SEPTEMBER 20_ 2006 by sofiaie


									                                                         LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY


Prepared by:
Della Cronin (

August 13, 2008

After years of debate, Congress the House passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act on
July 31, 2008 by a vote of 380 to 49. The Senate passed the same measure later that day by
a vote of 83 to 8, with one “present” vote coming from Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
President Bush is expected to sign the bill shortly.

Analyzing the content of the 1,200-page bill in detail is a
daunting task for affected parties and the Education Department
charged with implementing its provisions, but its new reporting
requirements for institutions relative to cost and tuition will
require campus changes for many schools. The bill did increase
the purchasing power of the Pell Grant by raising the maximum award,
require private student loan lenders to follow new rules meant to protect borrowers, simplify
the federal student aid application, place an emphasis on STEM education programs and
significantly revamp Title II of the Higher Education Act—the title that addresses teacher
preparation programs.

Part A—Teacher Quality Partnership Grants
The bill revises and reauthorizes the current Title II, Part A, Teacher Quality Enhancement
Grants for States and Partnerships. It essentially consolidates the three existing programs
(state, recruitment and partnership grants) into one program—the Teach Quality Partnership

The new program authorizes the Secretary to award competitive five-year grants to
partnerships that include a high-need local educational agency (LEA), a high-need school or
consortium of high-need schools, an institution of higher education, its school of education
as well as its school of arts and sciences, and a “public or private educational organization.”
The partnership may include a number of other entities, including a governor, business,
charter school or a state-approved teacher certification program. Priority is given to the most
inclusive partnerships, those that include a preparation program that has a rigorous selection
process, and an overall award strategy that promotes equitable geographic distribution
between rural and urban areas.

Awardees are required to implement a teacher preparation program, a teaching residency
program, or both, although there is a priority for partnerships seeking to carry out a teacher
preparation program.

The teacher preparation program must include educational reforms, including a reliance on
“scientifically valid research”; clinical experience and interaction, which includes allowing
teacher mentors or higher education faculty release time or course workload credit and
compensation for participation in the program; induction programs for new teachers that
provide them with mentoring and support for at least their first two years of teaching;
support and training for participants in early childhood education programs; efforts to
strengthen content knowledge and teaching skills of elementary and secondary school
teachers; literacy training for elementary and secondary literacy coaches; and teacher
recruitment mechanisms. It should be noted that the teacher recruitment may include an
emphasis on special education, math and science teachers, as well as mid-career
professionals and underrepresented populations. The recruitment program may also include
the development of alternative routes to state certification and traditional preparation to
become highly qualified teachers.

The teaching residency program must prepare teachers for success in the high-need schools
participating in the partnership by engaging residents in rigorous graduate-level coursework
so that they may earn a master's degree while they undertake a guided teaching
apprenticeship alongside a trained and experienced mentor teacher. The mentor teacher may
be relieved of some or all of their teaching duties, as appropriate. Teacher residents are
required to be: (1) recent graduates of a four-year postsecondary institution; or (2) mid-
career professionals from outside the field of education who possess strong content
knowledge or a record of professional accomplishment. Residents are provided a living
stipend or salary during the one-year residency program in exchange for at least three years
of service in a high-need school served by the high-need LEA. Residents who do not
complete this service must repay a portion of their stipend commensurate with the amount of
service they did not complete.

Partnerships can use funds for a leadership development program in a rural area as well.

Institutional grant recipients must match 100 percent of federal funds from nonfederal
sources for program activities, unless the Secretary grants a hardship waiver.

The bill adds programs that offer alternative routes to state certification and licensure to the
teacher preparation programs that must provide annual reports to the Secretary concerning
certain measures of program effectiveness, such as student success on certification or
licensure assessments. The Secretary is prohibited from using such information to create a
national list or ranking of states, institutions, or schools.

There are a series of reporting requirements for grant recipients related to pass rates,
recruiting efforts, and other elements of the program and data related to participants. There
are detailed reporting requirements and associated fines for failure to comply. In addition,
those institutions of higher education that receive any HEA funds and provide teacher
training must set annual quantifiable goals for: (1) increasing the number of prospective
teachers trained in teacher shortage areas; and (2) linking the training they provide more
closely with the needs of schools and the instructional decisions new teachers face in the
classroom. They must publicly report progress on these goals.

The program is authorized at $300 million for FY 2009 and “such sums as may be
necessary” for the succeeding two fiscal years.

Part B—Enhancing Teacher Education
The new Part B authorizes a number of new programs. They are appropriated “such sums
as may be necessary for FY 2009 and each of the five succeeding fiscal years.”

Subpart 1—Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners
Part B authorizes a new program that would award grants to integrate the use of technology
into teacher preparation efforts as well as support partnerships that produce teachers that
effectively use technology to find information, teach, and impart skills to students that they
will need in the workforce. The program authorizes the award of one grant of no more than
$2 million, for a three-year period, to “eligible consortia.” Alternatively, the Secretary is
authorized to enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with eligible consortia to
support the authorized activities.

Eligible consortia include those that consist of at least one institution of higher education
with a teacher preparation program, an SEA or LEA, a college of education, a college of arts
and sciences, and “at least one entity with the capacity to contribute to the technology-related
reform of teacher preparation programs.” Such entities could be a library, foundation,
museum, or professional association, among others.

Subpart 2—Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence
This program would award funds to eligible minority serving institutions to ensure teacher
education programs produce highly qualified teachers by implementing certain reforms;
retraining or recruiting faculty; designing or redesigning teacher preparation programs; and
providing clinical experience, including mentoring, award scholarships and disseminating
information. The minimum grant is $500,000.

Subpart 3—Preparing General Education Teachers to More Effectively Educate
Students with Disabilities
These new five-year, competitive grants would be awarded to eligible partnerships to
improve the preparation of general education teacher candidates to ensure that they “possess
the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively instruct students with disabilities in general
education classrooms.”

Subpart 4—Adjunct Teacher Corps
A new Adjunct Teacher Corps program is authorized. The Secretary is authorized to award
competitive grants, for not longer than five years, to LEAs or other eligible entities “to
identify, recruit, and train qualified individuals with subject matter expertise in mathematics,
science, or critical foreign languages to serve as adjunct content specialists.” It should be
noted that the law stipulates that such specialists are “not the primary provider of
instructional services to a student, unless the adjunct content specialist is under the direct
supervision of a teacher…”
Subpart 5—Graduate Fellowships to Prepare Faculty in High-Need Areas at Colleges
of Education
This new program provides institutions funds to provide graduate fellowships to individuals
who are preparing for the professorate in order to prepare individuals to become highly
qualified elementary school and secondary school mathematics and science teachers, special
education teachers, and teachers who provide instruction for limited English proficient

As noted, this legislation is quite large in scope, and makes a number of other changes of
interest to teachers and prospective teachers.

The bill’s Title IV includes changes to the new TEACH Grant program. During the
regulatory negotiations around that new program, stakeholders pointed to a number of flaws
in the statute. The changes in HEOA would allow TEACH Grant recipients to teach in the
shortage field in which they are prepared, even if that field is no longer a “shortage” or “high
need” area once they compete their preparation or service requirement. There are also a
number of reports required of the Secretary on the efficacy of the program and a requirement
that ED develop a list of extenuating circumstances that would void a recipient’s service

Title VIII of the new bill authorizes a number of new programs, including Teach For
America. The bill authorizes the Secretary to award a $20 million grant to Teach for
America to assist in the implementation and expansion of recruitment, selection, training,
and support for new teachers in FY 2009. The funds will also go towards studying the
student achievement gains made under Teach for America teachers.

Title VIII also authorizes the Secretary to award three-year competitive grants to institutions
of higher education to establish or strengthen academic programs on traditional American
history, the history of free intuitions, and the history of Western civilization. Grant
recipients are required to conduct outreach activities to promote the academic programs to
undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and the community. Notably, the recipient
may also choose to use the funds to collaborate with LEAs so they may give elementary and
secondary teachers the opportunity to enhance their knowledge on the subject.

Title VIII also addresses early childhood educators by authorizing a new Early Childhood
Education Professional Development and Career Task Force program. The five-year

competitive grants to states are designed to improve the quality of the early childhood
education workforce by creating a statewide early childhood education professional
development and career task force for early childhood education program staff, directors and
administrators. It would create “a coherent system of core competencies, pathways to
qualifications, credentials, degrees, quality assurances, access, and outreach, for early
childhood education program staff, directors, administrators, and faculty that is linked to
compensation commensurate with experience and qualifications; articulation agreements
that enable early childhood education professionals to transition easily among degrees; and
compensation initiatives for individuals working in an early childhood education program
that reflects the individual’s credentials, degrees, and experience.”

The Department of Education is expected to release a broad “Dear Colleague Letter” in
coming weeks that provides affected parties guidance on changes that will require further
regulatory or sub-regulatory guidance (and those that will not), as well as effective dates and
plans for rulemaking.


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