2007.03.23: March 23, 2007: Headlines: National Service: National Service Academy: Thomas: Public Service Academy Act of 2007

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Public Service Academy Act of 2007

Public Service Academy Act of 2007

The purpose of this Act is to establish a United States Public Service Academy that will-- (1) strengthen and protect the United States by providing an annual influx of career-motivated public servants and future leaders into the Nation's public institutions; (2) be the first national civilian institution of higher education in the United States; and (3) provide competitive, federally subsidized, public service-focused undergraduate education to students from across the United States and the world.

Public Service Academy Act of 2007

To establish the United States Public Service Academy.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 23, 2007

Mr. MORAN of Virginia (for himself, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. GONZALEZ, Ms. MATSUI, Mr. ORTIZ, Mr. DOGGETT, Mr. HINOJOSA, Ms. NORTON, Mr. AL GREEN of Texas, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Ms. DEGETTE, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. FARR, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia, Mr. LAMPSON, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, and Mr. LEWIS of Georgia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To establish the United States Public Service Academy.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Public Service Academy Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) National disasters such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina, along with the United States' struggle against international terrorism, have highlighted the importance of public service and the need for the United States to improve its capacity to effectively handle future catastrophes, as well as the daily challenges of life in a global society.

(2) Young people in the United States, particularly after the attacks on September 11, 2001, have a strong ethic of public service. According to the Higher Education Research Institute, more than 2/3 of the 2005 freshman class at institutions of higher education in the United States expressed a desire to serve others, the highest rate in a generation. Applications to private programs such as Teach for America and City Year, publicly funded public service programs within USA Freedom Corps, and religious mission trips have increased dramatically since 2001. Yet with the increase in college tuition causing the average college graduate to owe about $20,000 in student loan debt, many students can afford to pursue public service only for short periods of time, and avoid public service careers in favor of more lucrative fields.

(3) The aging of the population of the United States and the subsequent retirement of the Baby Boomer generation will create serious shortages in critically needed public service positions at all levels of our society, as evidenced by the following:

(A) A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office highlighted `the graying of the Federal work force,' while the Partnership for Public Service warned of a `Federal brain drain' as 44 percent of all Federal workers become eligible to retire in the next 5 years.

(B) The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that more than 2,000,000 teachers will be needed in the next 10 years due to teacher retirement and increased student enrollment. The teacher shortages will particularly affect high-need rural and inner-city local educational agencies.

(C) More than 80 percent of the Nation's 17,000 law enforcement agencies report that they cannot fill needed positions due to a lack of qualified candidates.

(D) In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, personnel shortages were `perhaps [the] most difficult challenge' for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a Congressional report on the Federal Government's response to the disaster.

(E) The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection has struggled to recruit and retain college-educated Border Patrol agents who can speak Spanish and navigate the delicate cross-cultural interactions inherent in the job.

(4) There is a large pool of untapped potential among young women who want to serve our country. Although the military service academies are only 15 percent female, women constitute a majority (57 percent) of college students nationwide. In service organizations, women are an even larger majority: 58 percent of Peace Corps, 61 percent of City Year, and 71 percent of Teach for America participants are women.

(5) College students in the United States lack adequate preparation in fields crucial to public service, including international education and civic education, as evidenced by the following:

(A) According to the bipartisan Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program established under section 104 of division H of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Public Law 108-199; 118 Stat. 435), students of the United States often graduate from college without knowing a foreign language or having any experience abroad. In the past 3 decades, the percentage of undergraduate students of the United States studying a foreign language has dropped from 16 percent to 8.7 percent, and approximately 1 percent of such students participate in a study abroad program.

(B) Young adults of the United States scored next to last in a recent National Geographic/Roper survey of geographic knowledge.

(C) A University of Connecticut survey of 14,000 undergraduate students found a widespread lack of civic literacy, with seniors barely outscoring freshmen on a test of basic multiple choice questions about the history, foreign policy, economics, and government of the United States.

(D) The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment of civic knowledge in grade 12 found that only 25 percent of high school seniors had an `adequate' knowledge of civics and government and 35 percent of high school seniors had little or no knowledge of civics and government.

(6) The United States does not have a national undergraduate institution to promote public service and develop well-trained, highly qualified civilian leaders.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a United States Public Service Academy that will--

(1) strengthen and protect the United States by providing an annual influx of career-motivated public servants and future leaders into the Nation's public institutions;

(2) be the first national civilian institution of higher education in the United States; and

(3) provide competitive, federally subsidized, public service-focused undergraduate education to students from across the United States and the world.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) PUBLIC SERVICE- The term `public service' means employment with, or work for, a public entity that is funded primarily by the Federal Government or by a State or local government.

(2) STATE- The term `State' means each of the several States of the United States and the District of Columbia.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT.

(a) Establishment- There is established in the Department of Homeland Security, a United States Public Service Academy (referred to in this Act as the `Academy'), at the location to be determined by an Act of Congress, for the instruction in and preparation for public service of selected individuals, who shall be called Academy students.

(b) Organization- The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security shall prescribe the organization of the Academy, in accordance with the requirements of this section.

(c) Key Positions- There shall be at the Academy the following:

(1) A Superintendent.

(2) A Dean of the Academic Board, who is a permanent professor.

(3) A Director of Admissions.

(4) A Director of Placement.

(d) Superintendent-

(1) APPOINTMENT- The President shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint the Superintendent of the Academy, who shall serve for a 6-year term.

(2) DUTIES- The Superintendent shall be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Academy and the welfare of the students, faculty, and staff of the Academy.

(e) Dean of the Academic Board-

(1) APPOINTMENT- The Superintendent shall appoint the Dean of the Academic Board as an additional permanent professor from the permanent professors who have served as heads of departments of instruction at the Academy, except that for the first year of the Academy the Superintendent shall appoint the Dean of the Academic Board from qualified applicants.

(2) DUTIES- The Dean of the Academic Board shall perform such duties as the Superintendent may, upon approval of the Board of Visitors, prescribe.

SEC. 6. FACULTY AND DEPARTMENTS.

(a) Number of Faculty- The Superintendent of the Academy may employ as many professors, instructors, and lecturers at the Academy as the Superintendent considers necessary to achieve academic excellence.

(b) Faculty Compensation- The Superintendent may prescribe the compensation of persons employed under this section. Compensation and benefits for faculty members of the Academy shall be sufficiently competitive to achieve academic excellence, as determined by the Superintendent.

(c) Faculty Expectations- Faculty members shall--

(1) possess academic expertise and teaching prowess;

(2) exemplify high standards of conduct and performance;

(3) be expected to participate in the full spectrum of academy programs, including providing leadership for the curricular and extracurricular activities of students;

(4) comply with the standards of conduct and performance established by the Superintendent; and

(5) participate actively in the development of the students through the enforcement of standards of behavior and conduct, to be established in the Academy's rules and regulations.

(d) Department Titles- The Superintendent may prescribe the titles of each of the departments of instruction and the faculty of the Academy.

SEC. 7. STUDENT QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION.

(a) Student Qualifications- A student wishing to be admitted to the Academy shall--

(1) be 17 years of age or older;

(2) be unmarried; and

(3) have no dependents, as defined in section 152(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(b) Admission Requirements- A student wishing to be admitted to the Academy shall fulfill the following requirements:

(1) Earn a secondary school diploma.

(2) Take the SAT or ACT or an equivalent college-level aptitude test.

(3) Sit for a personal interview with a representative of the Academy.

(4) Any further admissions requirements, as determined by the Director of Admissions.

(c) Honor Code- A student wishing to be admitted to the Academy shall sign an honor code developed by the Superintendent of the Academy and approved by the Board of Visitors. A violation of the honor code may constitute a basis for dismissal from the Academy.

SEC. 8. APPOINTMENT OF STUDENTS.

(a) Nomination Process- Prospective applicants to the Academy for seats described in paragraphs (1) and (3) of subsection (b) shall follow a nomination process established by the Director of Admissions of the Academy that is similar to the process used for admission to the military academies of the United States Armed Forces.

(b) Appointments-

(1) NOMINEES FOR CONGRESSIONAL SEATS-

(A) NUMBER OF SEATS- For each incoming first-year class at the Academy, the Director of Admissions shall reserve a number of congressional seats in such class that is twice the number of electoral votes for all States, except that such number of seats may be reduced if the Superintendent of the Academy determines that a smaller class size is necessary in order to gradually build the Academy to its full capacity.

(B) NOMINEES REQUIRED PER EACH SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE- Each member of the Senate or the House of Representatives shall nominate a minimum of 5 candidates from the State that the member represents for each incoming first-year class of the Academy.

(C) COMPETITION- In selecting students for the congressional seats in a first-year incoming class, the Director of Admissions shall--

(i) proportionally allocate the congressional seats reserved under subparagraph (A) among the States based on the number of electoral votes of each State; and

(ii) for each congressional seat allocated to a State, select a candidate that has been nominated by a member of Congress from the State under subparagraph (B).

(2) INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS-

(A) SEATS- The Director of Admissions shall reserve, from the total number of seats in each incoming first-year class of the Academy, not less than 5 percent of such total for international students.

(B) TUITION; AGREEMENT- In order for an international student to attend the Academy, the student's home country shall--

(i) be responsible for subsidizing the student's tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses at the Academy; and

(ii) enter into an agreement described in section 10(b) with the student.

(3) EXECUTIVE BRANCH NOMINEES-

(A) SEATS- The Director of Admissions shall reserve in each incoming first-year class of the Academy not more than 25 seats for executive branch nominees.

(B) NOMINEES- The President shall nominate a minimum of 75 candidates to compete for the executive branch seats.

(4) OTHER NOMINEES- The Director of Admissions shall reserve in each incoming first-year class of the Academy not more than 75 seats for at-large selections from the remaining pool of congressional nominees described in paragraph (1)(B).

SEC. 9. ACADEMIC FOCUS OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC SERVICE ACADEMY.

(a) Curriculum; Leadership-

(1) CURRICULUM- Each Academy student shall follow a structured curriculum that emphasizes--

(A) the leadership development system described under paragraph (2); and

(B) public service.

(2) LEADERSHIP- The leadership development system required under paragraph (1) shall be a system that is designed to motivate Academy students to seek leadership responsibilities upon graduation and enable Academy students to think clearly, decide wisely, and act decisively under pressure and in a variety of leadership situations. Such system shall include concurrent and relevant coursework to create an interplay between learning the science of leadership in the classroom and learning the art of leadership outside the classroom.

(b) Degree-

(1) DEGREE CONFERRED UPON GRADUATION- Under such conditions as the Board of Visitors may prescribe, the Superintendent of the Academy may confer a baccalaureate of science or baccalaureate of arts degree upon a graduate of the Academy.

(2) MAJORS- Each Academy student shall pursue a program of study for a baccalaureate of sciences or a baccalaureate of arts degree in traditional liberal arts subjects.

(c) Breadth of Required Subject Areas Studied- Each Academy student shall take courses in a broad array of subject areas as part of the student's program of study.

(d) Public Service Concentration- Not later than the completion of the fourth semester at the Academy, each Academy student shall choose a public service concentration, which shall be the field in which the student ultimately will serve upon graduation.

(e) Public Service Requirements Before Graduation-

(1) PUBLIC SERVICE PROGRAMMING- Each Academy student shall participate in regular programming related to public service, as determined by the Dean of the Academic Board.

(2) PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECT- Each Academy student shall plan and implement a 1-year public service project during the student's final year at the Academy.

(f) Study Abroad Requirements-

(1) IN GENERAL- Each Academy student shall spend not less than 6 weeks engaged in a study abroad program approved by the Dean of the Academic Board.

(2) CLASSES IN PREPARATION FOR STUDY ABROAD- In preparation for the study abroad program, each Academy student shall take courses in foreign languages and international relations.

(g) Summer Learning Program Requirements- For each year of attendance at the Academy, each Academy student shall spend an 8-week period during the summer participating in a structured learning program established by the Superintendent and the Dean of the Academic Board.

SEC. 10. PUBLIC SERVICE REQUIREMENTS FOLLOWING GRADUATION.

(a) Public Service Agreement- Each Academy student from the United States shall sign an agreement with respect to the student's length of public service to the United States. The agreement shall provide that the student agrees to the following:

(1) The student will complete the course of instruction at the Academy, culminating in graduation from the Academy.

(2) Unless the student pursues graduate education under subsection (h), upon graduation from the Academy, the student--

(A) will accept a public service assignment under subsection (g), if tendered, at the assigned location; and

(B) will serve in the public service assignment for not less than the 5 years immediately following the first day of the assignment.

(b) International Student Agreement- Each international Academy student who was selected for the Academy under section 8(b)(2) shall sign an agreement with the student's home country regarding employment in the national or local government of such country that meets the same conditions set forth in subsection (a).

(c) Failure to Graduate- An Academy student who has completed a minimum of 4 semesters at the Academy but fails to fulfill the Academy's requirements for graduation within 4 years shall be--

(1) dishonorably discharged from the Academy; and

(2) obligated to repay the Academy for the costs of the student's education incurred during each semester that the student was enrolled in the Academy.

(d) Failure to Accept or Complete Assigned Public Service-

(1) IN GENERAL- A delinquent graduate shall be--

(A) designated a dishonorable graduate of the Academy; and

(B) obligated to repay the Academy for the costs of the delinquent graduate's education (including the costs of any graduate education paid for under this Act), except that the amount of financial responsibility under this subparagraph shall be reduced by 10 percent for each year of public service under subsection (a)(2) completed by the delinquent graduate.

(2) DEFINITION OF DELINQUENT GRADUATE- In this subsection, the term `delinquent graduate' means a graduate of the Academy who violates the agreement entered into under subsection (a) by--

(A) not accepting the graduate's public service assignment upon graduation from the Academy; or

(B) not completing the required years of public service in the assignment due to--

(i) voluntarily quitting the assignment; or

(ii) being fired from the assignment.

(e) Exceptions- The Superintendent may provide for the partial or total waiver or suspension of any public service or payment obligation by an individual under this section whenever compliance by the individual with the obligation is impossible or deemed to involve extreme hardship to the individual, or if enforcement of such obligation with respect to the individual would be unconscionable.

(f) Student Salaries and Benefits- The Academy shall not be responsible for the salaries and benefits of graduates of the Academy while the graduates are fulfilling the public service assignment under this section. All salaries and benefits shall be paid by the employer with whom the Academy graduate is placed.

(g) Determining Student Public Service Assignments-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Superintendent, acting through the Director of Placement, shall place each graduating student in a public service assignment, which shall consist of--

(A) civil service employment at the Federal, State, or local level; or

(B) civilian service in the United States Armed Forces.

(2) FACTORS- In making an assignment under paragraph (1), the Director of Placement shall assess the following factors:

(A) National security needs.

(B) State and local community needs.

(C) The student's experience.

(D) The student's academic performance.

(3) REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF STUDENT ASSIGNMENTS- The Superintendent shall review and approve each graduating Academy student's public service assignment.

(h) Graduate Education- An Academy student and the Superintendent may modify the agreement under subsection (a) to provide that--

(1) the Academy shall--

(A) subsidize an Academy student's graduate education at a public institution; and

(B) postpone the public service assignment required under subsection (a)(2); and

(2) the student shall--

(A) accept a public service assignment under subsection (g) upon the student's completion of the graduate program; and

(B) add 2 additional years to the student's public service commitment required under the agreement described in subsection (a) for every year of subsidized graduate education.

SEC. 11. REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT.

(a) Board of Visitors-

(1) ESTABLISHMENT- There shall be established a Board of Visitors for the Academy (referred to in this Act as the `Board of Visitors') to oversee the Academy and to inquire into the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of the Academy.

(2) MEMBERSHIP- The Board of Visitors shall consist of not more than 15 members, including the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The remaining members of the Board of Visitors shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(3) VISITS; REPORTS-

(A) ANNUAL VISITS- In order to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the Academy, the Board of Visitors shall annually visit the Academy. A majority of the members of the Board of Visitors shall be present for such annual visit.

(B) ADDITIONAL VISITS- The Board, or any member of the Board, may visit the Academy in addition to the annual visit described in subparagraph (A) with the approval of the Superintendent.

(C) ANNUAL REPORTS- Not later than 60 days after an annual visit described in subparagraph (A), the Board of Visitors shall prepare and submit an annual report regarding the operations of the Academy to the President and Congress.

(b) Superintendent- Not later than November 30 of each year, using data as of September 30 of such year, the Superintendent shall provide to the President and Congress a report assessing the progress of, and changes at, the Academy in the following areas:

(1) Recruitment and admissions.

(2) Faculty compensation.

(3) Curriculum.

(4) Resources and facilities.

(5) Attrition and graduation.

(6) Public service placement.

SEC. 12. FUNDING THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC SERVICE ACADEMY.

(a) Fully Subsidized Education- Each Academy student's tuition at the Academy shall be fully subsidized.

(b) Public-Private Partnership- The Academy will be a public-private partnership, funded as follows:

(1) PUBLIC FUNDS- Federal funds shall provide not more than 80 percent of the costs of the Academy for a fiscal year.

(2) PRIVATE FUNDS- The non-Federal share of the costs of the Academy for a fiscal year shall be raised by Academy officials, and may be in cash or in kind, including services, supplies, or equipment.

(c) Uses of Funds-

(1) OPENING THE ACADEMY- For each of the first 2 fiscal years for which funds are appropriated under section 14, the Superintendent shall use funds available to carry out this Act, including private funds described in subsection (b)(2), to acquire land, construct facilities, recruit faculty and students, hire employees, and develop curricula in preparation for the opening of the Academy.

(2) CONTINUING OPERATIONS- For each of the 4 subsequent fiscal years following the second fiscal year described in subsection (c) for which funds are appropriated under section 14, the Superintendent shall use funds available to carry out this Act, including private funds described in subsection (b)(2), to fund the Academy as it grows one class at a time into a 4-year institution.

SEC. 13. USE OF CERTAIN GIFTS TO THE ACADEMY.

(a) Gifts Not Exceeding $20,000- Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the Superintendent may accept, hold, administer, invest, and spend any gift, devise, or bequest of personal property of a value of $20,000 or less made to the United States on the condition that such gift, devise, or bequest be used for the benefit of the Academy or any entity thereof. The Superintendent may pay or authorize the payment of all reasonable and necessary expenses in connection with the conveyance or transfer of a gift, devise, or bequest under this section.

(b) Gifts Exceeding $20,000- The Board of Visitors may accept, hold, administer, invest, and spend any gift, devise, or bequest of personal property of a value of more than $20,000 made to the United States on the condition that such gift, devise, or bequest be used for the benefit of the Academy or any entity thereof. The Board of Visitors may pay or authorize the payment of all reasonable and necessary expenses in connection with the conveyance or transfer of a gift, devise, or bequest under this section.

SEC. 14. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $164,000,000 for fiscal year 2008, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.

END




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Story Source: Thomas

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