(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on April 25, 2016. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act or the SOAR Reauthorization Act
(Sec. 2) This bill repeals the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program School Certification Requirements Act, as contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.
(Sec. 3) The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) is amended to limit its focus to students in the lowest-performing Washington, DC, elementary and secondary schools.
(Sec. 4) The Department of Education (ED) shall not limit the number of eligible students receiving Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) scholarships, or prevent otherwise eligible students from participating in the OSP because of:
(Sec. 5) An eligible nonprofit organization's application for an OSP grant must include how it will ensure:
(Sec. 6) Priorities for the award of scholarships are modified to give priority to:
(Sec. 7) OSP-participating schools must:
Participating private schools must be provisionally or fully accredited or in the process of seeking accreditation.
ED must make OSP funds available to eligible entities receiving a grant for administrative expenses and parental education and assistance.
Previously unobligated OSP funds must be used for additional scholarships (95%) and administrative expenses (5%).
(Sec. 8) The bill revises current OSP evaluation procedures.
ED shall ensure that evaluation of the OSP is conducted using an acceptable quasi-experimental research design for determining the effectiveness of the opportunity scholarship program under this division that does not use a control study group consisting of students who applied for but did not receive opportunity scholarships.
The bill revises the duties of the ED Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) to repeal the requirement for a grade appropriate, nationally norm-referenced standardized test each school year to assess participating eligible students. IES shall instead assess participating eligible students who use an opportunity scholarship in each of grades 3 through 8, as well as one of the high school level grades, by supervising the administration of a specified reading and mathematics assessment used by the DC public schools.
The issues to be assessed shall exclude OSP success in increasing parental involvement of such parents in the education of their children, but include:
The prohibition against any disclosure of personally identifiable information shall be replaced with specified requirements for such a disclosure.
(Sec. 9) The specified authorized OSP funds that ED may withhold for noncompliance with SOAR requirements shall be differentiated based on whether the noncompliance relates to the DC public schools, to the DC public charter schools, or to both.
Funds provided under this Act to support DC public charter schools may be directed to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for transfer to subgrantee public charter schools or networks of such schools, or DC-based non-profit organizations with successful experience with them.
(Sec. 10) ED and the Mayor shall revise a specified memorandum of understanding to ensure that participating schools meet fire code standards and maintain certificates of occupancy.
(Sec. 12) The bill reauthorizes the OSP through FY2021.