S 378

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 378

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax incentive to individuals teaching in elementary and secondary schools located in rural or high unemployment areas and to individuals who achieve certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 17, 2011

Mr. ROCKEFELLER introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


A BILL

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax incentive to individuals teaching in elementary and secondary schools located in rural or high unemployment areas and to individuals who achieve certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Incentives to Educate American Children Act of 2011' or the `I Teach Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) As a result of retirements and decreasing retention of beginning teachers, classrooms are filled with less experienced teachers. The most common number of years of teaching experience for public school teachers has decreased from 15 years experience in 1987-1988 to just 1 year teaching experience in the most recent data for 2007-2008. Students deserve teachers with more experience and training.

      (2) Recent research confirms that additional years of teaching experience at the same grade level (up to 20 years) add a direct positive impact on student achievement.

      (3) The most recent data (2007-2008) from the National Center for Education Statistics find 32 percent of America's public schools are in rural school districts, and the increased transportation costs these school districts face mean they have less money for instructional costs and salaries. Department of Education data show that rural school districts have the lowest base salaries for starting teachers and this continues as teachers move to the top of the local salary range. Rural schools face these challenges in all States.

      (4) A 2009 study by the Education Trust reports that high poverty high schools are twice as likely not to have teachers certified in their fields than low poverty schools. The same study found the percentage of first year teachers to be higher in high poverty schools in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Rural schools have first year teacher rates above the national average regardless of poverty rate.

      (5) The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was founded in 1987 as a follow up to the landmark 1983 report, `A Nation at Risk', by the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization the mission of which is to establish high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

      (6) Nearly 91,000 teachers from all 50 States and the District of Columbia have completed certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where certification is a rigorous assessment process for teachers.

      (7) In 2008, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies affirmed that students taught by National Board certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than those taught by teachers who have not applied for or have not achieved certification.

      (8) A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that public school teachers earn significantly less than other college graduates. The study found teachers were paid on average only 77 percent as much as other college graduates and the disparity is growing.

    (b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are as follows:

      (1) To encourage teachers, through a refundable tax credit, to work in public elementary and secondary schools located in rural areas or schools with high poverty.

      (2) To provide an additional tax credit to teachers who achieve certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in order to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers in public elementary and secondary schools.

SEC. 3. REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT FOR INDIVIDUALS TEACHING IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS LOCATED IN HIGH POVERTY OR RURAL AREAS AND CERTIFIED TEACHERS.

    (a) In General- Subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after section 36C the following new section:

`SEC. 36D. TAX CREDIT FOR INDIVIDUALS TEACHING IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS LOCATED IN HIGH POVERTY OR RURAL AREAS AND CERTIFIED TEACHERS.

    `(a) Allowance of Credit- In the case of an eligible teacher, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this subtitle for the taxable year an amount equal to the applicable amount for the eligible academic year ending during such taxable year.

    `(b) Applicable Amount- For purposes of this section--

      `(1) TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS IN RURAL AREAS OR SCHOOLS WITH HIGH POVERTY-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- In the case of an eligible teacher who performs services in a public kindergarten or a public elementary or secondary school described in subparagraph (B) during the eligible academic year, the applicable amount is $1,000.

        `(B) SCHOOL DESCRIBED- A public kindergarten or a public elementary or secondary school is described in this subparagraph if--

          `(i) at least 75 percent of the students attending such kindergarten or school receive free or reduced-cost lunches under the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, or

          `(ii) such kindergarten or school has a School Locale Code of 41, 42, or 43, as determined by the Secretary of Education.

      `(2) CERTIFIED TEACHERS- In the case of an eligible teacher who is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for the eligible academic year, the applicable amount is $1,000.

      `(3) CERTIFIED TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS IN RURAL AREAS OR SCHOOLS WITH HIGH POVERTY- In the case of an eligible teacher described in paragraphs (1) and (2), the applicable amount is $2,000.

    `(c) Eligible Teacher- For purposes of this section, the term `eligible teacher' means, for any eligible academic year, an individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 classroom teacher or instructor in a public kindergarten or a public elementary or secondary school on a full-time basis for such eligible academic year.

    `(d) Additional Definitions- For purposes of this section--

      `(1) ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS- The terms `elementary school' and `secondary school' have the respective meanings given such terms by section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

      `(2) ELIGIBLE ACADEMIC YEAR- The term `eligible academic year' means any academic year ending in a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2011.'.

    (b) Conforming Amendments-

      (1) Paragraph (2) of section 1324(b) of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting `36D,' after `36C,'.

      (2) The table of sections for subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 36C the following new item:

      `Sec. 36D. Tax credit for individuals teaching in elementary and secondary schools located in high poverty or rural areas and certified teachers.'.

    (c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to academic years ending in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2011.

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