The members of the panel shall not receive compensation for the performance of services for the panel, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the panel. Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, the Secretary may accept the voluntary and uncompensated services of members of the panel.
After reviewing the recommendations of the expert panel, the Secretary shall make a grant to, or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with, an organization to conduct independent research that provides a national analysis of the impact of Head Start programs. The Secretary shall ensure that the organization shall have expertise in program evaluation, and research, education, and early childhood programs.
The Secretary shall ensure that the research uses rigorous methodological designs and techniques (based on the recommendations of the expert panel), including longitudinal designs, control groups, nationally recognized standardized measures, and random selection and assignment, as appropriate. The Secretary may provide that the research shall be conducted as a single comprehensive assessment or as a group of coordinated assessments designed to provide, when taken together, a national analysis of the impact of Head Start programs.
The organization shall prepare and submit to the Secretary two interim reports on the research. The first interim report shall describe the design of the research, and the rationale for the design, including a description of how potential sources of variation in impact of Head Start programs have been considered in designing the research. The second interim report shall describe the status of the research and preliminary findings of the research, as appropriate.
For purposes of conducting the study described in subsection (h), activities described in section 9835(l)(5)(A) of this title, and other research and evaluation activities relevant to limited English proficient children and their families, migrant and seasonal farmworker families, and other families from diverse populations served by Head Start programs, the Secretary shall award, on a competitive basis, funds from amounts made available under section 9835(a)(2)(D) of this title to 1 or more organizations with a demonstrated capacity for serving and studying the populations involved.
Not later than 1 year after December 12, 2007, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a notice about how the Secretary plans to implement the activities identified in paragraph (1) and shall provide a period for public comment. To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall consider comments received before implementing any of the activities identified in paragraph (1).
Not later than 18 months after December 12, 2007, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate detailing how the Secretary plans to implement the activities identified in paragraph (1), including the progress made in reaching out to and serving eligible children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and information on States where such children are still underserved.
The Secretary shall, through regulation, ensure the protection of the confidentiality of any personally identifiable data, information, and records collected or maintained by the Secretary, by Head Start agencies that carry out migrant or seasonal Head Start programs, by the State director of Head Start Collaboration, and by the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Collaboration project Director (such regulations shall provide the policies, protections, and rights equivalent to those provided a parent, student, or educational agency or institution under section 1232g of title 20).
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable data, information, or records on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this subsection.
The Secretary shall evaluate the Federal, State, and local preparedness of Head Start programs, including Early Head Start programs, to respond appropriately in the event of a large-scale emergency, such as the hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or other incidents where assistance may be warranted under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).