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FEDERAL EDUCATION BILL TO AID TERRITORY

Dec. 15, 2001 — A bill passed by Congress last week will make available additional federal funding for public education systems on the mainland and the territories.
The "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" includes specific provisions for U.S. territories, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, and "outlying areas," said V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen. Those include:
— The U.S. secretary of education designate an office to coordinate activities as they relate to territories and other insular areas. The coordinator is to be appointed no more than 90 days after the enactment of the bill. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law before Christmas, Christensen said.
— That the U.S. Department of Education reserve ½ of 1 percent of $3 million appropriated under the Rural and Low-income Schools Program for competitive grants for the outlying areas.
— Reserved funds, not to exceed $5 million, for competitive grants for outlying areas under the Small and Local Education Agency.
— Expanded after-school programs, more support for technology programs and reading programs, to include a new pre-kindergarten reading program.
On the national level, Christensen said, the bill is seen by some as one of the most important pieces of domestic policy to emerge from Congress in 2001. The bill, among other things, aims to instill more accountability for students and teachers, offer more flexibility and local control to schools and expanded options for parents.
Locally, Christensen said the bill "represents new dollars that our schools and communities can access to enhance the education of our children."
Another goal of the legislation, Christensen said, is to eliminate the achievement gap between rich and poor students and minorities and non-minorities.
"Timetables for establishing this and qualifications for teachers in their subject areas are also a part of this legislation," she said.

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Dec. 15, 2001 -- A bill passed by Congress last week will make available additional federal funding for public education systems on the mainland and the territories.
The "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" includes specific provisions for U.S. territories, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, and "outlying areas," said V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen. Those include:
-- The U.S. secretary of education designate an office to coordinate activities as they relate to territories and other insular areas. The coordinator is to be appointed no more than 90 days after the enactment of the bill. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law before Christmas, Christensen said.
— That the U.S. Department of Education reserve ½ of 1 percent of $3 million appropriated under the Rural and Low-income Schools Program for competitive grants for the outlying areas.
— Reserved funds, not to exceed $5 million, for competitive grants for outlying areas under the Small and Local Education Agency.
— Expanded after-school programs, more support for technology programs and reading programs, to include a new pre-kindergarten reading program.
On the national level, Christensen said, the bill is seen by some as one of the most important pieces of domestic policy to emerge from Congress in 2001. The bill, among other things, aims to instill more accountability for students and teachers, offer more flexibility and local control to schools and expanded options for parents.
Locally, Christensen said the bill "represents new dollars that our schools and communities can access to enhance the education of our children."
Another goal of the legislation, Christensen said, is to eliminate the achievement gap between rich and poor students and minorities and non-minorities.
"Timetables for establishing this and qualifications for teachers in their subject areas are also a part of this legislation," she said.