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Improving America's Schools Act of 1994

The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-382, became law on October 20, 1994. It's a huge law that, among other things, appropriated funding for the Fund for the Improvement of Education and specified uses for those funds. This portion is reproduced below, and includes “activities to promote metric education.”

Note, however, that this law appropriated funds only through fiscal year 1999. The fund still exists, in the sense that it hasn't been repealed, and subsequent bills were introduced to continue funding — including, for example, H.R.4564 in the 106th Congress on May 25, 2000 and H.R.1614 in the 107th Congress on April 26, 2001 — but so far none have passed.

Text of the law

For the numerically inclined: Title I of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. In the revised text of the latter Act, Title X, Part A, Section 10101 defines the Fund for the Improvement of Education, which is reproduced here. It's been moved around in the U.S. Code over the years, but at present it's codified as 20 USC 8001.

The metric system-related item is 10101(b)(1)(K), highlighted in yellow.

SEC. 10101. FUND FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF EDUCATION.

(a) FUND AUTHORIZED- From funds appropriated under subsection (d), the Secretary is authorized to support nationally significant programs and projects to improve the quality of education, assist all students to meet challenging State content standards and challenging State student performance standards, and contribute to achievement of the National Education Goals. The Secretary is authorized to carry out such programs and projects directly or through grants to, or contracts with, State and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions.

(b) USES OF FUNDS-

(1) IN GENERAL- Funds under this section may be used for—

(A) activities that will promote systemic education reform at the State and local levels, such as—

(i) research and development related to challenging State content and challenging State student performance standards and opportunity-to-learn standards or strategies for student learning [struck in a 1996 amendment];

(ii) the development and evaluation of model strategies for—

(I) assessment of student learning;

(II) professional development for teachers and administrators;

(III) parent and community involvement; and

(IV) other aspects of systemic reform;

(iii) developing and evaluating strategies for eliminating ability-grouping practices, and developing policies and programs that place all students on a college-preparatory path of study, particularly in academic fields such as mathematics, science, English, and social studies, including comprehensive inservice programs for teachers and pupil services personnel and academic enrichment programs that supplement regular courses for students;

(iv) developing and evaluating programs that directly involve parents and family members in the academic progress of their children;

(v) developing and evaluating strategies for integrating instruction and assessment such that teachers and administrators can focus on what students should know and be able to do at particular grade levels, which instruction shall promote the synthesis of knowledge, encourage the development of problem-solving skills drawing on a vast range of disciplines, and promote the development of higher order thinking by all students; and

(vi) developing and evaluating strategies for supporting professional development for teachers across all disciplines and for pupil services personnel, guidance counselors, and administrators, including inservice training that improves the skills of pupil services personnel, counselors and administrators for working with students from diverse populations;

(B) demonstrations at the State and local levels that are designed to yield nationally significant results, including approaches to public school choice and school-based decisionmaking;

(C) joint activities with other agencies to assist the effort to achieve the National Education Goals, including activities related to improving the transition from preschool to school and from school to work, as well as activities related to the integration of education and health and social services;

(D) activities to promote and evaluate counseling and mentoring for students, including intergenerational mentoring;

(E) activities to promote and evaluate coordinated pupil services programs;

(F) activities to promote comprehensive health education;

(G) activities to promote environmental education;

(H) activities to promote consumer, economic, and personal finance education, such as saving, investing, and entrepreneurial education;

(I) activities to promote programs to assist students to demonstrate competence in foreign languages;

(J) studies and evaluation of various education reform strategies and innovations being pursued by the Federal Government, States, and local educational agencies;

(K) activities to promote metric education;

(L) the identification and recognition of exemplary schools and programs, such as Blue Ribbon Schools;

(M) programs designed to promote gender equity in education by evaluating and eliminating gender bias in instruction and educational materials, identifying, and analyzing gender inequities in educational practices, and implementing and evaluating educational policies and practices designed to achieve gender equity;

(N) programs designed to reduce excessive student mobility, retain students who move within a school district at the same school, educate parents about the effect of mobility on a child's education and encourage parents to participate in school activities;

(O) experiential-based learning, such as service-learning;

(P) the development and expansion of public-private partnership programs which extend the learning experience, via computers, beyond the classroom environment into student homes through such programs as the Buddy System Computer Project;

(Q) other programs and projects that meet the purposes of this section;

(R) activities to promote child abuse education and prevention programs;

(S) activities to raise standards and expectations for academic achievement among all students, especially disadvantaged students traditionally underserved in schools;

(T) activities to provide the academic support, enrichment and motivation to enable all students to reach such standards;

(U) demonstrations relating to the planning and evaluations of the effectiveness of projects under which local educational agencies or schools contract with private management organizations to reform a school or schools;

(V) demonstrations that are designed to test whether prenatal and counseling provided to pregnant students may have a positive effect on pregnancy outcomes, with such education and counseling emphasizing the importance of prenatal care, the value of sound diet and nutrition habits, and the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse on fetal development;

(W) programs under section 10102;

(X) programs under section 10103;

(Y) programs under section 10104; and

(Z) programs under section 10105;

(2) ADDITIONAL USES- The Secretary may also use funds under this section to complete the project periods for direct grants or contracts awarded under the provisions of this Act, the Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching Act, or title III of the Education for Economic Security Act, as such Acts were in effect on the day preceding the date of the enactment of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994.

(3) SPECIAL RULE- The Secretary shall not make available more than $1,000,000 to carry out paragraph (1)(R), nor more than $1,000,000 to carry out paragraph (1)(V) during the period beginning on October 1, 1994, through September 30, 1999.

(c) AWARDS-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may—

(A) make awards under this section on the basis of competitions announced by the Secretary; and

(B) support meritorious unsolicited proposals.

(2) SPECIAL RULE- The Secretary shall ensure that programs, projects, and activities supported under this section are designed so that the effectiveness of such programs, projects, and activities is readily ascertainable.

(3) PEER REVIEW- The Secretary shall use a peer review process in reviewing applications for assistance under this section and may use funds appropriated under subsection (d) for the cost of such peer review.

(d) AUTHORIZATION- For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated $50,000,000 for fiscal year 1995 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the four succeeding fiscal years.

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Updated: 2003-02-22