(a) Regional educational laboratories
The Director shall enter into contracts with entities to establish a networked system of 10 regional educational laboratories that serve the needs of each region of the United States in accordance with the provisions of this section. The amount of assistance allocated to each laboratory by the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner shall reflect the number of local educational agencies and the number of school-age children within the region served by such laboratory, as well as the cost of providing services within the geographic area encompassed by the region.
The regions served by the regional educational laboratories shall be the 10 geographic regions served by the regional educational laboratories established under section 941(h) of the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 (as such provision existed on the day before November 5, 2002).
(c) Eligible applicants
The Director may enter into contracts under this section with research organizations, institutions, agencies, institutions of higher education, or partnerships among such entities, or individuals, with the demonstrated ability or capacity to carry out the activities described in this section, including regional entities that carried out activities under the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 (as such Act existed on the day before November 5, 2002) and title XIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (as such title existed on the day before January 8, 2002).
Each applicant desiring a contract under this section shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may reasonably require.
Each application submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain a 5-year plan for carrying out the activities described in this section in a manner that addresses the priorities established under section 9606 of this title and addresses the needs of all States (and to the extent practicable, of local educational agencies) within the region to be served by the regional educational laboratory, on an ongoing basis.
(e) Entering into contracts
(1) In general
In entering into contracts under this section, the Director shall—
(A) enter into contracts for a 5-year period; and
(B) ensure that regional educational laboratories established under this section have strong and effective governance, organization, management, and administration, and employ qualified staff.
In order to ensure coordination and prevent unnecessary duplication of activities among the regions, the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner shall—
(A) share information about the activities of each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section with each other regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section and with the Department of Education, including the Director and the Board;
(B) oversee a strategic plan for ensuring that each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section increases collaboration and resource-sharing in such activities;
(C) ensure, where appropriate, that the activities of each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section also serve national interests; and
(D) ensure that each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section coordinates such laboratory's activities with the activities of each other regional technical assistance provider.
In conducting competitions for contracts under this section, the Director shall—
(A) actively encourage eligible entities to compete for such awards by making information and technical assistance relating to the competition widely available; and
(B) seek input from the chief executive officers of States, chief State school officers, educators, and parents regarding the need for applied research, wide dissemination, training, technical assistance, and development activities authorized by this subchapter in the regions to be served by the regional educational laboratories and how those educational needs could be addressed most effectively.
(4) Objectives and indicators
Before entering into a contract under this section, the Director shall design specific objectives and measurable indicators to be used to assess the particular programs or initiatives, and ongoing progress and performance, of the regional educational laboratories, in order to ensure that the educational needs of the region are being met and that the latest and best research and proven practices are being carried out as part of school improvement efforts.
The Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner shall establish a system for technical and peer review to ensure that applied research activities, research-based reports, and products of the regional educational laboratories are consistent with the research standards described in section 9534 of this title and the evaluation standards adhered to pursuant to section 9563(a)(2)(A) of this title.
(f) Central mission and primary function
Each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section shall support applied research, development, wide dissemination, and technical assistance activities by—
(1) providing training (which may include supporting internships and fellowships and providing stipends) and technical assistance to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, school boards, schools funded by the Bureau as appropriate, and State boards of education regarding, at a minimum—
(A) the administration and implementation of programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.);
(B) scientifically valid research in education on teaching methods, assessment tools, and high quality, challenging curriculum frameworks for use by teachers and administrators in, at a minimum—
(i) the core academic subjects of mathematics, science, and reading;
(ii) English language acquisition;
(iii) education technology; and
(iv) the replication and adaption of exemplary and promising practices and new educational methods, including professional development strategies and the use of educational technology to improve teaching and learning; and
(C) the facilitation of communication between educational experts, school officials, and teachers, parents, and librarians, to enable such individuals to assist schools to develop a plan to meet the State education goals;
(2) developing and widely disseminating, including through Internet-based means, scientifically valid research, information, reports, and publications that are usable for improving academic achievement, closing achievement gaps, and encouraging and sustaining school improvement, to—
(A) schools, districts, institutions of higher education, educators (including early childhood educators and librarians), parents, policymakers, and other constituencies, as appropriate, within the region in which the regional educational laboratory is located; and
(B) the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance;
(3) developing a plan for identifying and serving the needs of the region by conducting a continuing survey of the educational needs, strengths, and weaknesses within the region, including a process of open hearings to solicit the views of schools, teachers, administrators, parents, local educational agencies, librarians, and State educational agencies within the region;
(4) in the event such quality applied research does not exist as determined by the regional educational laboratory or the Department, carrying out applied research projects that are designed to serve the particular educational needs (in prekindergarten through grade 16) of the region in which the regional educational laboratory is located, that reflect findings from scientifically valid research, and that result in user-friendly, replicable school-based classroom applications geared toward promoting increased student achievement, including using applied research to assist in solving site-specific problems and assisting in development activities (including high-quality and on-going professional development and effective parental involvement strategies);
(5) supporting and serving the educational development activities and needs of the region by providing educational applied research in usable forms to promote school-improvement, academic achievement, and the closing of achievement gaps and contributing to the current base of education knowledge by addressing enduring problems in elementary and secondary education and access to postsecondary education;
(6) collaborating and coordinating services with other technical assistance providers funded by the Department of Education;
(7) assisting in gathering information on school finance systems to promote improved access to educational opportunities and to better serve all public school students;
(8) assisting in gathering information on alternative administrative structures that are more conducive to planning, implementing, and sustaining school reform and improved academic achievement;
(9) bringing teams of experts together to develop and implement school improvement plans and strategies, especially in low-performing or high poverty schools; and
(10) developing innovative approaches to the application of technology in education that are unlikely to originate from within the private sector, but which could result in the development of new forms of education software, education content, and technology-enabled pedagogy.
Each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section shall carry out the following activities:
(1) Collaborate with the National Education Centers in order to—
(A) maximize the use of research conducted through the National Education Centers in the work of such laboratory;
(B) keep the National Education Centers apprised of the work of the regional educational laboratory in the field; and
(C) inform the National Education Centers about additional research needs identified in the field.
(2) Consult with the State educational agencies and local educational agencies in the region in developing the plan for serving the region.
(3) Develop strategies to utilize schools as critical components in reforming education and revitalizing rural communities in the United States.
(4) Report and disseminate information on overcoming the obstacles faced by educators and schools in high poverty, urban, and rural areas.
(5) Identify successful educational programs that have either been developed by such laboratory in carrying out such laboratory's functions or that have been developed or used by others within the region served by the laboratory and make such information available to the Secretary and the network of regional educational laboratories so that such programs may be considered for inclusion in the national education dissemination system.
(h) Governing board and allocation
(1) In general
In carrying out its responsibilities, each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section, in keeping with the terms and conditions of such laboratory's contract, shall—
(A) establish a governing board that—
(i) reflects a balanced representation of—
(I) the States in the region;
(II) the interests and concerns of regional constituencies; and
(III) technical expertise;
(ii) includes the chief State school officer or such officer's designee of each State represented in such board's region;
(I) representatives nominated by chief executive officers of States and State organizations of superintendents, principals, institutions of higher education, teachers, parents, businesses, and researchers; or
(II) other representatives of the organizations described in subclause (I), as required by State law in effect on the day before November 5, 2002;
(iv) is the sole entity that—
(I) guides and directs the laboratory in carrying out the provisions of this subsection and satisfying the terms and conditions of the contract award;
(II) determines the regional agenda of the laboratory;
(III) engages in an ongoing dialogue with the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner concerning the laboratory's goals, activities, and priorities; and
(IV) determines at the start of the contract period, subject to the requirements of this section and in consultation with the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner, the mission of the regional educational laboratory for the duration of the contract period;
(v) ensures that the regional educational laboratory attains and maintains a high level of quality in the laboratory's work and products;
(vi) establishes standards to ensure that the regional educational laboratory has strong and effective governance, organization, management, and administration, and employs qualified staff;
(vii) directs the regional educational laboratory to carry out the laboratory's duties in a manner that will make progress toward achieving the State education goals and reforming schools and educational systems; and
(viii) conducts a continuing survey of the educational needs, strengths, and weaknesses within the region, including a process of open hearings to solicit the views of schools and teachers; and
(B) allocate the regional educational laboratory's resources to and within each State in a manner which reflects the need for assistance, taking into account such factors as the proportion of economically disadvantaged students, the increased cost burden of service delivery in areas of sparse populations, and any special initiatives being undertaken by State, intermediate, local educational agencies, or Bureau-funded schools, as appropriate, which may require special assistance from the laboratory.
(2) Special rule
If a regional educational laboratory needs flexibility in order to meet the requirements of paragraph (1)(A)(i), the regional educational laboratory may select not more than 10 percent of the governing board from individuals outside those representatives nominated in accordance with paragraph (1)(A)(iii).
(i) Duties of governing board
In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the regional educational laboratories, the governing boards of the regional educational laboratories shall establish and maintain a network to—
(1) share information about the activities each laboratory is carrying out;
(2) plan joint activities that would meet the needs of multiple regions;
(3) create a strategic plan for the development of activities undertaken by the laboratories to reduce redundancy and increase collaboration and resource-sharing in such activities; and
(4) otherwise devise means by which the work of the individual laboratories could serve national, as well as regional, needs.
The Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner shall provide for independent evaluations of each of the regional educational laboratories in carrying out the duties described in this section in the third year that such laboratory receives assistance under this section in accordance with the standards developed by the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner and approved by the Board and shall transmit the results of such evaluations to the relevant committees of Congress, the Board, and the appropriate regional educational laboratory governing board.
(k) Rule of construction
No regional educational laboratory receiving assistance under this section shall, by reason of the receipt of that assistance, be ineligible to receive any other assistance from the Department of Education as authorized by law or be prohibited from engaging in activities involving international projects or endeavors.
(l) Advance payment system
Each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section shall participate in the advance payment system at the Department of Education.
(m) Additional projects
In addition to activities authorized under this section, the Director is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with a regional educational laboratory for the purpose of carrying out additional projects to enable such regional educational laboratory to assist in efforts to achieve State education goals and for other purposes.
(n) Annual report and plan
Not later than July 1 of each year, each regional educational laboratory awarded a contract under this section shall submit to the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner—
(1) a plan covering the succeeding fiscal year, in which such laboratory's mission, activities, and scope of work are described, including a general description of the plans such laboratory expects to submit in the remaining years of such laboratory's contract; and
(2) a report of how well such laboratory is meeting the needs of the region, including a summary of activities during the preceding year, a list of entities served, a list of products, and any other information that the regional educational laboratory may consider relevant or the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner may require.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any modifications in a regional educational laboratory contract in effect on the day before November 5, 2002.
References in Text
The Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 (as such Act existed on the day before November 5, 2002), referred to in subsecs. (b) and (c), is title IX of Pub. L. 103–227, Mar. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 212, as amended, which was classified principally to subchapter IX (§6001 et seq.) of chapter 68 of this title and was substantially repealed by Pub. L. 107–279, title IV, §403(2), Nov. 5, 2002, 116 Stat. 1985. Section 941 of the Act was classified to section 6041 of this title prior to repeal. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 6001 of this title and Tables.
Title XIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (as such title existed on the day before January 8, 2002), referred to in subsec. (c), means title XIII of Pub. L. 89–10, as added by Pub. L. 103–382, title I, §101, Oct. 20, 1994, 108 Stat. 3876, which was classified generally to subchapter XIII (§8601 et seq.) of chapter 70 of this title, prior to amendment by Pub. L. 107–110. Parts A to D of title XIII of Pub. L. 89–10, were classified to parts A (§8621 et seq.), B (§8651 et seq.), C (§8671 et seq.), and D (§8701 et seq.), respectively, of subchapter XIII of chapter 70 of this title, and were redesignated as parts K to N of title IX of Pub. L. 103–227, by Pub. L. 107–110, title X, §§1021(a), 1022(a), 1023(a), 1024(a), Jan. 8, 2002, 115 Stat. 1987, transferred to parts G (§6053 et seq.), H (§6054 et seq.), I (§6055 et seq.), and J (§6056 et seq.), respectively, of subchapter IX of chapter 68 of this title, and subsequently repealed by Pub. L. 107–279, title IV, §403(2), Nov. 5, 2002, 116 Stat. 1985.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, referred to in subsec. (f)(1)(A), is Pub. L. 89–10, Apr. 11, 1965, 79 Stat. 27, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 70 (§6301 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6301 of this title and Tables.