S 622

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 622

To establish the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 17, 2011

Mr. BENNET (for himself and Mr. ALEXANDER) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To establish the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools.

    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 `Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools Act'.

SEC. 2. COMMISSION ON EFFECTIVE REGULATION AND ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    (a) In General- The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`TITLE X--COMMISSION ON EFFECTIVE REGULATION AND ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

`SEC. 10001. DEFINITIONS.

    `In this title:

      `(1) CHAIRPERSON- The term `Chairperson' means the Chairperson of the Commission.

      `(2) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools.

      `(3) RELEVANT COMMITTEES- The term `relevant committees' means the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives.

`SEC. 10002. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION ON EFFECTIVE REGULATION AND ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    `(a) In General- Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools Act, the Secretary shall establish a commission to be known as the `Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools'.

    `(b) Purpose- The Commission shall--

      `(1) examine Federal, State, and local regulatory requirements on elementary and secondary education;

      `(2) make recommendations on how to align and improve such Federal, State, and local requirements to improve performance and innovation;

      `(3) examine the quality and purpose of current Federal, State, and local assessment requirements; and

      `(4) make recommendations to improve and align assessment systems to provide quality and meaningful information for parents, teachers, and students to improve student achievement, teacher performance, and innovation.

    `(c) Membership-

      `(1) COMPOSITION- The Commission shall be composed of--

        `(A) 4 Governors;

        `(B) 6 State legislators;

        `(C) 2 Chief State school officers;

        `(D) 2 State officials responsible for administering Federal education programs;

        `(E) 4 superintendents;

        `(F) 2 principals;

        `(G) 2 teachers;

        `(H) 2 assessment experts; and

        `(I) 2 teacher and principal effectiveness experts.

      `(2) RECOMMENDATIONS- The Secretary shall solicit input and nominations for appointing members of the Commission from--

        `(A) Governors;

        `(B) members of Congress;

        `(C) State legislators;

        `(D) superintendents, principals, teachers, and other members of the education community; and

        `(E) parents, students, and other members of the general public.

      `(3) DETERMINATION- The Secretary shall determine the membership of the Commission after considering recommendations submitted under paragraph (2).

    `(d) Chairperson- The Secretary shall designate a Governor as the Chairperson of the Commission.

    `(e) Meetings- The Commission shall hold, at the call of the Chairperson, at least 1 meeting every 6 months. All such meetings shall be open to the public. The Commission may hold, at the call of the Chairperson, such other meetings as the Chairperson sees fit to carry out this title.

    `(f) Quorum- A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold hearings.

    `(g) Initial Meeting- The Commission shall hold its first meeting not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools Act.

`SEC. 10003. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    `(a) Hearings-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission determines appropriate to carry out this title.

      `(2) PARTICIPATION- In hearings held under this subsection, the Commission shall consider inviting witnesses from, among other groups--

        `(A) teachers;

        `(B) parents;

        `(C) principals;

        `(D) superintendents;

        `(E) Federal, State, and local educational agency personnel;

        `(F) researchers and other experts; and

        `(G) any other individuals determined appropriate by the Commission.

    `(b) Information From Federal Agencies- The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out this title. Upon request of the Chairperson, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.

`SEC. 10004. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

    `(a) Duties-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall take such actions as it determines necessary to gain a full understanding of the issues of effective regulation and assessment systems for public schools.

      `(2) AREAS OF EMPHASIS- The Commission shall focus--

        `(A) in examining the over-regulation of public schools, on--

          `(i) examining Federal, State and local regulations governing public schools;

          `(ii) differentiating between financial, programmatic, general education, special education, and civil rights requirements;

          `(iii) identifying which government entity requires each regulation;

          `(iv) measuring the cost of compliance in terms of funds spent on compliance and time in hours and personnel;

          `(v) identifying duplicative, redundant, or unnecessary regulations at each governmental level; and

          `(vi) investigating how Federal, State, and local interpretations of laws and regulations create additional or unnecessary burden and are used as rationale for imposing requirements that are not actually mandated by law; and

        `(B) in examining the effective testing of public schools, on--

          `(i) examining Federal, State, and local testing and standardized assessment requirements for public elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools;

          `(ii) determining the purpose and intent of each such test or assessment, including whether it is intended to measure student achievement and growth, teacher and principal effectiveness, or system accountability;

          `(iii) determining the frequency, length, and scheduling of such tests and assessments, and measuring, in hours and days, the student and teacher time spent on testing;

          `(iv) examining standardized assessments required by Federal, State, or local requirements, excluding teacher-created tests and quizzes and formative assessments;

          `(v) reporting on the quality of standardized assessments;

          `(vi) examining reporting practices of test results and the degree to which they are returned in a timely manner with sufficient quality to be useful to parents, teachers and principals, and students to inform and improve their work, including targeting instruction to student needs, grading student work, and evaluating teacher and principal effectiveness;

          `(vii) analyzing the ability of quality assessments to measure whether a student is prepared to graduate from high school and pursue college or a career without the need for academic remediation;

          `(viii) examining what factors most contribute to quality assessments and the extent to which high-quality assessments can advance student learning;

          `(ix) determining the technology infrastructure required for next generation assessments; and

          `(x) identifying opportunities to improve assessment practices to better promote parent, teacher and principal, and student understanding of progress toward college and career readiness and public understanding of school performance and educational productivity.

      `(3) SAMPLES- In conducting its work under this title, the Commission may rely on samples of States and local school districts for examples of regulations and testing requirements.

    `(b) Reports-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2), the Commission shall provide regular reports in a manner and form of the Commission's choosing to--

        `(A) the Secretary; and

        `(B) the members of the relevant committees.

      `(2) ANNUAL REPORT- Not later than 1 year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission, and annually thereafter, the Commission shall issue a report to--

        `(A) the Secretary; and

        `(B) the members of the relevant committees.

      `(3) PUBLIC REPORT- The Commission shall--

        `(A) prepare a report--

          `(i) analyzing findings of the Commission; and

          `(ii) making recommendations for Federal, State, and local policy makers; and

        `(B) broadly disseminate such report to the general public.

    `(c) Testimony- The Chairperson shall annually provide testimony to the relevant committees.

`SEC. 10005. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    `(a) Compensation of Members- Each member of the Commission shall serve without compensation in addition to any such compensation received for the member's service as an officer or employee of the United States, if applicable.

    `(b) Travel Expenses- The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter 1 of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.

    `(c) Assistance-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education shall provide assistance to the Commission, upon request of the Commission, without reimbursement.

      `(2) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES- Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.'.

    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents in section 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended by adding at the end the following:

`TITLE X--COMMISSION ON EFFECTIVE REGULATION AND ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

      `Sec. 10001. Definitions.

      `Sec. 10002. Establishment of Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools.

      `Sec. 10003. Powers of the Commission.

      `Sec. 10004. Duties of the Commission.

      `Sec. 10005. Commission personnel matters.'.

END