[Federal Register: October 29, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 210)]
[Page 64310-64311]
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Teaching American History Grant Program

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number 84.215X.
AGENCY: Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed revisions to selection criteria.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement 
proposes to amend the final selection criteria governing the Teaching 
American History Grant Program (TAH) as published in the notice of 
final selection criteria and other application requirements (2005 
Notice) in the Federal Register on April 15, 2005 (70 FR 19939). The 
2005 Notice required the Secretary to use specific selection criteria 
when evaluating grant applications for the TAH program. The changes 
proposed in this notice would allow the Secretary to use an approach 
similar to that in 34 CFR 75.200 for establishing selection criteria in 
grant competitions. That is, the Secretary would have the flexibility 
to use selection criteria (i) established for the TAH program in the 
2005 Notice, (ii) from the menu of general selection criteria in the 
Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 
CFR 75.210, (iii) based on statutory provisions in accordance with 34 
CFR 75.209, or (iv) from any combination of (i) through (iii) for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and in subsequent years.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before November 28, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Mia Howerton, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4W212, 
Washington, DC 20202-5960.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: Mia.Howerton@ed.gov. You must include the term ``Teaching 
American History'' in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mia Howerton. Telephone: (202) 205-
0147 or e-mail: Mia.Howerton@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this regulatory 
action. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments on this notice in room 4W212, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Washington, 
DC, time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this regulatory action. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary 
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
    Purpose of Program: TAH is authorized under Title II, Part C, 
Subpart 4 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as 
amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The goal of the TAH 
program is to support activities that raise student achievement by 
improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of 
American history.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6721-6722.

Proposed Selection Criteria


    The Department's regulations in EDGAR govern, among other things, 
the Department's use of selection criteria to evaluate discretionary 
grant applications. Under Sec.  75.200, the Secretary may use selection 
criteria based on statutory provisions in accordance with 34 CFR 
75.209, selection criteria in program-specific regulations, selection 
criteria established under 34 CFR 75.210, or any combination of these. 
Section 75.210 provides a menu of selection criteria. For a 
competition, the Department selects from the menu one or more criteria 
that best enable us to identify the highest-quality applications 
consistent with the program purpose, statutory requirements, and any 
priorities established. Within each criterion, the Secretary may 
further define the criterion by selecting one or more specific factors.
    The 2005 Notice established specific selection criteria by which 
the Department would evaluate TAH applications (Project Quality, 
Significance, Quality of Project Evaluation, and Quality of Management 
Plan) and other application requirements.
    After using these specific criteria for the last three years, we 
have determined that the Department needs greater flexibility in using 
selection criteria to evaluate TAH program applications. Accordingly, 
we are proposing in this notice that, in addition to the criteria 
established for the TAH program in the 2005 Notice, the Secretary also 
may use selection criteria under Sec.  75.210 and criteria based on the 
program statute under Sec.  75.209, or any combination of these 
criteria for the purpose of evaluating grant applications under the TAH 
program. We believe that by expanding the range of selection criteria 
that could be used in a specific grant competition, we will be able to 
administer the TAH program more

[[Page 64311]]

effectively, better meet the program's statutory purposes and 
requirements, and better ensure that TAH projects are improving teacher 
content knowledge of traditional American history and improving student 
achievement in history.

Proposed Revision to Selection Criteria

    The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement 
proposes that in addition to the selection criteria established in the 
2005 Notice, the Secretary may use any of the selection criteria in 
Sec.  75.210, criteria based on statutory requirements under Sec.  
75.209, or any combination of these when establishing selection 
criteria for a particular TAH competition. We may apply one or more of 
these criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. In the 
notice inviting applications or the application package, or both, we 
will announce the maximum possible points assigned to each criterion.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more selection criteria, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Order 12866

Potential Costs and Benefits

    Under Executive Order 12866, we have assessed the potential costs 
and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined to be necessary for administering this program effectively 
and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this regulatory action, we have determined that the 
benefits would justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action would not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    This proposed regulatory action affects only local educational 
agencies (LEAs) that are applying for assistance under the TAH program. 
This regulatory action would create flexibility for the Department to 
use selection criteria, other than those published in the 2005 Notice, 
for the 2009 TAH grant competition and those in subsequent years. We 
believe that any criterion from 34 CFR 75.209 or 34 CFR 75.210 that 
would be used in a future grant competition would not impose a 
financial burden that LEAs would not otherwise incur in the development 
and submission of a grant application under the TAH program and, under 
some circumstances, could reduce the financial burden of preparing a 
TAH grant application by a modest amount if, for example, the use of 
this flexibility resulted in fewer criteria or factors to be addressed 
in a grant application.
    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.
    Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an alternative format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department 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.
    You may also view this document in text or PDF at the following 
site: http://www.ed.gov/programs/teachinghistory/index.html.

    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/

    Dated: October 24, 2008.
Douglas B. Mesecar,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
[FR Doc. E8-25811 Filed 10-28-08; 8:45 am]