Education Policy

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The Post-9/11 GI Bill: A Primer

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers several educational assistance programs (GI Bills®) that provide funds to or on behalf of veterans and servicemembers and their family members to facilitate their enrollment in and pursuit of approved programs of education. Participation and spending for the Post-9/11 GI Bill has represented approximately 80% or more of total GI Bill participation and spending in each year since FY2013. In FY2018, the program is estimated to benefit almost 800,000 individuals and expend over $12 billion. For a description of the other GI Bills, see CRS...

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C: Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a statute that authorizes grant programs that support special education services. Under the IDEA, a series of conditions are attached to the receipt of grant funds. These conditions aim to provide certain educational and procedural guarantees for students with disabilities and their families.

The grant programs authorized under the IDEA provide federal funding for special education and early intervention services for children with disabilities (birth to 21 years old) and require, as a condition for the receipt of such funds, the...

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B: Key Statutory and Regulatory Provisions

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a statute that authorizes grant programs that support special education services. Under the IDEA, a series of conditions are attached to the receipt of grant funds. These conditions aim to provide certain educational and procedural guarantees for students with disabilities and their families.

The grant programs authorized under the IDEA provide federal funding for special education and early intervention services for children with disabilities (birth to 21 years old) and require, as a condition for the receipt of such funds, the...

School Resource Officers: Issues for Congress

The school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Great Mills High School in Great Mills, MD, and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, TX, have generated renewed interest in what Congress might consider to enhance security at the nation’s schools. School resource officer (SRO) programs have been discussed as a possible strategy for increasing school safety. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are assigned to work at a school on a long-term basis. While there are no current figures on the number of SROs in the United States, data indicate that 42% of U.S....

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: An Overview

The term STEM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policymakers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates.

Various attempts to assess the federal STEM education effort have produced...

Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 115-174) and Selected Policy Issues

Some observers assert the financial crisis of 2007-2009 revealed that excessive risk had built up in the financial system, and that weaknesses in regulation contributed to that buildup and the resultant instability. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203; the Dodd-Frank Act), and regulators strengthened rules under existing authority. Following this broad overhaul of financial regulation, some observers argue certain changes are an overcorrection, resulting in unduly burdensome regulation.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory...

The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)—originally enacted on a temporary basis by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5) and made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH; Division Q of P.L. 114-113)—is a partially refundable tax credit that provides financial assistance to taxpayers (or their children) who are pursuing a higher education. The credit, worth up to $2,500 per student, can be claimed for a student’s qualifying expenses incurred during the first four years of post-secondary education. In addition, 40% of the credit (up to...

Education Policy: Resources for Congressional Staff

Education; elementary education; elementary and secondary education; higher education; postsecondary education; Department of Education; education budget; education appropriations; education resources; education statistics; federal education policy; Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; House Committee on Education and the Workforce; education spending; early childhood education; Head Start; IDEA; Individuals with Disabilities Education; Preschool Development Grants; student financial assistance; higher education tax benefits; GI Bill; federal support for institutions...

Science and Technology Issues in the 115th Congress

Science and technology (S&T) have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Public and private research and development spur scientific and technological advancement. Such advances can drive economic growth, help address national priorities, and improve health and quality of life. The constantly changing nature and ubiquity of science and technology frequently create public policy issues of congressional interest.

The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement directly by funding and performing research and development and...

Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-48)

Since the enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 GI Bill; P.L. 110-252), Congress has enacted several bills aimed to improve it. Congress’s most recent effort to refine the Post-9/11 GI Bill and respond to stakeholder feedback is the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Colmery Act; P.L. 115-48), enacted on August 16, 2017. The Colmery Act enacted over 30 amendments to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Most provisions become effective on enactment or on August...

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: CRS Experts

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cience, technology, and innovation (STI) play important roles in the nation’s economic and military strength, public health and safety, and the quality of our lives. Individuals, companies, governments, universities, and other organizations fund, conduct, disseminate, and acquire science and technology for a myriad of purposes. Among the purposes: providing for the national defense and homeland security; improving manufacturing processes and enabling the manufacture of new products; developing new materials; advancing computing and communications tools; preventing and treating disease,...

Federal Disaster Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, and Ike

This report provides information on federal financial assistance provided to the Gulf States after major disasters were declared in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in response to the widespread destruction that resulted from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

Though the storms happened over a decade ago, Congress has remained interested in the types and amounts of federal assistance that were provided to the Gulf Coast for several reasons. This includes how the money has been spent, what resources have been provided to...

The Corporation for National and Community Service: Overview of Programs and Funding

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is an independent federal agency that administers the programs authorized by two statutes: the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA; P.L. 101-610), as amended, and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (DVSA; P.L. 93-113), as amended. NCSA and DVSA programs were most recently reauthorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (P.L. 111-13). This report describes programs authorized by these laws and compares CNCS funding for FY2015, FY2016, FY2017, and FY2018.

The NCSA is designed to meet unmet human,...

Analysis of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I-A Allocation Formulas: Factors, Design Elements, and Allocation Patterns

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the primary source of federal aid to elementary and secondary education. The ESEA was last reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) in 2015. The Title I-A program has always been the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA. Title I-A grants provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending elementary and secondary schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A...

The TRIO Programs: A Primer

The TRIO programs are the primary federal programs providing support services to disadvantaged students to promote achievement in postsecondary education. The Higher Education Amendments of 1968 (P.L. 90-575) consolidated a “trio” of programs under one overall program. This report provides a description of the TRIO programs, authorized in Title IV-A-2-1 of the HEA.

In FY2017, the TRIO programs were funded at $950 million, and they served more than 800,000 secondary, postsecondary, and adult students. The TRIO programs have been designed to encourage and prepare qualified individuals from...

The Every Student Succeeds Act: Accountability for Schools with Low Graduation Rates

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) comprehensively reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Among other changes, the ESSA amended federal K-12 educational accountability requirements for states and local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving ESEA funds, including those regarding the identification, support, and improvement of high schools with low graduation rates.

In addition to new accountability rules, the ESSA provided the first definition of the high school graduation rate in federal education law. States and LEAs have been reporting their rates...

Cybersecurity: Selected Issues for the 115th Congress

Cybersecurity has been gaining attention as a national issue for the past decade. During this time, the country has witnessed cyber incidents affecting both public and private sector systems and data. These incidents have included attacks in which data was stolen, altered, or access to it was disrupted or denied. The frequency of these attacks, and their effects on the U.S. economy, national security, and people’s lives have driven cybersecurity issues to the forefront of congressional policy conversations. This report provides an overview of selected cybersecurity concepts and a...

Education-Related Regulatory Flexibilities, Waivers, and Federal Assistance in Response to Disasters and National Emergencies

The 21st century has seen the operation of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational institutions and the education of the students they enroll disrupted by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, and by national emergencies, such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This report is intended to inform Congress of existing statutory and regulatory provisions that may aid in responding to future disasters and national emergencies that may affect the provision of or access to education and highlight the actions of previous Congresses to provide additional...

H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act: Proposed Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

During the 115th Congress, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce marked up and ordered reported with amendments the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act (PROSPER Act; H.R. 4508), which would provide for the comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA).

H.R. 4508 would make numerous amendments to the HEA, many of which address six themes: (1) redesigning the federal approach to providing student aid; (2) modifying federal student aid rules; (3) eliminating or winding down programs; (4) revising the...

The Closure of Institutions of Higher Education: Student Options, Borrower Relief, and Implications

The recent closures of multiple large, private for-profit institutions of higher education (IHEs), such as those owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (e.g., Heald College) and ITT Educational Services (e.g., ITT Technical Institutes) have brought into focus the extent to which a student’s postsecondary education may be disrupted by a school closure. The closures of these IHEs also highlighted the numerous issues students may face when their institutions close and the difficult decisions they may be required to make in the wake of a closure. Two key issues students may face when their IHE...

Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act

Three Higher Education Act (HEA) student financial aid programs—the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program, and the Federal Perkins Loan program—collectively are referred to as the campus-based programs. The campus-based programs were reauthorized under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA; P.L. 110-315), which amended and extended authorization for programs funded under the HEA. The campus-based programs’ authorizations of appropriations, along with many other provisions under the HEA, were set to expire at the end of...

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: FY2018 Appropriations

This report offers an overview of actions taken by Congress and the President to provide FY2018 appropriations for accounts funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill. This bill includes all accounts funded through the annual appropriations process at the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED). It also provides annual appropriations for most agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with certain exceptions (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration is funded via the Agriculture...

Basic Concepts and Technical Considerations in Educational Assessment: A Primer

Federal education legislation continues to emphasize the role of assessment in elementary and secondary schools. Perhaps most prominently, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95), requires the use of test-based educational accountability systems in states and specifies the requirements for the assessments that states must incorporate into state-designed educational accountability systems. These requirements are applicable to states that receive funding under Title I-A of the ESEA. More specifically, to receive...

Educational Assessment and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95), specifies the requirements for assessments that states must incorporate into their state accountability systems to receive funding under Title I-A. While many of the assessment requirements of the ESEA have not changed from the requirements put into place by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), the ESSA provides states some new flexibility in meeting them. This report has been prepared in response to congressional inquiries about the revised educational...

Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns: CRS Experts

Contacting CRS Subject Matter Experts

In the event of a funding gap, the potential impacts of a government shutdown would depend on a program’s or agency’s specific circumstances and, furthermore, how relevant law is interpreted. Table 1 provides names and contact information for CRS subject matter experts on policy concerns and legal issues relating to funding gaps and the processes and effects that may be associated with a government shutdown. Policy areas that are identified in Table 1 include

agencies and programs funded by specific regular appropriations bills;

cross-cutting shutdown...

The Campus-Based Financial Aid Programs: Background and Issues

Three need-based student financial aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)—Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program, and the Federal Perkins Loan program—are collectively referred to as the “campus-based” programs. These programs are considered campus-based because federal funds are awarded directly to institutions of higher education (IHEs) that administer the programs and provide institutional funds to match the federal funds they receive for them.

The campus-based programs are among...

GI Bills Enacted Prior to 2008 and Related Veterans’ Educational Assistance Programs: A Primer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), previously named the Veterans Administration, has been providing veterans educational assistance (GI Bill®) benefits since 1944. The benefits have been intended, at various times, to compensate for compulsory service, encourage voluntary service, avoid unemployment, provide equitable benefits to all who served, and promote military retention. In general, the benefits provide grant aid to eligible individuals enrolled in approved educational and training programs. Since three of the GI Bills have overlapping eligibility requirements and the...

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: FY2017 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress and the President to provide FY2017 appropriations for accounts funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for all accounts funded through the annual appropriations process at the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED). It provides annual appropriations for most agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with certain exceptions (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration is funded via the...

The Rural Education Achievement Program: Title V-B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) is authorized by Part B of Title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, P.L. 114-95) in 2015. To compensate for the challenges facing rural schools, REAP awards two types of formula grants. The Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program provides funds to rural local educational agencies (LEAs) that serve small numbers of students. The Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program provides funds to rural LEAs that serve high concentrations of low-income students, regardless...

History of the ESEA Title I-A Formulas

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education. The ESEA was last reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) in 2015. The Title I-A program has always been the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA. Title I-A grants provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending elementary and secondary schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A grants to local...

Students with Disabilities Graduating from High School and Entering Postsecondary Education: In Brief

In recent decades, many federal policies have attempted to help prepare students with disabilities to complete high school and to continue into postsecondary education. Corollary interest has arisen in being able to track the progress being made toward achieving these aims.

This report offers a brief overview of what is currently known about the U.S. population of students with disabilities as they advance through secondary education and into postsecondary education. It devotes particular attention to high school graduation trends and data on postsecondary enrollment. Within the...

The Education Sciences Reform Act

The Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA, Title I of P.L. 107-279) established the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as an independent research arm of the Department of Education (ED). The IES Director, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, serves a six-year term and is advised by a technical panel composed primarily of educational researchers, the National Board of Educational Sciences (NBES).

The IES consists of four research centers, the National Center for Education Research (NCER), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National...

Reauthorization of the Perkins Act in the 115th Congress: Comparison of Current Law and H.R. 2353

Since 1984, a number of acts named after former Congressman Carl D. Perkins have been the main federal laws authorized to support the development of career and technical education (CTE) programs aimed at students in secondary and postsecondary education. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins Act; P.L. 109-270), the most recent reauthorization of the federal CTE law, was passed in 2006 and authorized appropriations through FY2012. The authorization of appropriations was extended through FY2013 under the General Education Provisions Act, and the Perkins Act...

FY2016 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was comprehensively reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) on December 10, 2015. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and was funded at $14.9 billion for FY2016. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending elementary and secondary schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A grants to...

FY2017 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95), is the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and is funded at $15.5 billion for FY2017. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending elementary and secondary schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title...

Indian Elementary-Secondary Education: Programs, Background, and Issues

The federal government provides elementary and secondary education and educational assistance to Indian children, either directly through federally funded schools or indirectly through educational assistance to public schools. Direct education is provided by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through elementary and secondary schools funded by the BIE. Educational assistance to public schools is provided chiefly through programs of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The student population served by federal Indian education programs...

GI Bill Legislation Enacted in the 114th Congress

The GI Bills® provide financial assistance to individuals, whose eligibility is based on their or a family member’s experience in the uniformed services, while they are enrolled in approved programs of education, including training programs. In FY2017, the GI Bills are estimated to provide over $14 billion in benefits to over 1 million veterans and servicemembers and their dependents. The largest program, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, is estimated to account for approximately 93% of the benefits and 80% of the participants. This report provides a description of and background information on...

The Role of State Approving Agencies in the Administration of GI Bill Benefits

State Approving Agencies (SAAs) play an important role in the administration of GI Bill® benefits. GI Bill benefits provide educational assistance payments to eligible veterans and servicemembers and their families enrolled in approved programs of education. The SAA role is intended to ensure that veterans and other GI Bill participants have access to a range of high-quality education and training programs at which to use their GI Bill benefits. In FY2017, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) is estimated to distribute over $14 billion in GI Bill benefits to over 1 million eligible...

Homelessness: Targeted Federal Programs

The causes of homelessness and determining how best to assist those who find themselves homeless became particularly prominent, visible issues in the 1980s. The concept of homelessness may seem straightforward, with individuals and families who have no place to live falling within the definition. However, the extent of homelessness in this country and how best to address it depend upon how one defines the condition of being homeless.

There is no single federal definition of homelessness, although a number of programs, including those overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban...

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: FY2016 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress and the President to provide FY2016 appropriations for accounts funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for all accounts funded through the annual appropriations process at the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED). It provides annual appropriations for most agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with certain exceptions (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration is funded via the...

Reauthorization of the Perkins Act in the 114th Congress: Comparison of Current Law and H.R. 5587

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV; P.L. 109-270) is the main federal law supporting the development of career and technical skills among students in secondary and postsecondary education. Perkins IV, the most recent reauthorization of federal law targeting career and technical education (CTE), was passed in 2006 and authorized through FY2012. The authorization was extended through FY2013 under the General Education Provisions Act, and Perkins IV has continued to receive fairly constant appropriations through FY2016.

During the 114th Congress, the...

Preschool Development Grants (FY2014-FY2016) and Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants (FY2011-FY2013)

The importance of children’s early learning experiences to their development and later success in school and the workforce has become a subject of increasing interest to the public, Members of Congress, and the Administration. During recent congresses many bills have been introduced that would provide funding to states aiming to facilitate improvements in the quality of, and access to, early childhood education (ECE) programs.

This report focuses on two early childhood initiatives—Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants for FY2011-FY2013 and Preschool Development Grants...

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funding: A Primer

Since the enactment of P.L. 94-142, the predecessor legislation to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), in 1975, the federal government has played a prominent role in encouraging the principle of educational equality for children with disabilities through a permanent, broad-scale federal assistance program. The IDEA is a grants statute that provides federal funding for the education of children with disabilities and requires, as a condition for the receipt of such funds, that states agree to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE; i.e., specially designed...

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness and Loan Repayment Programs

Student loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs provide borrowers a means of having all or part of their student loan debt forgiven or repaid in exchange for work or service in specific fields or professions or following a prolonged period during which their student loan debt burden is high relative to their income. In both loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs, borrowers typically qualify for benefits by working or serving in certain capacities for a specified period of time or by satisfying other program requirements over an extended term. Upon qualifying for benefits, some...

Overview of ESEA Title I-A and the School Meals’ Community Eligibility Provision

The primary source of federal funding for elementary and secondary schools is the Title I-A program. Under Title I-A, the allocation of funds to schools, eligibility to operate certain programs, and accountability requirements are based in part in identifying students from low-income families. Historically, this has been achieved by using National School Lunch Program (NSLP) eligibility data. However, a new school meals eligibility option—the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)—has been implemented that changes the eligibility determinations for NSLP as well as the School Breakfast...

Amendments to the Higher Education Act in the 114th Congress: Current Legislation

On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce marked up and ordered reported five bills that would amend several of the programs and activities authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA).

H.R. 5528, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act, would amend procedures for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to mandate the use of income and tax information from the second preceding (prior-prior) year for purposes of calculating a student’s expected family contribution (EFC), to require development of a tool...

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006: An Overview

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV; P.L. 109-270) is the main federal law supporting the development of career and technical skills among students in secondary and postsecondary education. Perkins IV aims to improve academic outcomes and preparedness for higher education or the labor market among students enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) programs, previously known as vocational education programs.

The federal government has a long history of supporting programs to develop students’ career and technical skills, dating back to the 19th...

Department of Education Funding: Key Concepts and FAQ

Like most federal agencies, the Department of Education (ED) receives funds in support of its mission through various federal budget and appropriations processes. However, the processes by which ED receives and expends funds can be complicated. For example, ED receives both mandatory and discretionary appropriations, expends funds through formula and competitive grants, forward funds some accounts while providing appropriations at the start of the fiscal year to others, and subsidizes student loan costs (direct loans and loan guarantees).

As such, analyzing ED’s budget requires an...

Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education

In recent years, a number of high-profile incidents of sexual violence at institutions of higher education (IHEs) have heightened congressional and administration scrutiny of the policies and procedures that IHEs use to address sexual violence on campus. Among other things, concerns have been expressed about standards of evidence used in institutional proceedings that occur in response to a report of sexual violence on campus, the sufficiency of current legal remedies, and Department of Education (ED) guidance to IHEs.

Further, although sexual violence on campus is a widely acknowledged...

Allocation of Funds Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was comprehensively reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) on December 10, 2015. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and is funded at $14.9 billion for FY2016. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families. Under current law, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A...

Lead in Flint, Michigan’s Drinking Water: CRS Experts

Head Start; Home Visiting; Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting; MIECHV; Early Childhood; Child Development; blood lead reference level; blood lead level; lead poisoning prevention; health registries; EPA; toxicology of lead poisoning; EPSDT; Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment; special education; Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes; healthy homes; Safe Drinking Water Act; SDWA; Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund; Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, water infrastructure; Lead and Copper Rule; corrosion control; Water Infrastructure...

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism

The number of people incarcerated in the United States grew steadily for nearly 30 years. That number has been slowly decreasing since 2008, but as of 2014 there were still over 2 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that between 1990 and 2014 an average of 594,600 inmates have been released annually from state and federal prisons and almost 5 million ex-offenders are under some form of community-based supervision.

Nearly all prisoners will return to their communities as some point. Offender reentry can include...

FY2015 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was comprehensively reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) on December 10, 2015. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and is funded at $14.4 billion for FY2015. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A...

ESEA Title I-A Formulas: In Brief

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was comprehensively reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95) on December 10, 2015. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and is funded at $14.9 billion for FY2016. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families. Under current law, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determines Title I-A...

House and Senate Floor and Committee Action to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: 1966 to Present

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was initially enacted in 1965 (P.L. 89-10). Since then, there have been 13 major reauthorizations of the ESEA, with the most recent reauthorization occurring in 2015 with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, P.L. 114-95). This report provides information on the votes taken in the House and Senate in the committees of jurisdiction and on the House and Senate floors prior to and following conference proceedings for the ESEA of 1965 and subsequent major reauthorizations.

The report also provides vote information on comprehensive ESEA...

Federal Pell Grant Program of the Higher Education Act: How the Program Works and Recent Legislative Changes

The federal Pell Grant program, authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA; P.L. 89-329), is the single largest source of federal grant aid supporting postsecondary education students. The program provided approximately $31 billion to approximately 8.2 million undergraduate students in FY2015. For FY2015, the total maximum Pell Grant was funded at $5,775. The program is funded primarily through annual discretionary appropriations, although in recent years mandatory appropriations have played a smaller yet increasing role in the program. The statutory...

FY2016 Extension of the Higher Education Act: An Overview

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA; P.L. 89-329), authorizes the operation of numerous federal aid programs that provide support both to individuals pursuing a postsecondary education and to institutions of higher education (IHEs). It also authorizes certain activities and functions. The HEA was first enacted in 1965. It has since been amended and extended numerous times, and it has been comprehensively reauthorized eight times. The most recent comprehensive reauthorization occurred in 2008 under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA; P.L. 110-315), which authorized...

Unauthorized Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis

The existence of a sizable population of “DREAMers” in the United States has prompted questions about unauthorized aliens’ eligibility for admission to public institutions of higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised here but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. There, the Court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited the...

Gun Control: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy and legal issues related to gun control. In the wake of mass shootings and other firearms-related violence, several gun control issues are often raised. They include improving and expanding background checks, further regulating certain semiautomatic firearms (“assault weapons” or “military-style” firearms) that accept detachable ammunition feeding devices (“magazines”), combating illegal gun trafficking, interstate concealed carry of handguns, and enacting or repealing appropriations limitations related...

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Highlights of the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last comprehensively amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). Appropriations for most programs authorized by the ESEA were authorized through FY2007. As Congress has not reauthorized the ESEA, appropriations for ESEA programs are currently not explicitly authorized. However, because the programs continue to receive annual appropriations, appropriations are considered implicitly authorized.

Congress has actively considered reauthorization of the ESEA during the 114th Congress, passing comprehensive ESEA...

School Construction and Renovation: A Review of Federal Programs

By some measures, the United States spent over $50 billion on new construction, additions, and alterations in public elementary and secondary schools and public and private postsecondary institutions in 2012. Although state and local governments are traditionally responsible for the majority of facilities in public K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions, the federal government also provides some direct and indirect support for school infrastructure. Facilities at private institutions are funded primarily by donations, tuition, private foundations, endowments, and governments. The...

Impact Aid, Title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: A Primer

The Impact Aid program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and authorized by Title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is one of the oldest federal education programs, dating from 1950. Impact Aid compensates local educational agencies (LEAs) for “substantial and continuing financial burden” resulting from federal activities. These activities include federal ownership of certain lands, as well as the enrollments in LEAs of children whose parents work or live on federal land and children living on Indian lands. The federal government provides...

Allocation of Funds Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Formula Changes Under S. 1177 and H.R. 5

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last comprehensively reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). During the 114th Congress, the House Education and the Workforce Committee reported the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which would provide for a comprehensive reauthorization of the ESEA. The bill was subsequently passed on the House floor on July 7, 2015. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA; S. 1177), which was subsequently passed on the Senate floor on July...

Overview of the FY2016 Continuing Resolution (H.R. 719)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the FY2016 continuing appropriations in H.R. 719. None of the FY2016 regular appropriations bills were enacted by the start of the fiscal year (October 1, 2015). On September 30, 2015, H.R. 719, a continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016, was signed into law by the President (P.L. 114-53).

The CR for FY2016 covers all 12 regular appropriations bills by providing continuing budget authority for projects and activities funded in FY2015 by that fiscal year’s regular appropriations acts, with some exceptions. It includes both budget...

Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3230; P.L. 113-146)

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43704 Summary On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3230; H.Rept. 113-564; P.L. 113-146). The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 (H.R. 5404; P.L. 113-175), the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 83; P.L. 113-235), the Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act (H.R. 2496; P.L. 114-19), and the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3236; P.L. 114-41) made...

U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

Negotiated by the Reagan Administration nearly 30 years ago, the current U.S. peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is set to expire on December 30, 2015. President Obama submitted a new 30-year U.S.-China nuclear cooperation agreement for congressional review on April 21, 2015. Among other provisions, the agreement would allow for uranium enrichment up to a level less than 20% U-235 and Chinese reprocessing of U.S.-obligated material at safeguarded facilities. The required congressional review period ended on July 31.

Such agreements are often...

ESEA Reauthorization Proposals in the 114th Congress: Selected Key Issues

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last comprehensively amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). During the 114th Congress, the House Education and the Workforce Committee reported the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which would provide for a comprehensive reauthorization of the ESEA. The bill was subsequently passed on the House floor on July 8, 2015. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA; S. 1177), which would also provide for a comprehensive reauthorization of...

Employment for Veterans: Trends and Programs

Veterans’ employment outcomes in the civilian labor market are an issue of ongoing congressional interest. This report offers introductory data on veterans’ performance in the civilian labor market as well as a discussion of veteran-targeted federal programs that provide employment-related benefits and services.

According to federal data, the unemployment rate for veterans who served after September 2001 is higher than the unemployment rate for nonveterans. Conversely, the unemployment rate for veterans from prior service periods (a much larger population than post-9/11 veterans) is lower...

Allocation of Funds Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: H.R. 5 and the State Option

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). During the 114th Congress, the House Education and the Workforce Committee considered and reported the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), a bill that would reauthorize the ESEA. H.R. 5 would make several changes to current law, but one issue that has attracted substantial congressional interest is a new option that would be available to states for distributing funds available under Title I-A of the ESEA to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. In H.R. 5, this...

Teacher Quality Issues in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

One of the major goals of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, P.L. 107-110), is to raise the achievement of students who currently fail to meet grade-level proficiency standards. Because student achievement is widely believed to depend largely on the quality of instruction, the law also contains provisions designed to improve teacher quality. These provisions establish professional credentials for teachers and charge states and school districts with developing plans to improve teacher quality. According to the...

Federal Benefits and Services for People with Low Income: Programs and Spending, FY2008-FY2013

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) regularly receives requests about the number, size, and programmatic details of federal benefits and services targeted toward low-income populations, and the characteristics of people who participate. This report attempts to identify and provide information about such programs, including their federal spending during FY2008-FY2013. The report does not discuss social insurance programs such as Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance, but includes only programs with an explicit focus on low-income people or communities. Tax provisions,...

History of the Clery Act: Fact Sheet

This report summarizes legislative changes that have been made to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092) since it was originally enacted as Title II of the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-542).

Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Programs and Unaccompanied Alien Children

The number of children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is raising a host of policy questions. While much of the congressional interest initially focused directly on immigration policy, the implications for other areas, including education, are now arising as well. Under federal law, states and LEAs are required to provide all children with equal access to a public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their immigration status. Upon arrival in the United States, unaccompanied alien children generally are served initially through...

Overview of the Relationship between Federal Student Aid and Increases in College Prices

College affordability is an issue that has received considerable attention from federal policy makers in recent years as concerns have arisen that a college education may be out of reach for an increasing number of students and families. While there is little disagreement that escalating college prices pose a problem, there is not a consensus about the precise causes for these increases.

Among the possible explanations for price increases, one that has surfaced with some frequency in recent years is the notion that the availability of or increases in federal student aid may help to fuel...

Alternate Assessments for Students with Disabilities

The 113th Congress is actively considering whether to amend and extend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, P.L. 107-110). As part of these deliberations, consideration has been given to how students with disabilities are included in accountability systems. The ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, P.L. 108-446) both require all students with disabilities to participate in district and state assessments. Because student achievement on state assessments is used to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP) in state accountability systems mandated by the...

The Education of Students with Disabilities: Alignment Between the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The largest sources of federal funding for elementary and secondary education are the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; P.L. 108-446). The ESEA provides funding and services for a broad population of students, including disadvantaged students, migrant students, neglected and delinquent students, and students with limited English proficiency. Approximately 6 million students with disabilities ages 6 through 21 attend elementary and secondary schools;...

School Resource Officers: Law Enforcement Officers in Schools

Some policymakers have expressed renewed interest in school resource officers (SROs) as a result of the December 2012 mass shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are assigned to work in schools.

For FY2014, the Administration requested $150 million in funding for a Comprehensive Schools Safety Program under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Congress appropriated $75 million for a Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Congress required the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to collaborate...

Elementary and Secondary School Teachers: Policy Context, Federal Programs, and ESEA Reauthorization Issues

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) is the primary legislative vehicle for federal policymaking regarding teachers and instructional quality in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools. Authorization for ESEA programs and policies, enacted through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), expired at the end of FY2008 and the 113th Congress is likely to consider whether to amend and extend the ESEA. Notable ESEA provisions concerning K-12 teaching include requirements for minimum teacher qualifications and authority for a teacher training and class size...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: A Primer

The term “STEM education” refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policy makers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates. For example, more than 225 bills containing the term “science education”...

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI), except for the Bureau of Reclamation, and for agencies within other departmentsincluding the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services. It also includes funding for arts and cultural agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other entities.

Neither the House nor the Senate passed a regular appropriations bill for FY2013 for Interior, Environment, and...

Postsecondary Education Issues in the 113th Congress

The 113th Congress may face an array of policy issues affecting postsecondary education. Many of these postsecondary education issues may be considered as part of efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). However, postsecondary education issues also may emerge as part of other legislative efforts such as comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), reform of the federal tax code, or the annual appropriations process.

This report identifies and briefly examines several postsecondary education policy issue areas that may be of general interest. For each of these...

Student Bullying: Overview of Research, Federal Initiatives, and Legal Issues

Many Members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about what can be done to address student bullying. This concern has arisen in response to high-profile bullying incidents that have occurred in recent years, and due to a growing body of research on the negative consequences of school bullying. Congress is interested in ensuring that schools are safe, secure places for students, so that they can receive the full benefits of their education. Several bills that address school bullying have already been introduced in the 113th Congress, although none has been enacted as of the date...

ESEA Reauthorization Proposals in the 112th Congress: Comparison of Major Features

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). During the 112th Congress, both the House and Senate have considered legislation to reauthorize the ESEA. On October 20, 2011, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered and ordered reported the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 3578; S.Rept. 112-221) by a bipartisan vote of 15-7. The House Education and Workforce Committee considered and ordered reported two bills that together would provide for...

ESEA Reauthorization Proposals in the 113th Congress: Comparison of Major Features

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110). During the 113th Congress, both the House and Senate have considered legislation to reauthorize the ESEA. On June 12, 2013, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered and ordered reported the Strengthening America’s Schools Act (S. 1094) by a strictly partisan vote of 12-10. The House Education and Workforce Committee also considered and ordered reported a bill that would reauthorize the ESEA. On June 19, 2013, on a strictly...

Budget “Sequestration” and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules

“Sequestration” is a process of automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled to enforce certain budget policy goals. It was first authorized by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (BBEDCA, Title II of P.L. 99-177, commonly known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act).

Sequestration is of current interest because it has been triggered as an enforcement tool under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25). Sequestration can also occur under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (Statutory...

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as Amended by the No Child Left Behind Act: A Primer

The primary source of federal aid to K-12 education is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), particularly its Title I, Part A program of Education for the Disadvantaged. The ESEA was initially enacted in 1965 (P.L. 89-10), and was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, P.L. 107-110). The NCLB authorized virtually all ESEA programs through FY2008. It is widely expected that the 113th Congress will consider whether to amend and extend the ESEA.

The NCLB initiated a major expansion of federal influence upon several aspects of public...

Carbon Tax: Deficit Reduction and Other Considerations

In the context of budget deficit and fiscal policy debates, policymakers have considered a number of options for raising additional federal revenues, including a carbon tax. A carbon tax could apply directly to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or to the inputs (e.g., fossil fuels) that lead to the emissions. Unlike a tax on the energy content of each fuel (e.g., Btu tax), a carbon tax would vary with a fuel’s carbon content, as there is a direct correlation between a fuel’s carbon content and its CO2 emissions.

Carbon taxes have been proposed for many years...

Administration’s Proposal to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Comparison to Current Law

On March 13, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (hereafter referred to as the Blueprint). The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), particularly its Title I-A program for Education for the Disadvantaged, is the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education. The ESEA was initially enacted in 1965 (P.L. 89-10), and was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110).

The Blueprint indicates that it builds on reforms already...

Value-Added Modeling for Teacher Effectiveness

Two of the major goals of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110; NCLB), are to improve the quality of K-12 teaching and raise the academic achievement of students who fail to meet grade-level proficiency standards. In setting these goals, Congress recognized that reaching the second goal depends greatly on meeting the first; that is, quality teaching is critical to student success. Thus, NCLB established new standards for teacher qualifications and required that all courses in “core academic subjects” be taught...

Veterans’ Benefits: Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-154)

Congress has in the past enacted legislation providing authority for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to treat certain veterans for specific medical conditions resulting from their exposure to certain toxic substances or environmental hazards while on active military duty.

In the 1980s, officials at Camp Lejeune became aware of the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water samples. Camp Lejeune was placed on the National Priorities List by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1989, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry continues to monitor...

Federal Support for Academic Research

From the time of Vannevar Bush and his 1945 report on U.S. science policy, academic research has played a role in the nation’s economy. Vannevar Bush’s report, Science the Endless Frontier, maintained that major investments in research should be made to the nation’s universities. He stated that the research capacity of the colleges and universities was significantly important to long-term national interests. Currently, some Members of Congress have expressed concern about the health and competitiveness of the nation’s colleges and universities. There are those who continue to maintain that...

Assessment in Elementary and Secondary Education: A Primer

In recent years, federal education legislation has placed an increased emphasis on assessment in schools. Perhaps most notably, Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), requires states to test all students annually in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school in the areas of reading and mathematics. These assessments are used as key indicators in an accountability system that determines whether schools are making progress with respect to student achievement. To receive Title I funding, states must also...

Educational Accountability and Secretarial Waiver Authority Under Section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides the Secretary of Education with broad waiver authority with respect to programs authorized under the act. The Secretary has used the authority provided under Section 9401 to grant numerous waivers over time, including waivers of accountability and general administrative provisions. On September 23, 2011, President Obama and the Secretary announced the availability of an ESEA flexibility package for states and described the principles that states must meet to obtain the included waivers. The waivers would apply to...

Compensating State and Local Governments for the Tax-Exempt Status of Federal Lands: What Is Fair and Consistent?

The federal government owns significant amounts of land and resources that are exempt from state and local taxation. State and local governments provide a wide variety of services—education, social services, public safety, transportation facilities, utilities, and much more. These services are funded through intergovernmental transfers (federal grants to state governments and federal and state grants to local governments), user fees, and state and local levied taxation—property taxes, income taxes, sales and use taxes, excise taxes, severance taxes, and more.

Congress has established...

American Jobs Act: Provisions for Hiring Targeted Groups, Preventing Layoffs, and for Unemployed and Low-Income Workers

In response to continuing high rates of unemployment and a weak economy, President Obama announced his American Jobs Act on September 8, 2011. As stated by the President, the proposal aims to “put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” The proposal was introduced, by request, as S. 1549 and H.R. 12. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid subsequently introduced the proposal with a different spending offset, as S. 1660 on October 6. Since then, individual pieces of the American Jobs Act have been considered—and some provisions enacted—as freestanding...

The Debt Limit: CRS Experts

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2011 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the Small Business Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, and the United States Postal Service.

The FSGG FY2010 appropriations were provided through P.L. 111-117, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. P.L. 111-117 provided $46.265 billion for FSGG agencies in FY2010. In addition, P.L. 111-80...

District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program: Implementation Status and Policy Issues

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2004 (P.L. 108-199), which combined six appropriations bills—including the FY2004 District of Columbia Appropriations Act—authorized and appropriated funding for the Opportunity Scholarship program, a federally funded school voucher program, for the District of Columbia. It also provided funding for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) for the improvement of public education and the State Education Office for public charter schools. The provision of federal funds for DCPS, public charter schools, and vouchers is commonly referred to as...

Educational Assistance Programs Administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

This report provides a detailed description of the six educational assistance programs that are available to veterans or other eligible individuals through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Although the programs are administered by the VA, some of the funding for the programs is provided by the Department of Defense (DOD), which transfers monies from its education trust fund to the VA for disbursement.

Accountability Issues and Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Federal policies aiming to improve the effectiveness of schools have historically focused largely on inputs, such as supporting teacher professional development, class-size reduction, and compensatory programs or services for disadvantaged students. Over the last two decades, however, interest in developing federal policies that focus on student outcomes has increased. Most recently, the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), which amended and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), marked a dramatic expansion of the federal...

Federal Benefits and Services for People with Low Income: Programs, Policy, and Spending, FY2008-FY2009

The federal government spent almost $708 billion in FY2009 on programs for low-income people, and nearly $578 billion the previous year. The increased spending between the two years was largely due to the recession, with almost two-thirds coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, P.L. 111-5), the economic stimulus enacted in February 2009.

Low-income programs discussed in this report are distinct from social insurance programs, such as Social Security or Medicare, which aim to protect American workers universally against lost wages or benefits when they retire, become...

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, As Enacted

This report identifies and examines selected changes that the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 makes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other GI Bills, including expanded eligibility.

Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

As the world begins the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States holds what should be a winning hand of a preeminent military, large economy, strong alliances, and democratic values. The nation’s security should be secure. Yet the debate over national security seems to be both intensifying and broadening. The problem appears not only in the difficulty of finding a winning strategy in the long war against acts of terrorism but having to face economic constraints that loom large in the public debate. In addition, the global financial crisis and recession have highlighted...

Compensation Reform and the Federal Teacher Incentive Fund

Congress has historically recognized the importance of teacher quality in improving the academic performance of elementary and secondary school students; however, federal policy has only recently begun to address the impact of teacher compensation systems on both quality and performance. Growing concern about the dominant feature of these systems—the single salary schedule—has led to a variety of compensation reform efforts around the country. These efforts include pay-for-performance incentives that attempt to align teacher compensation more closely with student achievement, as well as...

OMB Controls on Agency Mandatory Spending Programs: “Administrative PAYGO” and Related Issues for Congress

On May 23, 2005, during President George W. Bush’s second term, then-Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Joshua B. Bolten issued a memorandum to the heads of agencies. The memorandum announced that OMB would involve itself systematically in some aspects of how agencies execute laws related to mandatory spending. Under the process outlined in the OMB memorandum, if an agency wished to use discretion under current law in a way that would “increase mandatory spending,” the memorandum required the agency to propose the action to OMB. Such actions might include regulations,...

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010

Since enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 GI Bill; P.L. 110-252; Title 38 U.S.C., Chapter 33), there has been discussion of problems and possible enhancements to improve the program's implementation, administration, and benefits. This report summarizes provisions in the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (S. 3447), as reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on August 5, 2010, for full Senate consideration.

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests;...

The SAFRA Act: Education Programs in the FY2010 Budget Reconciliation

The FY2010 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 13) included two reconciliation instructions directing the House Committee on Education and Labor to report changes in laws within their jurisdictions to reduce the deficit by $1 billion each for the period of fiscal year (FY) 2009 through FY2014. The reconciliation instructions specifically noted that $1 billion of the reduction from the House Committee on Education and Labor should be related to education.

On October 7, 2009, in response to the FY2010 budget reconciliation instructions, the House Committee on Education and Labor submitted H.R....

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2010 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On May 7, 2009, the Obama Administration delivered its FY2010 budget request to...

Jobs for Main Street Act: Education, Training and Direct Assistance Provisions

The Obama Administration and Congress continue to grapple with high rates of unemployment despite some tentative signs of economic recovery. On December 8, 2009, President Obama outlined a series of proposals intended to accelerate job growth, focusing on incentives to small businesses, spending on infrastructure projects, and job creation through energy initiatives. The President also signaled support for the extension of some of the direct assistance provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, P.L. 111-5), including Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits and...

The National Commission on Children and Disasters: Overview and Issues

The National Commission on Children and Disasters (the Commission) is authorized under the provisions of the Kids in Disasters Well-being, Safety, and Health Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-161) and given federal advisory committee statutory authority under the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 (P.L. 110-329). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), provides financial and administrative support to the Commission, whose purpose is to assess the needs of children in the preparation for,...

Educational Testing: Implementation of ESEA Title I-A Requirements Under the No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) contains several requirements related to student assessments for states and local educational agencies (LEAs) participating in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I-A (Education for the Disadvantaged). Under the NCLB, in addition to previous requirements for standards and assessments in reading and mathematics at three grade levels, all states participating in Title I-A were required to implement standards-based assessments for students in each of grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics by the end of the 2005-2006 school year....

Elementary and Secondary Education Act: An Analytical Review of the Allocation Formulas

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) contains 45 separately authorized programs, plus approximately 20 specified sub-programs. The largest of these programs distribute funds by formulas that prescribe how funds are to be allocated among state educational agencies (SEAs) or local educational agencies (LEAs) nationwide. They take the form of mathematical equations through which the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and in many cases also SEAs, calculate grant amounts for each potential grantee meeting statutory eligibility criteria. They almost always include one or more...

The Museum and Library Services Act of 2003: Overview and Reauthorization Issues

The authorization of the Museum and Library Services Act expired with FY2009. Its reauthorization may be considered by the 111th Congress. It was last reauthorized by P.L. 108-81, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 (MLSA), signed into law on September 25, 2003. MLSA authorizes funding for Library Services and Technology (LST) and for Museum Services. MLSA is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). P.L. 108-81 authorized $232 million for LST in FY2004, and such sums as may be necessary for FY2005-FY2009. It authorized $38.6 million for Museum Services...

The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

The House and the Senate approved H.Rept. 111-89, the conference report to accompany S.Con.Res. 13, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2010, on April 29, 2009. The FY2010 budget resolution includes reconciliation instructions directing the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the House Committee on Education and Labor to report changes in laws within their jurisdictions to reduce the deficit by $1 billion for the period of fiscal year (FY) 2009 through FY2014. The reconciliation instructions for the House specifically direct the...

Education for the Disadvantaged: Analysis of Issues for the ESEA Title I-A Allocation Formulas

Title I, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes federal aid to local educational agencies (LEAs) for the education of disadvantaged children. Title I-A grants provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other pupils attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of pupils from low-income families. In recent years, they have also become a “vehicle” to which a number of requirements affecting broad aspects of public K-12 education for all pupils have been attached as a condition for...

Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Institutions of Higher Education to Participate in Federal Student Aid Programs Under Title IV of the Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA; P.L. 89-329), as amended, authorizes a broad array of federal student aid programs that assist students and their families with paying for or financing the costs of obtaining a postsecondary education. These federal student aid programs are authorized under Title IV of the HEA. Requirements applicable to the administration of Title IV federal student aid programs are specified in Title I of the HEA, as well as in Title IV. The HEA also authorizes many other types of programs, including programs that make federal aid and support available to...

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), authorizes financial aid to local educational agencies (LEAs) for the education of disadvantaged children and youth at the preschool, elementary, and secondary levels. Over the last several years, the accountability provisions of this program have been increasingly focused on achievement and other outcomes for participating pupils and schools. Since 1994, and particularly under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), a key concept embodied in these requirements is that of “adequate yearly progress (AYP)” for...

The No Child Left Behind Act: An Overview of Reauthorization Issues for the 111th Congress

Most programs of federal aid to K-12 education are authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The authorization for ESEA programs expired at the end of FY2008, although ESEA programs continue to operate as long as appropriations are provided, and the 111th Congress is expected to consider whether to amend and extend the ESEA.

Debates over reauthorization of the ESEA have thus far focused on the following overarching issues: (1) What has been the impact of the...

Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Status and Issues

An important aspect of U.S. efforts to maintain and improve economic competitiveness is the existence of a capable scientific and technological workforce. A major concern of the 111th Congress may be regarding the future ability of the U.S. science and engineering base to generate the technological advances needed to maintain economic growth. Discussions have centered on the quality of science and mathematics education and training and on the scientific knowledge of those students entering other disciplines. Even students pursuing nonscientific and nonmathematical specialities are likely...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2009 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On September 30, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing...

Analysis of Issues Concerning Extended Learning Time

School reformers have pointed out for decades that schools operate on a nine-month agrarian calendar that is seen as no longer relevant. The idea of extended learning time captured national attention in 1983 with the publication of A Nation at Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The report recommended that the amount of school time be increased from 180 days to between 200 and 220 seven-hour school days. More recent reports and reformists have agreed that some students require more time to meet academic standards, but few schools have moved away from the standard...

Funding for Education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The primary purposes of the ARRA focus on promoting economic recovery, assisting those most affected by the recession, improving economic efficiency by “spurring technological advances in science and health,” investing in infrastructure, and stabilizing state and local government budgets.

The ARRA provides funds to several existing education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), including programs authorized by the Elementary and...

Information Operations, Cyberwarfare, and Cybersecurity: Capabilities and Related Policy Issues

This report describes the emerging areas of information operations, cybersecurity, and cyberwar in the context of U.S. national security. It also notes related policy issues of potential interest to Congress.

For military planners, the control of information is critical to military success, and communications networks and computers are of vital operational importance. The use of technology to both control and disrupt the flow of information has been generally referred to by several names: information warfare, electronic warfare, cyberwar, netwar, and Information Operations (IO). Currently,...

Higher Education Tax Credits: An Economic Analysis

School Finance Litigation

Over the past several decades, a series of lawsuits have challenged funding disparities that exist among school districts within the states. Spurred by concerns that such disparities discriminated against students in poor school districts or resulted in an inadequate education, school finance plaintiffs began filing lawsuits in federal and state courts based on theories involving educational equity or adequacy. This report provides an analysis of litigation regarding school financing, including an overview of the legal issues involved in such litigation and a description of the leading...

CRS Issue Statement on Child Well-Being

The nation's future depends in large part on its children's ability to develop into contributing adult members of society. For that reason, and for what many would consider a society's moral responsibility to care for the young and vulnerable, Congress and the nation take an interest in promoting children's well-being. It can be argued that children are the nation's most valuable resource, constituting the next generation of workers, taxpayers, and parents. Their well-being and ability to develop into productive adults in an increasingly competitive global economy is influenced by a...

A Brief History of Veterans' Education Benefits and Their Value

This report reviews the evolution of veterans' education benefit programs and describes the types of education benefits that have been made available under these programs. The first section provides an historical overview of education benefits for military veterans, beginning with the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill of Rights). The second section is an analysis of the estimated value of veterans' education benefits relative to average college prices. This section focuses on the estimated value of veterans' education benefits and college prices at four-year public and private...

Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants (Title II, Part A of the Higher Education Act): Overview and Reauthorization Issues

The Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants program (Title II, Part A of the Higher Education Act, or HEA) seeks to improve K-12 teacher preparation programs at higher education institutions. Title II Part A authorizes three types of competitively awarded grants—state grants, partnership grants, and recruitment grants—with the annual appropriation divided 45%, 45%, and 10% respectively among these kinds of grants.

State grants are one-time, three-year grants for such activities as holding teacher preparation programs accountable for the quality of their graduates or reforming teacher...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Background, Federal Policy, and Legislative Action

This report provides the background and context to understand these legislative developments. The report first presents data on the state of Schience, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. It then examines the federal role in promoting STEM education. The report concludes with a discussion of the legislative actions recently taken to address federal STEM education policy.

K-12 Teacher Quality: Issues and Legislative Action

This report provides a brief overview of some of the most salient issues regarding the K-12 teaching force, describes the current federal role in this area, describes major federal programs, and tracks major legislative action by the Congress.

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

FY2008 appropriations for Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) agencies were originally proposed in H.R. 2829. The bill included funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 20 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On June 28, 2007, the House approved $43.8 billion for H.R. 2829, a...

Military Base Closures and the Impact Aid Program for Education

Reading First: Implementation Issues and Controversies

The Reading First program was authorized as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLBA). The NCLBA was signed into law on January 8, 2002, and will expire at the end of FY2008 (including the automatic General Education Provisions Act one-year extension). It is expected that the 110th Congress will consider legislation to reauthorize the ESEA.

Reading First was drafted with the intent of incorporating scientifically based reading research (SBRR) on what works in teaching reading to improve and expand K-3 reading programs to...

K-12 Education: Special Forms of Flexibility in the Administration of Federal Aid Programs

Beginning with the Improving America’s Schools Act in 1994, and continuing through the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the authorization of special forms of flexibility for grantees has been a focus of federal K-12 education legislation. These flexibility authorities apply primarily to programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the largest source of federal aid to K-12 education.

In general, federal K-12 education assistance program requirements include activities or outcomes that state or local...

Trio and GEAR UP Programs: Status and Issues

K-12 Education: Highlights of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110)

On January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, legislation to extend and revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was signed into law as P.L. 107-110. This legislation extensively amended and reauthorized most federal elementary and secondary education aid programs.

Major features of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 include the following: (a) states were required to implement standards-based assessments in reading and mathematics for pupils in each of grades 3-8 by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, and at three grade levels in science by the end of the...

Davis-Bacon: The Act and the Literature

The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, as amended, requires that contractors engaging in certain federal contract construction pay workers on such projects not less than the locally prevailing wage for comparable work. In addition, such contractors are required to file payroll reports and to meet other administrative and labor standards requirements.

Enacted at the urging of the Hoover Administration, the statute was modified in 1934 with adoption of the Copeland (“anti-kickback”) Act and in 1935 through general amendments dealing with administration and implementation: among them, establishment of...

College Costs and Prices: Issues for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

The rising cost of attending U.S. colleges and universities is a growing concern, as most Americans believe that college is out of financial reach for qualified students. For federal policymakers, concerns focus on issues of affordability, access for low-income students, and whether federal student financial aid is keeping pace with rising prices. This report presents the current status and historical trends of college costs, with an emphasis on the prices undergraduate students are ultimately charged at the varying types of institutions of higher education and how they pay for...

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Analysis of Changes Made by P.L. 108-446

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the main federal program authorizing state and local aid for special education and related services for children with disabilities. On December 3, 2004, President Bush signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (P.L. 108-446), a major reauthorization and revision of IDEA. The new law preserves the basic structure and civil rights guarantees of IDEA but also makes significant changes in the law. Most provisions of P.L. 108-446 went into effect on July 1, 2005. This report details the changes made by P.L....

District of Columbia: Appropriations for 2007

On February 6, 2006, the Bush Administration released its FY2007 budget request, which included $597.2 million in proposed special federal payments to the District of Columbia. Four payments (court operations, defender services, offender supervision, and criminal justice coordination) represented $455.767 million, or 76.3%, of the proposed $597.2 million in total federal payments to the District requested by the Administration.

On May 9, 2006, the District’s city council approved the city’s $9.2 billion operating budget for FY2007. The District’s budget is submitted for the approval of...

Education for the Disadvantaged: Overview of ESEA Title I-A Amendments Under the No Child Left Behind Act

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes aid to local educational agencies (LEAs) for the education of disadvantaged children. Title I-A grants are used to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other pupils attending schools with relatively high concentrations of pupils from low-income families. Title I-A has detailed provisions regarding pupil assessment, program improvement, allocation of funds, school selection, fiscal accountability, and parental involvement, but very few constraints on such matters as the...

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Discipline Provisions in P.L. 108-446

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a child with a disability is not immune from disciplinary procedures; however, these procedures are not identical to those for children without disabilities. If a child with a disability commits an action that would be subject to discipline, school personnel have several immediate options. A child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct may be removed from her current placement to another setting or suspension for up to 10 school days; the child may be placed in an interim alternative education setting for up to...

Federal Aid to Libraries in the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003

Legislation reauthorizing the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as Title II—Library Services and Technology, of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 (MLSA), was signed into law (P.L. 108-81) on September 25, 2003. The LSTA’s authorization had expired at the end of FY2002; however, funding was not interrupted.

Library Services and Technology (LST) is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS contains an Office of Museum Services (OMS) and an Office of Library Services (OLS). Beginning in FY2003, the OMS and the OLS were combined in one...

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Mediation Provisions

Mediation is a flexible and informal process in which a third party assists individuals to resolve a conflict. The mediator is trained to facilitate discussions of each participant’s issues. The goal is to create an agreement that resolves differences and enhances the relationship between the disputants. The mediator, unlike a judge, does not make decisions regarding the outcome of the matter; rather, the participants make these decisions. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, 20 U.S.C. §§1400 et seq., requires that mediation is to be voluntary but educational agencies...

District of Columbia: FY2006 Appropriations

On February 8, 2005, the Administration released its FY2006 budget request. The Administration’s proposed budget included $573.4 million in federal payments to the District of Columbia. Four payments (for court operations, defender services, offender supervision, and criminal justice coordination) represented $471.4 million, or 82%, of the proposed $573.4 million in total federal payments to the District.

On June 2, 2005, the District’s city council approved the city’s $8.8 billion operating budget for FY2006. The District’s budget, which must be approved by Congress, also included $3...

Congress and Program Evaluation: An Overview of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and Related Issues

Program evaluations can play an important role in public policy debates and in oversight of government programs, potentially affecting decisions about program design, operation, and funding. One technique that has received significant recent attention is the randomized controlled trial (RCT). There are also many other types of evaluation, including observational and qualitative designs.

An RCT attempts to estimate a program’s impact upon an outcome of interest (e.g., crime rate). An RCT randomly assigns subjects to treatment and control groups, administers an intervention to the treatment...

Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Federal, State, and Local Programs

The Benefits of Education

California's San Joaquin Valley: A Region in Transition

CRS was requested to undertake a study of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and a comparison with another U.S. region. The eight-county San Joaquin Valley, part of California's Central Valley, is home to 5 of the 10 most agriculturally productive counties in the United States. By a wide range of indicators, the SJV is also one of the most economically depressed regions of the United States. This report analyzes the SJV's counties and statistically documents the basis of current socioeconomic conditions. The report further explores the extent to which the SJV shares similarities with and...

Education and Training Issues Related to Major Disasters

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Discipline Provisions in P.L. 105-17

The 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are the most comprehensive and significant changes made since its original enactment. Several of the most important changes were made regarding the discipline of children with disabilities. Congress attempted to strike “a careful balance between the LEA’s (local educational agency’s) duty to ensure that school environments are safe and conducive to learning for all children, including children with disabilities, and the LEA’s obligation to ensure that children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public...

College Costs and Prices: Background and Issues for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

Based on available data, college tuition and fees have been rising more rapidly than household income over the past 2 decades. The divergence is particularly pronounced for low-income households and becomes less pronounced as household income increases. In analyzing price increases, researchers have considered whether a relationship exists between federal aid and price increases. There are several ways Congress could consider addressing the issue, such as imposing price controls, offering incentives for controlling prices or costs, ensuring the public is better educated about college cost...

Grants Work in a Congressional Office

Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector.

The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the

competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the...

Education for the Disadvantaged: ESEA Title I Reauthorization Issues

This issue brief covers only Parts A and E of ESEA Title I. Part A of Title I, grants to LEAs, constitutes over 90% of total Title I funding, while Part E authorizes program evaluation and demonstration projects of innovative practices, including the Comprehensive School Reform Program. Other Parts of Title I authorize the Even Start program of joint services to young disadvantaged children and their parents (Part B), plus aid for the education of migrant (Part C) and neglected or delinquent youth (Part D).

Elementary and Secondary Education: Accountability and Flexibility in Federal Aid Proposals

The 107th Congress is considering proposals to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Much of the debate over these proposals has been focused on issues related to state and local accountability for, and flexibility in the use of, federal aid funds. Current federal elementary and secondary education assistance programs have a broad range of accountability requirements, including: targeting of resources on specific “high need” pupil groups, localities, or schools; limitations on the authorized uses of funds; fiscal accountability requirements, such as maintenance of...

ESEA Reauthorization Proposals: Comparison of Major Features of the House and Senate Versions of H.R. 1

The authorizations of appropriations for most programs of federal aid to elementary and secondary (grades K-12) education, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), expired at the end of FY2000. While the 106th Congress extensively considered several bills which would have reauthorized and amended most of these programs, only legislation extending the Impact Aid (ESEA Title VIII) and Even Start Family Literacy (ESEA Title I, Part B) programs was enacted. Selected other programs, such as the Class Size Reduction program, have been initiated and continued solely through annual...

Education for the Disadvantaged: ESEA Title I Allocation Formula Provisions

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes federal aid to state and local educational agencies (SEAs, LEAs) for the education of disadvantaged children. Title I grants are used to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving children attending schools with relatively high concentrations of pupils from low-income families. Services may be provided at pre-kindergarten through high school levels. Title I has been the anchor of the ESEA since it was first enacted in 1965, and is the largest federal elementary and secondary...

Patents on Methods of Doing Business

The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group , 149 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1998), held that inventors may obtain patents on methods of doing business. Subsequent judicial opinions have confirmed this holding. Recently issued patents in fields such as architecture, investment, marketing, psychological analysis and sports methods also suggest that inventions from virtually any human endeavor may be the subject of proprietary rights through the patent system. Since State Street Bank , proprietors of...

Charter Schools: State Developments and Federal Policy Options

Charter schools are public elementary or secondary schools which are released from a variety of state, local, and possibly federal regulations in return for new forms of accountability in terms of outcomes for pupils. Approximately one-half of the states authorize the establishment of charter schools, and a federal Public Charter Schools (PCS) program provides start-up funds for such schools. The House has passed (H.R. 2616), and the Senate is considering (S. 1380) legislation to modify and expand the PCS program. This report provides background information on charter schools and their...

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Reauthorization Legislation: An Overview

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes several programs to support and improve early intervention and special education for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. The 105th Congress has considered legislation to amend, revise, and extend IDEA. The President signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, P.L. 105-17 , on June 4, 1997. The amendments are comprehensive in nature and address a wide range of legal and programmatic issues affecting early intervention and special education. Discipline . Schools have...

Education in America: Reports on Its Condition, Recommendations for Change

The quality of education in our schools, particularly our high schools, and appropriate Federal actions to improve educational quality have become a major political issue. A number of reports on education with recommendations for change have been issued, among them A Nation At Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. These reports are critical of how our Schools are functioning and call for improvement in areas such as teaching, curriculum, and standards for student performance and behavior. Some issues raised by these reports are whether these changes are needed, how...