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



(1) FINDINGS.--The Congress finds as follows:
(A) In order to improve the American educational system for all students, achieve the National Education Goals, and provide for greater educational equity, policymakers, administrators, teachers, and parents must have ready access to the best information and methods available as a result of educational research and development.
(B) The Office of Educational Research and Improvement should have as one of its primary purposes the dissemination of such information and methods in order to assist the national education reform effort.
(C) All current resources within the Office, the Department of Education, and other agencies that can help accomplish the purposes described in subparagraph (B) should be coordinated by the Assistant Secretary, to the extent practicable, so as to form a systematic process to accomplish such purposes.
(D) Education research has the capacity to improve teaching and learning in our Nation's schools, however, teachers need training in the skills necessary to translate research into practice and to allow teachers to become knowledgeable practitioners and leaders in educational improvement.
(E) Adequate linkages between research and development providers and practitioners are essential to ensuring that research on effective practice is useful, disseminated to and supported with technical assistance for all educators, and that all educators are partners in the research and development process.
(2) PURPOSE.--The purpose of this section is to--
(A) create a national system of dissemination, development, and educational improvement in order to create, adapt, identify, validate, and disseminate to educators, parents, and policymakers those educational programs that have potential or have been shown to improve educational opportunities for all students; and
(B) empower and increase the capacity of teachers to participate in the research and development process.
(3) DEFINITION OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM.--For the purposes of this section, the term "educational program" includes educational policies, research findings, practices, and products.
(1) IN GENERAL.--There is established within the Office an Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination (hereafter in this section referred to as the "Dissemination Office") through which the Secretary shall carry out all functions and activities described in this section. Such office shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Assistant Secretary and have demonstrated expertise and experience in dissemination, including promoting the effective use of research in the classroom.
(2) CERTAIN DUTIES.--The Dissemination Office shall--
(A) disseminate relevant and useful research, information, products, and publications developed through or supported by the Department of Education to schools, educators, parents, and policymakers throughout the United States;
(B) operate a depository for all Department of Education publications and products and make available for reproduction such publications and products;
(C) provide technical and financial assistance to individuals and organizations in the process of developing promising educational programs but who might not, without such assistance, be able to complete necessary development and assessment activities;
(D) coordinate the dissemination efforts of the Office, the regional educational laboratories, the research institutes, the National Diffusion Network, and the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses;
(E) provide training and technical assistance regarding the implementation and adoption of exemplary and promising programs by interested entities;
(F) carry out a program of research on models for successful knowledge dissemination, and utilization, and strategies for reaching education policymakers, practitioners, and others interested in education;
(G) develop the capacity to connect schools and teachers seeking information with the relevant regional educational laboratories assisted under subsection (h), the National Diffusion Network, the Institutes assisted under this section, and the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses; and
(H) provide a biennial report to the Secretary regarding the types of information, products, and services that teachers, schools, and school districts have requested and have determined to be most useful, and describe future plans to adapt Department of Education products and services to address the needs of the users of such information, products, and services.
(3) ADDITIONAL DUTIES.--The Dissemination Office shall carry out a process for the identification of educational programs that work, dissemination through electronic networking and new technologies and the functions and activities performed by the following:
(A) The Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses.
(B) The regional educational laboratories.
(C) The Teacher Research Dissemination Demonstration Program.
(D) The Goals 2000 Community Partnerships Program.
(E) The existing National Diffusion Network and its Developer-Demonstrator and State Facilitator projects.
(F) Such other programs, activities, or entities the Secretary determines are consistent with purposes for which the Dissemination Office is established.
(c) IDENTIFICATION OF PROGRAMS.--The Assistant Secretary shall coordinate a process through which successful educational programs are actively sought out for possible dissemination through the national educational dissemination system. Such process shall, at a minimum, have the capability to--
(1) work closely with the Institutes, research and development centers, regional educational laboratories, the National Diffusion Network and its Developer-Demonstrator and State Facilitator projects, learning grant institutions established under the Goals 2000 Community Partnerships Program, Department of Education-supported technical assistance providers, and other entities to identify successful educational programs at the regional, State, local, or classroom level;
(2) review successful educational programs supported by the Department of Education through all of its programs;
(3) through cooperative agreements, review for possible inclusion in the system educational programs administered by the Departments of Health and Human Services (particularly the Head Start program), Labor, and Defense, the National Science Foundation, the Department of the Interior (particularly the Office of Indian Education Programs), and any other appropriate Federal agency; and
(4) provide for an active outreach effort to identify successful educational programs through cooperative arrangements with State and local education agencies, teachers and teacher organizations, curriculum associations, foundations, private schools, institutions of higher education, and other entities that could enhance the ability of the Secretary to identify programs for possible inclusion in the dissemination system.
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Board, shall establish 1 or more panels of appropriately qualified experts and practitioners to--
(A) evaluate educational programs that have been identified by the Secretary under subsection (c) or that have been submitted to the Secretary for such evaluation by some other individual or organization; and
(B) recommend to the Secretary programs that should be designated as exemplary or promising educational programs.
(2) CONSIDERATIONS IN MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS.--In determining whether an educational program should receive a recommendation under paragraph (1), a panel established under such paragraph shall consider--
(A) whether, based on empirical data, which may include test results, the program is effective and should be designated as exemplary and disseminated through the national dissemination system; or
(B) whether there is sufficient evidence to lead a panel of experts and practitioners to believe that the program shows promise for improving student achievement and should be designated as promising and disseminated through the national dissemination system while the program continues to be evaluated.
(3) REQUIREMENT REGARDING APPROVAL OF PROGRAMS.--In seeking out programs for approval under paragraph (2), the Assistant Secretary shall seek programs that may be implemented at the State, local, and classroom level.
(A) A panel shall not eliminate a program from consideration under this subsection based solely on the fact that the program does not have one specific type of supporting data, such as test scores.
(B) The Assistant Secretary may not designate a program as exemplary or promising unless a panel established under paragraph (1) has recommended that the program be so designated.
(C) The Secretary shall establish such panels under paragraph (1) as may be necessary to ensure that each program identified or submitted for evaluation is evaluated.
(D) Not less than 2/3 of the membership of a panel established under paragraph (1) shall consist of individuals who are not officers or employees of the United States. Members of panels under paragraph (1) who are not employees of the United States shall receive compensation for each day they are engaged in carrying out the duties of the panel as well as compensation for their expenses.
(e) DISSEMINATION OF EXEMPLARY AND PROMISING PROGRAMS.--In order to ensure that programs identified as exemplary or promising are available for adoption by the greatest number of teachers, schools, local and State education agencies, and Bureau-funded schools, the Assistant Secretary shall utilize the capabilities of--
(1) the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses;
(2) electronic networking;
(3) the regional educational laboratories;
(4) the National Diffusion Network;
(5) entities established under the Goals 2000 Community Partnerships Program;
(6) department-supported technical assistance providers;
(7) the National Library of Education; and
(8) other public and private nonprofit entities, including existing education associations and networks, that have the capability to assist educators in adopting exemplary and promising programs.
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish a system of 16 clearinghouses having, at a minimum, the functions and scope of work as the clearinghouses had on the day preceding the date of the enactment of this title. The Assistant Secretary shall establish for the clearinghouses a policy for the abstraction from, and inclusion in, the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses system for books, periodicals, reports, and other materials related to education.
(2) ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS.--In addition to those functions carried out by the clearinghouses on the day preceding the date of the enactment of this title, such clearinghouses may--
(A) periodically produce interpretive summaries, digests, and syntheses of the results and findings of education-related research and development; and
(B) contain and make available to users information concerning those programs designated as exemplary and promising under subsection (d).
(3) COORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES.--The Assistant Secretary shall assure that the functions and activities of such clearinghouses are coordinated with the activities of the Institutes, the regional educational laboratories, learning grant institutions, other clearinghouses supported by the Department of Education, the National Diffusion Network, and other appropriate entities within the Office and such Department.
(4) SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES of the secretary.--To assure that the information provided through such clearinghouses is fully comprehensive, the Secretary shall--
(A) require that all reports, studies, and other resources produced directly or by grant or contract with the Department of Education are made available to clearinghouses;
(B) establish cooperative agreements with the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Interior, and other Federal departments and agencies to assure that all education-related reports, studies, and other resources produced directly or by grant from or contract with the Federal Government are made available to such clearinghouses; and
(C) devise an effective system for maximizing the identification, synthesis, and dissemination of information related to the needs of Indian and Alaska Native children.
(A) No clearinghouse or other entity receiving assistance under this subsection may copyright or otherwise charge a royalty or other fee that--
(i) is for the use or redissemination of any database, index, abstract, report, or other information produced with assistance under this subsection; and
(ii) exceeds the incremental cost of disseminating such information.
(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the incremental cost of dissemination does not include any portion of the cost of collecting, organizing, or processing the information which is disseminated.
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary is authorized to award grants or contracts in accordance with this subsection to support the development of materials, programs, and resources which utilize new technologies and techniques to synthesize and disseminate research and development findings and other information which can be used to support educational improvement.
(2) Electronic networking.--
(A) ELECTRONIC NETWORK.--The Assistant Secretary, acting through the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination, shall establish and maintain an electronic network which shall, at a minimum, link--
(i) each office of the Department of Education;
(ii) the Institutes established by section 931;
(iii) the National Center for Education Statistics;
(iv) the National Library of Education; and
(v) entities engaged in research, development, dissemination, and technical assistance under grant from, or contract, or cooperative agreement with, the Department of Education.
(B) CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR NETWORK.--The network described in subparagraph (A) shall--
(i) to the extent feasible, build upon existing national, regional, and State electronic networks and support video, telecomputing, and interactive communications;
(ii) at a minimum, have the capability to support electronic mail and file transfer services;
(iii) be linked to and accessible to other users, including State and local education agencies, institutions of higher education, museums, libraries, and others through the Internet and the National Research and Education Network; and
(iv) be provided at no cost (excluding the costs of necessary hardware) to the contractors and grantees described in clause
(v) of subparagraph (A) and to educational institutions accessing such network through the Internet and the National Research and Education Network.
(C) INFORMATION RESOURCES.--The Assistant Secretary, acting through the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination, may make available through the network described in subparagraph (A)--
(i) information about grant and contract assistance available through the Department of Education;
(ii) an annotated directory of current research and development activities and projects being undertaken with the assistance of the Department of Education;
(iii) information about publications published by the Department of Education and, to the extent feasible, the full text of such publications;
(iv) statistics and data published by the National Center for Education Statistics;
(v) syntheses of research and development findings;
(vi) a directory of other education-related electronic networks and databases, including information about the means by which such networks and databases may be accessed;
(vii) a descriptive listing of materials and courses of instruction provided by telecommunications partnerships assisted under the Star Schools program;
(viii) resources developed by the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouses;
(ix) education-related software (including video) which is in the public domain;
(x) a listing of instructional materials available through telecommunications to local education agencies through the Public Broadcasting Service and State educational television networks; and
(xi) such other information and resources the Assistant Secretary considers useful and appropriate.
(D) EVALUATIONS REGARDING OTHER FUNCTIONS OF NETWORK.--The Assistant Secretary shall also undertake projects to test and evaluate the feasibility of using the network described in subparagraph (A) for--
(i) the submission of applications for assistance to the Department of Education; and
(ii) the collection of data and other statistics through the National Center for Education Statistics.
(E) TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.--The Assistant Secretary, acting through the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination, shall--
(i) provide such training and technical assistance as may be necessary to enable the contractors and grantees described in clause (v) of subparagraph (A) to participate in the electronic network described in such subparagraph; and
(ii) work with the National Science Foundation to provide, upon request, assistance to State and local educational agencies, the Department of the Interior's Office of Indian Education Programs, tribal departments of education, State library agencies, libraries, museums, and other educational institutions in obtaining access to the Internet and the National Research and Education Network.
(1) REGIONAL EDUCATIONAL LABORATORIES.--The Assistant Secretary shall enter into contracts with public or private nonprofit entities to establish a networked system of not less than 10 and not more than 12 regional educational laboratories which serve the needs of each region of the United States in accordance with the provisions of this subsection. The amount of assistance allocated to each laboratory by the Assistant Secretary shall reflect the number of local educational agencies and the number of school-age children within the region served by such laboratory, as well as the cost of providing services within the geographic area encompassed by the region.
(2) REGIONS.--The regions served by the regional educational laboratories shall be the 10 geographic regions in existence on the day preceding the date of the enactment of this title, except that in fiscal year 1996, the Assistant Secretary may support not more than 2 additional regional educational laboratories serving regions not in existence on the day preceding the date of enactment of this Act, provided that--
(A) the amount appropriated for the regional educational laboratories in fiscal year 1996 exceeds the amount appropriated for the regional educational laboratories in fiscal year 1995 by not less than $2,000,000;
(B) each such additional regional laboratory shall be supported by not less than $2,000,000 annually;
(C) the creation of any such additional laboratory region is announced at the time of the announcement of the competition for contracts for all regional educational laboratories;
(D) the creation of a regional educational laboratory that involves the combination or subdivision of a region or regions in existence on the day preceding the date of enactment of this Act in which States in 1 such region are combined with States in another such region does not result in any region in existence on such date permanently becoming part of a larger region, nor result in any such region permanently subsuming another region, nor creates within the continental United States a region that is smaller than 4 contiguous States, nor partitions a region in existence on the day preceding the date of the enactment of this Act to include less than 4 contiguous States included in the region on the day preceding the date of enactment of this Act;
(E) the Assistant Secretary has published a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public, for a period of not less than 60 days, to make recommendations with respect to the creation of 1 or 2 additional regional educational laboratories;
(F) the Assistant Secretary has solicited and received letters of support for the creation of any new region from the Chief State School Officers and State boards of education in each of the contiguous States that would be included in such new region.
(3) DUTIES.--Each regional educational laboratory receiving assistance under this section shall promote the implementation of broad-based systemic school improvement strategies and shall have as such laboratory's central mission and primary function to--
(A) develop and disseminate educational research products and processes to schools, teachers, local educational agencies, State educational agencies, librarians, and schools funded by the Bureau, as appropriate, and through such development and dissemination, and provide technical assistance, to help all students meet standards;
(B) develop a plan for identifying and serving the needs of the region by conducting a continuing survey of the educational needs, strengths, and weaknesses within the region, including a process of open hearings to solicit the views of schools, teachers, administrators, parents, local educational agencies, librarians, and State educational agencies within the region;
(C) provide technical assistance to State and local educational agencies, school boards, schools funded by the Bureau, as appropriate, State boards of education, schools, and librarians;
(D) facilitate school restructuring at the individual school level, including technical assistance for adapting model demonstration grant programs to each school;
(E) serve the educational development needs of the region by providing education research in usable forms in order to promote school improvement and academic achievement and to correct educational deficiencies;
(F) facilitate communication between educational experts, school officials, and teachers, parents, and librarians, to enable such individuals to assist schools to develop a plan to meet the National Education Goals;
(G) provide training in--
(i) the field of education research and related areas;
(ii) the use of new educational methods; and
(iii) the use of information-finding methods, practices, techniques, and products developed in connection with such training for which the regional educational laboratory may support internships and fellowships and provide stipends;
(H) use applied educational research to assist in solving site-specific problems and to assist in development activities;
(I) conduct applied research projects designed to serve the particular needs of the region only in the event that such quality applied research does not exist as determined by the regional education laboratory or the Department of Education;
(J) collaborate and coordinate services with other technical assistance providers funded by the Department of Education;
(K) provide support and technical assistance in--
(i) replicating and adapting exemplary and promising practices;
(ii) the development of high-quality, challenging curriculum frameworks;
(iii) the development of valid, reliable assessments which are linked to State, local, or Bureau-funded content and student performance standards and reflect recent advances in the field of educational assessment;
(iv) the improvement of professional development strategies to assure that all teachers are prepared to teach a challenging curriculum;
(v) expanding and improving the use of technology in education to improve teaching and learning;
(vi) the development of alternatives for restructuring school finance systems to promote greater equity in the distribution of resources; and
(vii) the development of alternative administrative structures which are more conducive to planning, implementing, and sustaining school reform and improved educational outcomes; and
(L) bring teams of experts together to develop and implement school improvement plans and strategies.
(4) NETWORKING.--In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the regional laboratories, the governing boards of the regional laboratories shall establish and maintain a network to--
(A) share information about the activities each laboratory is carrying out;
(B) plan joint activities that would meet the needs of multiple regions;
(C) create a strategic plan for the development of activities undertaken by the laboratories to reduce redundancy and increase collaboration and resource-sharing in such activities; and
(D) otherwise devise means by which the work of the individual laboratories could serve national, as well as regional, needs.
(5) ADDITIONAL DUTIES.--Each regional education laboratory receiving assistance under this subsection shall carry out the following activities:
(A) Collaborate with the Institutes established under section 931 in order to--
(i) maximize the use of research conducted through the Institutes in the work of such laboratory;
(ii) keep the Institutes apprised of the work of the regional educational laboratory in the field; and
(iii) inform the Institutes about additional research needs identified in the field.
(B) Consult with the State educational agencies and library agencies in the region in developing the plan for serving the region.
(C) Develop strategies to utilize schools as critical components in reforming education and revitalizing rural communities in the United States.
(D) Report and disseminate information on overcoming the obstacles faced by rural educators and rural schools.
(E) Identify successful educational programs that have either been developed by such laboratory in carrying out such laboratory's functions or that have been developed or used by others within the region served by the laboratory and make such information available to the Secretary and the network of regional laboratories so that such programs may be considered for inclusion in the national education dissemination system.