FR Doc 06-4616
[Federal Register: May 19, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 97)]
[Notices]               
[Page 29227-29229]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr19my06-112]                         


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Part III





Department of Education





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Foreign Language Assistance Program--Notice of Final Priority and 
Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year 2006; 
Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Foreign Language Assistance Program--Local Educational Agencies

AGENCY: Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, 
and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director for English 
Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement 
for Limited English Proficient Students, announces a priority under the 
Foreign Language Assistance program. We may use this priority for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2006 and later years. We take this 
action to focus Federal financial assistance on an identified national 
need for programs in critical foreign languages within kindergarten 
through grade twelve during the traditional school day. We intend this 
priority to enable the Department to award grants that increase the 
number of local educational agency programs implementing elementary and 
secondary school projects teaching languages of major economic and 
political importance.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority is effective June 19, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rebecca Richey, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 10080, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-6510. Telephone: (202) 245-7133 or via Internet: 
rebecca.richey@ed.gov.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Through this program, the Department intends 
to fund elementary and secondary school projects teaching critical 
languages within kindergarten through grade twelve during the 
traditional school day. The purpose of the program is to provide grants 
to local educational agencies for innovative model programs providing 
for the establishment, improvement, or expansion of foreign language 
study for elementary and secondary school students.
    We published a notice of proposed priority for this program in the 
Federal Register on February 28, 2006 (71 FR 10023). There are no 
differences between the notice of proposed priority and this notice of 
final priority.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed priority, 
more than 75 parties submitted comments on the proposed priority. An 
analysis of the comments follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes--and 
suggested changes that we are not authorized to make under the 
applicable statutory authority.
    Comment: Sixty-two commenters suggested that emphasizing support 
for specific critical languages, to the exclusion of other languages, 
would be detrimental to foreign language instruction in traditional 
languages or other less commonly taught languages not specified in the 
priority.
    Discussion: Depending on how we apply this priority and any other 
priorities we fund in a particular competition, this priority for 
projects teaching critical languages would not necessarily preclude 
applicants from proposing projects providing instruction in other 
foreign languages when applying for a grant. Establishing this priority 
simply allows the Secretary to use this priority in a competition in a 
given year and as necessary to meet the goals and needs of this 
program.
    Change: None.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that the proposed priority for 
critical languages include a preference for projects that begin as 
early as kindergarten in order to promote sequential study of the 
foreign language.
    Discussion: The Foreign Language Assistance Act of 2001, which 
authorizes this program, provides for the Department to give a special 
consideration to projects that promote the sequential study of a 
foreign language for students beginning in elementary schools.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the priority exempt rural 
areas because the commenter did not believe that rural areas have 
adequate resources to implement critical language instruction.
    Discussion: The program provides an opportunity for local 
educational agencies to develop programs in schools, including schools 
in rural areas. We believe that LEAs in both urban and rural areas 
should have an opportunity to receive funding. Whether an applicant has 
sufficient resources will be addressed through selection criteria and 
peer review of the proposals submitted under any competition.
    Change: None.
    Comment: Seven commenters suggested that it would be difficult for 
many districts to implement programs that address critical languages 
because there are not enough teachers who are qualified to teach 
critical languages.
    Discussion: Under the Foreign Language Assistance Program, a 
grantee may use funds to build its capacity to provide foreign language 
instruction, including increasing the number of teachers qualified to 
teach in a foreign language. For example, funds may be used to recruit 
foreign language teachers, to provide professional development to 
teachers, and to collaborate with institutions of higher education to 
increase the number of highly qualified foreign language teachers. In 
addition, the statute provides for the Department to give special 
consideration for projects proposing summer professional development 
foreign language programs; this should serve as a further incentive for 
applicants to include professional development activities in their 
proposals.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that it would be helpful if 
required matching costs were reduced for grantees that addressed the 
critical languages priority.
    Discussion: Under the Foreign Language Assistance Act of 2001, a 
local educational agency that does not have the fiscal resources to 
match Federal Foreign Language Assistance Program funds may request a 
waiver of part, or all, of the matching cost requirement. No change to 
the language in the priority is necessary.
    Change: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive

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preference priority over an application of comparable merit that does 
not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Priority

Critical Need Languages

    This priority supports projects that establish, improve or expand 
foreign language learning primarily during the traditional school day, 
within grade kindergarten through grade 12 that exclusively teach one 
or more of the following less commonly taught languages: Arabic, 
Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and languages in the Indic, 
Iranian, and Turkic language families.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of final priority has been reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed 
the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the notice of final priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of final priority, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    We summarized the costs and benefits in the notice of proposed 
priority.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html
.



(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.293B Foreign 
Language Assistance Program--Local Educational Agencies)

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 7259a-7259b.

    Dated: May 12, 2006.
Kathleen Leos,
Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director for English Language 
Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited 
English Proficient Students.
[FR Doc. 06-4616 Filed 5-18-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P