secretary may require, to obtain certification or licensing as an elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher, and to become a highly qualified teacher; and

        (B) to accept an offer of full-time employment as an elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher for not less than 3 school years with a high-need local educational agency or public charter school, as such terms are defined in section 2101, to begin the school year after obtaining that certification or licensing.

      (2) WAIVER- The Secretary may waive the 3-year commitment described in paragraph (1)(B) for a participant if the Secretary determines such waiver to be appropriate. If the Secretary provides the waiver, the participant shall not be considered to be in violation of the agreement and shall not be required to provide reimbursement under subsection (f), for failure to meet the 3-year commitment.

    (b) VIOLATION OF PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT; EXCEPTIONS- A participant in the Program shall not be considered to be in violation of the participation agreement entered into under subsection (a) during any period in which the participant —

      (1) is pursuing a full-time course of study related to the field of teaching at an institution of higher education;

      (2) is serving on active duty as a member of the Armed Forces;

      (3) is temporarily totally disabled for a period of time not to exceed 3 years as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician;

      (4) is unable to secure employment for a period not to exceed 12 months by reason of the care required by a spouse who is disabled;

      (5) is a highly qualified teacher who is seeking and unable to find full-time employment as a teacher in an elementary school or secondary school or as a vocational or technical teacher for a single period not to exceed 27 months; or

      (6) satisfies the provisions of additional reimbursement exceptions that may be prescribed by the Secretary.

    (c) STIPEND FOR PARTICIPANTS-

      (1) STIPEND AUTHORIZED- Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may pay to a participant in the Program selected under section 2303 a stipend in an amount of not more than $5,000.

      (2) LIMITATION- The total number of stipends that may be paid under paragraph (1) in any fiscal year may not exceed 5,000.

    (d) BONUS FOR PARTICIPANTS-

      (1) BONUS AUTHORIZED- Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may, in lieu of paying a stipend under subsection (c), pay a bonus of $10,000 to a participant in the Program selected under section 2303 who agrees in the participation agreement under subsection (a) to become a highly qualified teacher and to accept full-time employment as an elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher for not less than 3 school years in a high-need school.

      (2) LIMITATION- The total number of bonuses that may be paid under paragraph (1) in any fiscal year may not exceed 3,000.

      (3) HIGH-NEED SCHOOL DEFINED- In this subsection, the term high-need school' means a public elementary school, public secondary school, or public charter school that meets one or more of the following criteria:

        (A) LOW-INCOME CHILDREN- At least 50 percent of the students enrolled in the school were from low-income families (as described in section 2302(b)(2)(A)(i)).

        (B) CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES- The school has a large percentage of students who qualify for assistance under part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

    (e) TREATMENT OF STIPEND AND BONUS- A stipend or bonus paid under this section to a participant in the Program shall be taken into account in determining the eligibility of the participant for Federal student financial assistance provided under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

    (f) REIMBURSEMENT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES-

      (1) REIMBURSEMENT REQUIRED- A participant in the Program who is paid a stipend or bonus under this section shall be required to repay the stipend or bonus under the following circumstances:

        (A) FAILURE TO OBTAIN QUALIFICATIONS OR EMPLOYMENT- The participant fails to obtain teacher certification or licensing, to become a highly qualified teacher, or to obtain employment as an elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher as required by the participation agreement under subsection (a).

        (B) TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT- The participant voluntarily leaves, or is terminated for cause from, employment as an elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher during the 3 years of required service in violation of the participation agreement.

        (C) FAILURE TO COMPLETE SERVICE UNDER RESERVE COMMITMENT AGREEMENT- The participant executed a written agreement with the Secretary concerned under section 2303(e)(2) to serve as a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces for a period of 3 years and fails to complete the required term of service.

      (2) AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT- A participant required to reimburse the Secretary for a stipend or bonus paid to the participant under this section shall pay an amount that bears the same ratio to the amount of the stipend or bonus as the unserved portion of required service bears to the 3 years of required service. Any amount owed by the participant shall bear interest at the rate equal to the highest rate being paid by the United States on the day on which the reimbursement is determined to be due for securities having maturities of 90 days or less and shall accrue from the day on which the participant is first notified of the amount due.

      (3) TREATMENT OF OBLIGATION- The obligation to reimburse the Secretary under this subsection is, for all purposes, a debt owing the United States. A discharge in bankruptcy under title 11, United States Code, shall not release a participant from the obligation to reimburse the Secretary under this subsection.

      (4) EXCEPTIONS TO REIMBURSEMENT REQUIREMENT- A participant shall be excused from reimbursement under this subsection if the participant becomes permanently totally disabled as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician. The Secretary may also waive the reimbursement in cases of extreme hardship to the participant, as determined by the Secretary.

    (g) RELATIONSHIP TO EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE UNDER MONTGOMERY GI BILL- The receipt by a participant in the Program of a stipend or bonus under this section shall not reduce or otherwise affect the entitlement of the participant to any benefits under chapter 30 of title 38, United States Code, or chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code.

SEC. 2305. PARTICIPATION BY STATES.

    (a) DISCHARGE OF STATE ACTIVITIES THROUGH CONSORTIA OF STATES- The Secretary may permit States participating in the Program to carry out activities authorized for such States under the Program through one or more consortia of such States.

    (b) ASSISTANCE TO STATES-

      (1) GRANTS AUTHORIZED- Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may make grants to States participating in the Program, or to consortia of such States, in order to permit such States or consortia of States to operate offices for purposes of recruiting eligible members of the Armed Forces for participation in the Program and facilitating the employment of participants in the Program as elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, and vocational or technical teachers.

      (2) LIMITATION- The total amount of grants made under paragraph (1) in any fiscal year may not exceed $5,000,000.

SEC. 2306. SUPPORT OF INNOVATIVE PRERETIREMENT TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS.

    (a) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to provide funding to develop, implement, and demonstrate teacher certification programs.

    (b) DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION- The Secretary may enter into a memorandum of agreement with a State educational agency, an institution of higher education, or a consortia of State educational agencies or institutions of higher education, to develop, implement, and demonstrate teacher certification programs for members of the Armed Forces described in section 2303(a)(1)(B) for the purpose of assisting such members to consider and prepare for a career as a highly qualified elementary school teacher, secondary school teacher, or vocational or technical teacher upon retirement from the Armed Forces.

    (c) PROGRAM ELEMENTS- A teacher certification program under subsection (b) shall —

      (1) provide recognition of military experience and training as related to certification or licensing requirements;

      (2) provide courses of instruction that may be conducted on or near a military installation;

      (3) incorporate alternative approaches to achieve teacher certification, such as innovative methods to gaining field-based teaching experiences, and assessment of background and experience as related to skills, knowledge, and abilities required of elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, or vocational or technical teachers;

      (4) provide for courses to be delivered via distance education methods; and

      (5) address any additional requirements or specifications established by the Secretary.

    (d) APPLICATION PROCEDURES-

      (1) IN GENERAL- A State educational agency or institution of higher education (or a consortium of State educational agencies or institutions of higher education) that desires to enter into a memorandum under subsection (b) shall prepare and submit to the Secretary a proposal, at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including an assurance that the State educational agency, institution, or consortium is operating a program leading to State approved teacher certification.

      (2) PREFERENCE- The Secretary shall give preference to State educational agencies, institutions, and consortia that submit proposals that provide for cost sharing with respect to the program involved.

    (e) CONTINUATION OF PROGRAMS- Upon successful completion of the demonstration phase of teacher certification programs funded under this section, the continued operation of the teacher certification programs shall not be the responsibility of the Secretary. A State educational agency, institution, or consortium that desires to continue a program that is funded under this section after such funding is terminated shall use amounts derived from tuition charges to continue such program.

    (f) FUNDING LIMITATION- The total amount obligated by the Secretary under this section for any fiscal year may not exceed $10,000,000.

SEC. 2307. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) REPORT REQUIRED- Not later than March 31, 2006, the Secretary (in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation) and the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the effectiveness of the Program in the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel by local educational agencies and public charter schools.

    (b) ELEMENTS OF REPORT- The report submitted under subsection (a) shall include information on the following:

      (1) The number of participants in the Program.

      (2) The schools in which the participants are employed.

      (3) The grade levels at which the participants teach.

      (4) The academic subjects taught by the participants.

      (5) The rates of retention of the participants by the local educational agencies and public charter schools employing the participants.


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Last Modified: 09/15/2004