A Smart Dropout Recovery Bill
Andrew Moore, National League of Cities, just forwarded the outline of a federal Dropout Recovery Bill. Representative Jared Polis’ office has spearheaded the drafting of the bill and has drawn on ideas from leaders in the effort to re-engage young people in school and work. This is a smart bill that leverages states and districts to improve their own policy structure to include students that are re-engaging in school including updating state data and accountability systems to reflect the dynamics young people face when they re-enroll in school.
This bill can also help us generate the policy discussion we need to ensure that the educational needs of over-age, under-credited students and re-engagement is integrated into the re-authorization of ESEA.
Some of the important themes you will find in this bill that are part of our larger agenda to ensure young people are Connected by 25 are:
- Extending the age that the system support students up to the age of 25
- Establishing clear accountability of public systems to ensure positive outcomes for youth such as monitoring re-engagement.
- Educational continuity for youth that in or transitioning out of public systems.
- Responding to the complex needs of youth that are vulnerable with flexibility and wraparound services.
- Ensuring that youth development specialists are available to help youth navigate their education and lives.
While you are reading the draft of the bill, think about how easily it can be shaped to structure your state policy agenda or modified as a state bill to encourage districts to upgrade their capacity.
· To provide grant funding to district partnerships to significantly increase the rate of recovery for out-of-school youth in earning a high school diploma on a pathway to post-secondary success;
· To incentivize and support the expansion and effectiveness of out-of-school youth reengagement programs that identify, re-enroll, and provide an individualized program that meets needs of out-of-school youth and leads to post-secondary success;
· To incentivize states and districts to develop funding and accountability policies that facilitate, and remove barriers to, the sustainable expansion of programs designed to re-engage out-of-school youth and that provide multiple routes to high school completion, college- and career-readiness, and the transition into post-secondary and career; and
(1) Eligible Entity – state educational agency, which will disseminate subgrants to local education agencies or consortium of local educational agencies, which shall include a partnership with a community-based organization, a qualified intermediary, municipal government, local workforce board or agency, or an institute of higher education.
(2) Graduation Rate – the term ‘graduation rate’ means the percentage of program participants who complete the program with a high school diploma.
(3) Out-of-school Youth – the term ‘out-of-school youth’ means an individual who is—
(a) not younger than age 14 nor older than age 24; and
(b) one of the following:
i. is no longer attending any school, including a student not currently enrolled and a student with an extended absence;
ii. is reflected in a State or local data system as a student who exited or transferred from any school without graduating and has not reenrolled for a period of more than 30 consecutive days within an academic year;
iii. has not received a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
iv. has been counted as a dropout within the graduation rate of the individual’s school of origin, or did not enroll in secondary school, or remain for a sufficient period of time, and therefore was not assigned to a cohort.
v. has been subject to the juvenile or adult justice system or ordered by acourt to an alternative school;
vi. is pregnant or parenting and not attending any school;
vii. is not attending school and has been involved or is involved with the juvenile justice, foster, child welfare, substance abuse or mental health system;
viii. is not attending school who is or has been migrant, a victim of abuse or domestic violence, homeless, a runaway, a foster child, a child eligible for assistance under section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677), or in an out-of-home placement;
ix. has a disability; or
x. is significantly overage and under-credited.
(4) Postsecondary Credential – the term ‘postsecondary credential’ means a credential from an institution of higher education, or a non-profit educational institution, that provides a certificate or registered apprenticeship program at the postsecondary level; or a workforce development organization, including a credential earned by a participant in a program in partnership with a program receiving funding through the Workforce Investment Act.
(5) Qualified Intermediary – the term ‘qualified intermediary’ means an organization that has demonstrated experience and expertise with,
(a) Performing outreach and communication to identify and recruit out-of-school youth, the initial needs assessment, and placement;
(b) Supporting the retention and program completion of participants;
(c) Partnering with an institution of higher education, community based organizations, nonprofit organizations, or for-profit organizations in order to provide support services for participants;
(d) Providing educational opportunities to participant in order to secure a high school diploma or equivalent;
(e) Providing job training, paid work experience, or service opportunities for participants; and; and
(f) Supporting participants in the transition from secondary school to career or postsecondary education
(g) Convening and connecting stakeholders to improve collective impact; and
(h) Measuring program effectiveness; .
(6) Reengagement Program – The term ‘Reengagement Program’ means a school or setting that is designed to identify, enroll, and provide support for out-of-school youth,
(7) Recuperative Education – The term ‘Recuperative Education’ and means a school or setting that provides recuperative education to out-of-school youth in order to obtain one of the following and place them on a pathway to college and career:
(a) a regular high school diploma; or
(b) the recognized equivalent of a regular high school diploma, if the attainment of such equivalent is an element of a pathway, articulated with the reengagement program, toward a career or the achievement of a postsecondary credential.
(8) Reengagement Specialist – the term ‘Reengagement Specialist’ means the person responsible for—
(a) out-of-school youth identification, including population analysis;
(b) out-of-school youth outreach and family engagement;
(c) an initial participant assessment and timely enrollment of each participant in a program that best meets their needs;
(d) the monitoring of participant progress, including the creation of a participant graduation plan that –
i. identifies specific goals for the participant; and includes coursework and experiences that prepare the student for success in college and careers upon graduation; and
ii. the coordination of any special education and related services that may be needed by the participant in order to complete the student graduation plan.
(9) Reenrollment Rate – the term ‘reenrollment rate’ means the number of out-of-school youth who enroll in a school or setting that provides a reengagement program.
(10) Student with an Extended Absence – The term ‘student with an extended absence” means a students who misses 30 consecutive days or more of school within an academic year.
(11) Accountability System for Programs Serving Out-of-School Youth – SEAs receiving grants under this section shall develop a fair, valid, and reliable accountability system for the purpose of measuring the effectiveness of any program serving students of whom at least 90 percent are out-of-school youth and shall include the following indicators:
(a) Extended year graduation rates
(b) Attendance rates
(c) Individual student growth rates for assessment scores
(d) Postsecondary enrollment rates
(e) Career and technical education enrollment rates
(f) Persistence and advancement rates
(g) Course credit accumulation rates
III. State Assurances
(1) The eligible entity, upon submitting an application, shall provide the following Assurances:
(a) Within two years of the eligible entity receiving grant funding, shall create a data system that allows for sharing of student data, including out –of-school youth, across government agencies, districts, and programs and that complies with all requirements under FERPA;
(b) Implement a valid and reliable Accountability System for Programs Serving Out-of-School Youth approved by the Secretary and encourages programs to target and serve out-of-school youth with the greatest need and an assurance by the eligible entity to implement and utilize such a system.
(c) Implement a policy to facilitate the transfer of credits earned during placement in the juvenile justice system toward the completion of a regular high school diploma; and
(d) Remove instructional barriers such as seat-time and school calendar requirements that may prevent the awarding of competency-based credits or providing instruction during not-traditional school hours such as evenings, weekends, and summer programming.
(e) The legal authority and an assurance that within one year from the date of submitting an application the State will provide the state share of individual per-pupil funding to currently provided to the school district to serve each out-school-youth. The enrollment count shall be based on the program’s:
i. Average daily membership or average daily attendance
ii. Multiple dates or multiple periods
(f) An assurance that the reengagement program will supplement, not supplant any LEA or State provided activities to keep students enrolled in regular class and school activities and shall serve every student on an inclusive and equal basis;
(g) An assurance that the eligible entity has involved stakeholders in developing the application process and plan parameters. Stakeholders may include school districts, county offices of education and charter schools with demonstrated experience in serving dropouts and working with Federal workforce development agencies;
(h) An assurance that the eligible entity includes an LEA, or LEAs, that is or are in the top quartile of the state in terms of highest number of out-of-school youth or the highest proportion of out-of-school youth in order to account for rural districts with lower enrollment rates and high rates of out-of-school youth.
(1). An assurance that participating LEAs have established procedures for the prompt re-enrollment and reengagement of students after an extended absence, suspension, or expulsion
(2) An assurance that participating LEAs re-allocate the original district per pupil expenditure for each student served to the reengagement program upon the individual student’s enrollment into a program and an assurance by the eligible entity to re-allocate the LEA per pupil expenditure to the re-enrolled student within this time frame
V. STATE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
(1) Grants to eligible entities shall support partnerships to increase the rates of out-of-school youth re-engagement and recovery through a reengagement program and recuperative education program,.
(2) Duration of grants – Grants shall be a minimum of three years and renewable upon the meeting of grant requirements and demonstration of effectiveness pursuant to section XX.
(3) Applications requirements.—Each application shall include:
(a) A description of the eligible entity’s strategy for increasing the number and percentage of out-of-school youth who secure a high school diploma and postsecondary credential;
(4) A description of how the eligible entity has involved stakeholders in developing the application process and plan parameters. Stakeholders may include school districts, county offices of education and charter schools with demonstrated experience in serving dropouts and working with Federal workforce development agencies;
(5) A description of how the SEA will facilitate and support local education agencies in developing and implementing their plans;
VI. LEA APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
(a) A description of how the eligible entity or partnership, including any partnership with an institution of higher education, community based organization, nonprofit organization, or for-profit organization that has a demonstrated record of expertise and success to assist all students, including out-of-school youth or are participating in a reengagement or credit recovery program;
(b) A needs and capacity assessment of the district(s) served including a segmented analysis of the out-of-school youth population served which may include current level of academic performance (credit and skill attainment), an assessment of mental health needs, and diagnosis of learning disabilities;
(c) A description of the reengagement program and recuperative education program, which shall include:
i. A description of the eligible entity’s plan for outreach and communication to identify and recruit out-of-school youth and a description of how the plan will facilitate the identification, assessment, placement, retention, including the provision of academic and other support services, and program completion of participants;
ii. A description of the eligible entity’s plan for providing appropriate educational placements for re-enrolled out-of-school youth, including how the plan will target different segments of the dropout population by creating and implementing multiple strategies for credit recovery and reengagement programs that meet the individual needs of such different segments of the population, based on age and current grade level based on grade-level performance assessment and credits accumulated at the time of the initial assessment;
iii. A description of how the eligible entity will provide or connect each participant to educational opportunities to secure a regular high school diploma or recognized equivalent that meets college- and career-ready standards and supporting such participants in the transition from secondary school to career or postsecondary education through strategies such as:
1. Aligning completion requirements with criteria associated with admissions to postsecondary education and success therein in credit-bearing courses;
2. Providing access to college, career, and financial assistance planning and counseling;
3. Providing academic support, job training, including paid work experience, or service opportunities, and wraparound support services through outcome-based partnerships among the education system, workforce system, employers, nonprofit organizations, and social service providers; and
4. Allowing for accelerated learning, credit recovery, and flexibility around course enrollment and scheduling, which may include compressed and expanded high school programs combined with dual enrollment in postsecondary institutions
(d) A description of how the program will provide, or partner with one or more third-parties, including community-based organizations, or other youth-serving systems such as workforce, juvenile justice, and child welfare to provide a comprehensive array of supports and opportunities tailored to the specific needs of each individual participant to enable them to secure a regular high school diploma and a postsecondary credential;
(e) A description of program flexibility that may include opportunities for accelerated learning, competency-based programming, project-based learning, service-learning, blended learning, and year-round, weekend, and evening programs that provide multiple enrollment periods;
(f) A description of how the activities supported are based on effective models and aligned with effective reengagement and credit recovery strategies and programs including a description of the instructional strategies to be implemented and how they are research-based and will ensure students graduate ready for postsecondary education;
(g) A description of how the eligible entity will assess program effectiveness pursuant to section XX that is aligned with the Alternative Accountability System as described in Section (III)(1)(b);
(h) A budget and implementation timeline;
(i) A description of how existing federal, state, and local public and private resources will be leveraged with grant funding;
(j) An assurance that funds provided under this program will supplement, and not supplant, other State and local funds available for reengagement and recuperative education programs;
(k) An assurance that the LEA has planned procedures for the prompt re-enrollment of dropouts and for facilitating the transfer of credits from the prior educational setting, including credits earned during placement in the juvenile justice system;
(l) A description of how activities supported under this Act will be coordinated with related activities funded under ESEA, WIA, and IDEA and other efforts to facilitate and support eligible entities;.
VI. LEA USE OF FUNDS
(1) Use of funds – the eligible entity shall use funding for the following activities, including the planning, development, implementation, and assessment of such activities:
(a) To carry out the activities described in the application plan requirements;
(b) Participant identification and outreach activities;
(c) The provision of one or more reengagement counselors;
(d) The provision of appropriate wraparound support services, including counseling, child care, housing, and transportation;
(e) The provision of funding to their intermediary partner(s) for assistance with recovery efforts
(f) The provision of academic support;
(g) The provision of job training, paid work experience, including the provision of stipends, service opportunities, and post-secondary credits, and other opportunities to support skill building in order to prepare dropouts for employment in an occupation that leads to economic self-sufficiency;
(h) Professional development for reengagement program staff such as teachers, counselors, and partners;
(i) Increase communication, data sharing, and coordination with partners including social service agencies, community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions, cross-district, and business and industry;
(j) Provide participants with a recovery counselor and a graduation plan that includes the ability to make up previous course failures;
(k) Public service announcements or other related marketing activities;
(l) Informing such students of career or postsecondary education opportunities, including open enrollment opportunities as state and local universities and colleges;
(m) Providing follow-up support services and tracking of graduates, including assistance in enrolling, and applying to post-secondary education and in applying for student aid;
(n) The identification of postsecondary placement and success; and
(o) The development, collection and evaluation of data related to student and school performance metrics.
VII. EVALUATION AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
(1) The Secretary shall award a grant or contract to an entity outside the Department of Education for an evaluation of the activities assisted under section XX. Such evaluation of program effectiveness shall be based on the program’s:
(a) annual rates of reenrollment, reengagement, including participation and attendance;
(b) participant performance and growth in each subject area on the State academic assessments or other measures defined in the state’s accountability system for programs serving out-of-school youth,
(c) persistence and advancement rates, including course credit accumulation rates;
(d) attainment of a secondary school diploma;
(e) completion rates (including the number of regular high school diplomas and GEDs awarded);
(f) entrance into postsecondary education or employment;
(g) career and technical education enrollment and completion rates;
(h) attainment of, or first-year persistence towards, one or more recognized postsecondary credentials, which may include a certificate, a license, a journey-status card, or an associate degree or baccalaureate degree;
(i) school discipline rates;
(j) participation in job training, paid work experience, stipend work, or service opportunities;
(k) number and percentage of participants who enroll in and begin postsecondary education;
(l) remediation rates;
(m) post-secondary readiness; and
(n) may include additional measures such as recidivism, social and emotional development, student engagement, and school climate measures.
(2) Collection and Provision of Data relating to reengagement programs. Each recipient of funds shall provide the following data annually to the Secretary of Education and to the State Department of Education regarding reentry and credit recovery programs offered by the local educational agency:
(a) The names of reengagement credit recovery offered, including partnerships with organizations to provide such programs and services;
(b) A description of the program provided at each setting and the population served
(c) A description of identification, outreach, coordination, and student support efforts;
(d) The enrollment and attendance of such settings in the aggregate and disaggregated by each of the subgroups described in [insert appropriate statutory reference] including as a percent of overall enrollment;
(e) Funding levels for each program;
(f) The rates of reengagement and completion of reengagement and credit recovery programs;
(g) A description of the performance of each setting, including a description of the performance and growth in performance of each of the subgroups described in [insert appropriate statutory reference] toward the goals approved under subclause X;
(h) The number of participants who receive regular high school diplomas;
(i) The number of participants who receive a recognized equivalent of a regular high school diploma;
(j) The number of participants who are enrolled in an institution of higher education not more than 6 months after completing a reengagement or credit recovery program; and
(k) Information regarding participation in career pathway programs and the outcomes of such participation.
(l) The Secretary shall accept the LEA Partnership Plan as evidence of Adequate Yearly Progress from any school that submits it in lieu of other assessments or evidence
VIII. STATE PRIORITY
(2) The eligible entity has a law or policy that requires that per pupil revenues are shared between LEAs to reflect split student enrollment in two or more part-time educational programs operated or authorized by different LEAs.
(3) The eligible entity allows public school funding for students under the age of 25
IX. NATIONAL ACTIVITIES
(1) No more than 5 percent of funding shall be reserved for federal activities.
(2) The Secretary shall establish and consult with an interagency working group that shall—
(a) address inter- and intra-agency program coordination issues at the Federal level with respect to school dropout prevention and reengagement;
(b) assess the targeting of existing Federal services to students who are most at risk of dropping out of school, and the cost-effectiveness of various programs and approaches used to address school dropout prevention and reengagement;
(c) make available information regarding effective programs and strategies that State educational agencies and local educational agencies can implement to address school dropout prevention and reengagement using funds from a variety of Federal programs, including the programs under this part;
(d) examine Federal programs that may have a positive impact on secondary school graduation or school reengagement; and recommend and implement ways to coordinate and integrate Federal funding streams to more effectively prevent students from dropping out of school, and to facilitate school reengagement and credit recovery that are based on demonstrated effective practices.