THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Davenport, Iowa) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 3, 2000
ACTIONS TO IMPROVE LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2000 (as contained in Public Law 106-113), and in order to take actions to improve low-performing schools, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Since 1993, this Administration has sought to raise standards for students and to increase accountability in public education while investing more resources in elementary and secondary schools. While much has been accomplished -- there has been progress in math and reading achievement, particularly for low-achieving students and students in our highest poverty schools -- much more can be done, especially for low-performing schools.
Sec. 2. Technical Assistance and Capacity Building. (a) The Secretary of Education ("Secretary") shall work with State and local educational agencies ("LEAs") to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for providing technical assistance and other assistance to States and LEAs to strengthen their capacity to improve the performance of schools identified as low performing. This comprehensive strategy shall include a number of steps, such as:
(1) providing States, school districts, and schools receiving funds from the school improvement fund established by Public Law 106-113, as well as other districts and schools identified for school improvement or corrective action under Title I of the ESEA, with access to the latest research and information on best practices, including research on instruction and educator professional development, and with the opportunity to learn from exemplary schools and exemplary State and local intervention strategies and from each other, in order to improve achievement for all students in the low-performing schools; (2) determining effective ways of providing low-performing schools with access to resources from other Department of Education programs, such as funds from the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program, the Reading Excellence Act, the Eisenhower Professional Development Program, the Class Size Reduction Program, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, and to make effective use of these funds and Title I funds; (3) providing States and LEAs with information on effective strategies to improve the quality of the teaching force, including strategies for recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers in high-poverty schools, and implementing research-based professional development programs aligned with challenging standards; (4) helping States and school districts build partnerships with technical assistance providers, including, but not limited to, federally funded laboratories and centers, foundations, businesses, community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, reform model providers, and other organizations that can help local schools improve; (5) identifying previously low-performing schools that have made significant achievement gains, and States and school districts that have been effective in improving the achievement of all students in low-performing schools, which can serve as models and resources; (6) providing assistance and information on how to effectively involve parents in the school-improvement process, including effectively involving and informing parents at the beginning of the school year about improvement goals for their school as well as the goals for their own children, and reporting on progress made in achieving these goals; (7) providing States and LEAs with information on effective approaches to school accountability, including the effec-tiveness of such strategies as school reconstitution, peer review teams, and financial rewards and incentives; (8) providing LEAs with information and assistance on the design and implementation of approaches to choice among public schools that create incentives for improvement throughout the local educational agency, especially in the lowest-performing schools, and that maximize the opportunity of students in low-performing schools to attend a higher-performing public school; (9) exploring the use of well-trained tutors to raise student achievement through initiatives such as "America Reads," "America Counts," and other work-study opportunities to help low-performing schools; (10) using a full range of strategies for disseminating information about effective practices, including interactive electronic communications; (11) working with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), to provide technical assistance to BIA-funded low-performing schools; and (12) taking other steps that can help improve the quality of teaching and instruction in low-performing schools. (b) The Secretary shall, to the extent permitted by law, take
whatever steps the Secretary finds necessary and appropriate to redirect the resources and technical assistance capability of the Department of Education ("Department") to assist States and localities in improving low-performing schools, and to ensure that the dissemination of research to help turn around low-performing schools is a priority of the Department.
Sec. 3. School Improvement Report. To monitor the progress of LEAs and schools in turning around failing schools, including those receiving grants from the School Improvement Fund, the Secretary shall prepare an annual School Improvement Report, to be published in September of each year, beginning in 2000. The report shall:
(a) describe trends in the numbers of LEAs and schools identified as needing improvement and subsequent changes in the academic performance of their students; 3
(b) identify best practices and significant research findings that can be used to help turn around low-performing LEAs and schools; and
(c) document ongoing efforts as a result of this order and other Federal efforts to assist States and local school districts in intervening in low-performing schools, including improving teacher quality. This report shall be publicly accessible.
Sec. 4. Compliance Monitoring System. Consistent with the implementation of the School Improvement Fund, the Secretary shall strengthen the Department's monitoring of ESEA requirements for identifying and turning around low-performing schools, as well as any new requirements established for the School Improvement Fund by Public Law 106-113. The Secretary shall give priority to provisions that have the greatest bearing on identifying and turning around low-performing schools, including sections 1116 and 1117 of the ESEA, and to developing an ongoing, focused, and systematic process for monitoring these provisions. This improved compliance monitoring shall be designed to:
(a) ensure that States and LEAs comply with ESEA requirements;
(b) assist States and LEAs in implementing effective procedures and strategies that reflect the best research available, as well as the experience of successful schools, school districts, and States as they address similar objectives and challenges; and
(c) assist States, LEAs, and schools in making the most effective use of available Federal resources.
Sec. 5. Consultation. The Secretary shall, where appropriate, consult with executive agencies, State and local education officials, educators, community-based groups, and others in carrying out this Executive order.
Sec. 6. Judicial Review. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentali-ties, its officers or employees, or any other person.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE, May 3, 2000.
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