[Federal Register: October 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 195)]
[Notices]               
[Page 52214-52228]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09oc09-57]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-2009-OII-0012]
RIN 1855-AA06

 
Investing in Innovation

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 84.396A, 84.396B 
and 84.396C.

AGENCY: Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education (Secretary) proposes priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria under the Investing 
in Innovation Fund. The Secretary may use these priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for competitions of 
the Investing in Innovation Fund for fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later 
years. We intend for the priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria to support the efforts of local educational agencies 
(LEAs) and nonprofit organizations (as defined in this notice) that 
have strong track records of improving student achievement (as defined 
in this notice) to expand their work; identify, document, and share 
best practices; and take successful practices ``to scale.''

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before November 9, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments only 
one time in order to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. In 
addition, please include the Docket ID and the term

[[Page 52215]]

``Investing in Innovation'' at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to 
http://www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information 
on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency 
documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on 
the site under ``How To Use This Site.'' A direct link to the docket 
page is also available at 
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/10/10062009a.html.
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, address them to 
Office of Innovation and Improvement (Attention: Investing in 
Innovation Comments), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW., room 4W321, Washington, DC 20202.
     Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments 
received from members of the public (including those comments submitted 
by mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these 
submissions available for public viewing in their entirety on the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, 
commenters should be careful to include in their comments only 
information that they wish to make publicly available on the Internet.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mia Howerton. Telephone: (202) 205-
0417; or Erin McHugh. Telephone: (202) 401-1304. Or by e-mail: 
i3@ed.gov. Note that we will not accept comments by e-mail.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Invitation To Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria, we urge you to identify clearly the specific 
proposed priority, requirement, definition, or selection criterion your 
comment addresses.
    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 the proposed 
priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. 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 about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also 
inspect the comments in person, in room 4W335, 400 Maryland Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 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 notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The Investing in Innovation Fund, established 
under section 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 (ARRA), provides funding to support (1) LEAs, and (2) nonprofit 
organizations in partnership with (a) one or more LEAs or (b) a 
consortium of schools (as defined in this notice). The purpose of the 
program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of 
improving student achievement, in order to expand the implementation 
of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to 
have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth (as 
defined in this notice) for high-need students (as defined in this 
notice), as well as to promote school readiness, close achievement 
gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates, 
and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.
    These grants will (1) allow eligible entities to expand and develop 
their work so that their work can serve as models of best practices, 
(2) allow eligible entities to work in partnership with the private 
sector and the philanthropic community, and (3) identify and document 
best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on 
demonstrated success.
    Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 
Division A, Section 14007, Public Law No. 111-5.

Background

The Statutory Context

    On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the ARRA 
(Pub. L. 111-5), historic legislation designed to stimulate the 
economy, support job creation, and invest in critical sectors, 
including education. The ARRA lays the foundation for education reform 
by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are most likely 
to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in school and 
LEA capacity for success, and increased productivity and effectiveness.
    The ARRA provides $98.2 billion to the Department for direct 
expenditures on education. Within this amount, $650 million was 
authorized and appropriated for the Investing in Innovation Fund 
(referred to as the ``Innovation Fund'' in the ARRA), for a competitive 
grant program to enable LEAs and nonprofit organizations with a record 
of improving kindergarten-through-grade-12 (K-12) student achievement 
to: expand their work; identify, document, and share best practices; 
and take successful practices to scale.

Education Reform Areas

    One of the overall goals of the ARRA is to improve student 
achievement through school improvement and reform. Within the context 
of the ARRA, the Investing in Innovation Fund focuses on four key 
assurances, or education reform areas, that will help achieve this 
goal: (1) Improvements in teacher effectiveness and ensuring that all 
schools have effective teachers, (2) gathering information to improve 
student learning, teacher performance, and college and career readiness 
through enhanced data systems, (3) progress toward college- and career-
ready standards and rigorous assessments, and (4) improving achievement 
in low-performing schools through intensive support and effective 
interventions.

Overview of the Investing in Innovation Fund

    The Department intends to use the Investing in Innovation Fund to 
support the overarching ARRA goal of improving student achievement by 
aligning four of the priorities proposed in this notice directly with 
the four ARRA reform areas. In this notice we propose four additional 
priorities that are aligned with other Department reform goals in the 
areas of early learning, college access, students with disabilities and 
limited English proficient students, and rural LEAs. Finally, we 
propose to require that all funded projects provide educational or 
other services to support high-need students.
    In this notice, the Department proposes to award three types of 
grants within the Investing in Innovation

[[Page 52216]]

Fund: ``Scale-up'' grants, ``Validation'' grants, and ``Development'' 
grants. We have defined each of these types of grants in the section 
that follows.
    Projects funded under each of the three types of grants would 
provide services to high-need students and would focus on priorities 
directly tied to the reform areas of the ARRA; applicants could also 
choose to meet the additional priority areas. Among the three grant 
types, there would be differences in terms of the evidence that an 
applicant would be required to submit in support of its proposed 
project; the expectations for scaling up successful projects during or 
after the grant period, either directly or through partners; and the 
funding that a successful applicant would receive.
    The intent of these requirements is to ensure that program funds 
are used to expand and take to scale the most promising practices, 
strategies, and programs. We are proposing definitions and criteria 
that would be used to evaluate the available evidence supporting a 
proposed project, in terms of the strength of the research, the 
significance of the effect, and the magnitude of the effect for each 
type of grant. As such, we are particularly interested in receiving 
comments on these proposed definitions and selection criteria, and 
whether, in evaluating the magnitude of the effect, we should specify a 
minimum effect size and, if so, what that effect size should be. We 
also are interested in your comments on how to ensure that projects 
that are innovative and comprehensive in scope or that may show a 
cumulative effect over time are properly considered, given the proposed 
definitions and selection criteria. We are cognizant of the need to 
balance our interest in innovation with the importance of research-
based evidence, and welcome comments on how best to achieve the proper 
balance.
    We also are interested in receiving comments on the criteria we are 
proposing to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a proposed practice, 
strategy, or program. We believe that an important aspect of evaluating 
applications under the Investing in Innovation Fund is assessing the 
extent to which a proposal is feasible and can be brought to scale in a 
cost-effective manner. So that we can judge the cost-effectiveness of a 
proposed project, we propose that applicants provide estimated start-up 
and operating costs per student (including indirect costs) for reaching 
the total number of students proposed to be served by the project, as 
well as for the applicant or others to reach 100,000, 250,000, and 
500,000 students for Development grants and Validation grants; and to 
reach 100,000, 500,000, and 1,000,000 students for Scale-up grants. We 
are interested in your comments on whether there are other methods of 
determining cost-effectiveness that would be more informative or less 
burdensome.
    Following is an overview of the three types of grants we are 
proposing to award:
    1. Scale-up grants would provide funding to scale up practices, 
strategies, or programs for which there is strong evidence (as defined 
in this notice) that the proposed practice, strategy, or program will 
have a statistically significant effect on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates, and that the 
effect of implementing the proposed practice, strategy, or program will 
be substantial and important. We also propose that an applicant for a 
Scale-up grant could demonstrate success through an intermediate 
variable directly correlated with these outcomes, such as teacher or 
school leader effectiveness or improvements in school climate.
    We further propose that an applicant for a Scale-up grant estimate 
the number of students to be reached by the proposed project and 
provide evidence of its capacity to reach the proposed number of 
students during the course of the grant. In addition, we propose that 
an applicant for a Scale-up grant provide evidence of its capacity 
(e.g., in terms of qualified personnel, financial resources, management 
capacity) to scale up to a State, regional, or national level (as 
defined in this notice), working directly or through partners either 
during or following the end of the grant period. We recognize that LEAs 
are not typically responsible for taking to scale their practices, 
strategies, or programs to other LEAs and States. Applicants can and 
should partner with others (e.g., service centers, State educational 
agencies, institutions of higher education) to disseminate and take to 
scale their effective practices, strategies, and programs.
    Successful applicants for Scale-up grants would receive larger 
levels of funding than successful applicants for Validation or 
Development grants.
    2. Validation grants would provide funding to support practices, 
strategies, or programs that show promise, but for which there is 
currently only moderate evidence (as defined in this notice) that the 
proposed practice, strategy, or program will have a statistically 
significant effect on improving student achievement or student growth, 
closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, or increasing high 
school graduation rates, and that with further study, the effect of 
implementing the proposed practice, strategy, or program may prove to 
be substantial and important. Thus, proposals for Validation grants 
would not need to have the same level of research evidence to support 
the proposed project that would be required for Scale-up grants. We 
also propose that applicants could demonstrate success through an 
intermediate variable directly correlated with these outcomes, such as 
teacher or school leader effectiveness or improvements in school 
climate.
    An applicant for a Validation grant would have to estimate the 
number of students to be reached by the proposed project and provide 
evidence of its capacity to reach the proposed number of students 
during the course of the grant. In addition, we propose that an 
applicant for a Validation grant provide evidence of its capacity 
(e.g., in terms of qualified personnel, financial resources, management 
capacity) to scale up to a State or regional level, working directly or 
through partners either during or following the end of the grant 
period. As noted earlier, we recognize that LEAs are not typically 
responsible for taking to scale their practices, strategies, or 
programs to other LEAs and States. Applicants can and should partner 
with others to disseminate and take to scale their effective practices, 
strategies, and programs.
    Successful applicants for Validation grants would receive more 
funding than successful applicants for Development grants.
    3. Development grants would provide funding to support new, high-
potential, and relatively untested practices, strategies, or programs 
whose efficacy should be systematically studied. An applicant would 
have to provide evidence that the proposed practice, strategy, or 
program, or one similar to it, has been attempted previously, albeit on 
a limited scale or in a limited setting, and yielded promising results 
that suggest that more formal and systematic study is warranted. An 
applicant must provide a rationale for the proposed practice, strategy, 
or program that is based on research findings or reasonable hypotheses, 
including related research or theories in education and other sectors. 
Thus, proposals for Development grants would not need to provide the 
same level of evidence to support the proposed project that would be 
required for Validation or Scale-up grants.
    We also propose that an applicant for a Validation grant estimate 
the number of students to be served by the project,

[[Page 52217]]

and provide evidence of its ability to implement and appropriately 
evaluate the proposed project and, if positive results are obtained, 
its capacity (e.g., in terms of qualified personnel, financial 
resources, management capacity) to further develop and bring the 
project to a larger scale directly or through partners either during or 
following the end of the grant period. As noted earlier, we recognize 
that LEAs are not typically responsible for taking to scale their 
practices, strategies, or programs. Applicants can and should partner 
with others to disseminate and take to scale their effective practices, 
strategies, and programs.
    To summarize, in terms of the evidence required to support the 
proposed practice, strategy, or program, the major differences between 
Scale-up, Validation, and Development grants are (see Table 1): (1) The 
strength of the research; (2) the significance of the effect; and (3) 
the magnitude of the effect.

Table 1--Differences Between the Three Types of Investing in Innovation Grants in Terms of the Evidence Required
                             To Support the Proposed Practice, Strategy, or Program
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                                           Scale-up grants         Validation grants        Development grants
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Strength of Research.................  Strong evidence........  Moderate evidence......  Reasonable hypotheses.
Significance of Effect...............  Statistically            Statistically            Warrants further study.
                                        significant.             significant.
Magnitude of Effect..................  Substantial and          Potential to be          Promising.
                                        important.               substantial and
                                                                 important.
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    In addition, the three types of grants differ in terms of the 
expectations to scale up successful projects during or following the 
end of the grant period, either directly or through partners, and the 
level of funding that would be available. (See Table 2).
    It is our intent to make one or more awards for each type of grant 
(Scale-up, Validation, Development), assuming that we receive 
applications for each type of grant that are of sufficient quality. We 
will announce specific funding ranges for each type of grant in the 
notice inviting applications for this program.

Table 2--Differences Between the Three Types of Investing in Innovation Grants in Terms of Expectations To Scale
                                        up and the Funding To Be Provided
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                                           Scale-up grants         Validation grants        Development grants
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scale up.............................  National, Regional, or   Regional or State......  Further develop and
                                        State.                                            scale.
Funding to be provided...............  Highest................  Moderate...............  Modest.
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Proposed Priorities

Types of Priorities

    The Secretary proposes eight priorities for the Investing in 
Innovation Fund. Proposed Priorities 1, 2, 3, and 4 are proposed as 
absolute priorities and are aligned with the four reform areas under 
the ARRA; all applicants must apply under one of these four priorities. 
Proposed Priorities 5, 6, 7, and 8 are proposed as competitive 
preference priorities and are aligned with other key education reform 
goals of the Department. We may apply one or more of the competitive 
preference priorities to one or more of the three types of grants 
(Scale-up, Validation, Development grants).
    We may choose, in the notice of final priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria, to change the designation of any 
of these priorities to absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational priorities, or to include the substance of these 
priorities in the selection criteria.
    Under an absolute priority, as specified by 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we 
would consider only applications that meet the priority. Under a 
competitive preference priority, we would give competitive preference 
to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the 
extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the 
priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). With an invitational priority, we 
would signal our interest in receiving applications that meet the 
priority; however, consistent with 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1), we would not 
give an application that meets an invitational priority preference over 
other applications.

Proposed Absolute Priorities

Proposed Absolute Priority 1--Innovations That Support Effective 
Teachers and School Leaders
    Background. Research indicates that teacher quality is a critical 
contributor to student learning.\1\ Yet we know that there is dramatic 
variation in teacher effectiveness across schools and LEAs, as well as 
inequity in the distribution of effective teachers between high- and 
low-poverty schools. We also know that it is difficult to predict 
teacher effectiveness based on the qualifications that teachers bring 
to the job.\2\ Furthermore, studies show that school leadership is a 
major contributing factor to what students learn at school and that 
strong teachers are more likely to teach in schools with strong 
principals.\3\ Absolute priority 1 is intended to support projects that 
promote practices, strategies, or programs to increase the number and 
percentage of effective teachers and school leaders, or help reduce the 
inequities in the distribution of effective teachers and school 
leaders.

[[Page 52218]]

It is also designed to encourage the use of teacher and school leader 
evaluation systems that are tied to student growth.
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    \1\ See, e.g., Kane, Thomas J., Jonah E. Rockoff, and Douglas O. 
Staiger (2006), ``What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher 
Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City,'' NBER Working Paper No. 
12155; Rivkin, Steven G., Eric A. Hanushek, and John F. Kain (2005), 
``Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement,'' Econometrica, 
73(2), 417-458; Rockoff, Jonah. E. (2004), ``The Impact of 
Individual Teachers on Students' Achievement: Evidence from Panel 
Data,'' American Economic Review 94(2), 247-52; Aaronson, Daniel, 
Lisa Barrow, and William Sander (2003), ``Teacher and Student 
Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools,'' Federal Reserve 
Bank of Chicago Working Paper 2002-28.
    \2\ Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain (2005); Kane, Rockoff, and 
Staiger (2006).
    \3\ Leithwood, Kenneth, Karen Seashore Louis, Stephen Anderson, 
and Kyla Sahlstrom (2004), ``How Leadership Influences Student 
Learning,'' Wallace Foundation Learning from Leadership Project.
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    Statement of the Proposed Absolute Priority. Under proposed 
absolute priority 1, the Department would provide funding to support 
practices, strategies, or programs that increase the number or 
percentages of highly effective teachers and school leaders or reduce 
the number or percentages of ineffective teachers and school leaders, 
especially for high-need students, by identifying, recruiting, 
developing, placing, rewarding, and retaining highly effective teachers 
and school leaders (or removing ineffective teachers and school 
leaders). In such initiatives, teacher or school leader effectiveness 
should be determined by an evaluation system that is rigorous, 
transparent, and fair; performance should be differentiated using 
multiple rating categories of effectiveness; multiple measures of 
teachers' effectiveness should be taken into account, with data on 
student growth as a significant factor; and the measures should be 
designed and developed with teacher involvement.
Proposed Absolute Priority 2--Innovations That Improve the Use of Data
    Background. Section 14005(d)(3) of the ARRA requires States 
receiving State Fiscal Stabilization funds to establish a longitudinal 
data system that includes the elements described in section 6401(e)(2) 
of the America COMPETES Act (20 U.S.C. 9871). Providing student 
achievement or student growth data to teachers and principals, 
including estimates of individual teacher impact on student achievement 
or student growth, is key to driving education reform in general and 
improvements in the classroom, in particular.\4\ This priority is 
designed to increase the availability and use of practices, strategies, 
and programs that provide teachers, principals, administrators, 
families, and other stakeholders with the data they need to inform and 
improve school and classroom instructional practices, decision-making, 
and overall effectiveness.
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    \4\ See, e.g., The Data Quality Campaign at 
http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/using-data-systems/roadmap-for-states.
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    Statement of the Proposed Absolute Priority. Under proposed 
absolute priority 2, the Department would provide funding to support 
strategies, practices, or programs that encourage and facilitate the 
evaluation, analysis, and use of student achievement or student growth 
data by educators, families, and other stakeholders in order to inform 
decision-making; improve student achievement or student growth, and 
teacher, school leader, school, or LEA performance and productivity; or 
enable data aggregation, analysis, and research. Where applicable, 
these data would be disaggregated using the student subgroups described 
in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (economically disadvantaged 
students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant 
students, students with limited English proficiency, students with 
disabilities, student gender).
Proposed Absolute Priority 3--Innovations That Complement the 
Implementation of High Standards and High-Quality Assessments
    Background. A third key ARRA reform area is improving State 
academic content standards and student academic achievement standards 
so that they build toward college and career readiness, and 
implementing high-quality assessments aligned with those standards. In 
order to make the transition to such standards and assessments, States 
will need support in: Developing, acquiring, disseminating, and 
implementing high-quality curricular instructional materials and 
assessments; developing or acquiring and delivering high-quality 
professional development to support the transition to new standards, 
assessments, and instructional materials; and engaging in other 
strategies that align the standards and information from assessments 
with classroom practices that meet the needs of all students, including 
high-need students.
    Statement of the Proposed Absolute Priority. Under proposed 
absolute priority 3, the Department would provide funding for 
practices, strategies, or programs that support States' efforts to 
transition to college- and career-readiness standards and assessments, 
including curricular and instructional practices, strategies, or 
programs in core academic subjects that are aligned with high academic 
content and achievement standards and with high-quality assessments 
based on those standards. Proposals may include practices, strategies, 
or programs that: (a) Increase the success of under-represented student 
populations in academically rigorous courses and programs (such as 
Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses; dual 
enrollment programs; early college high schools; and science, 
technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, especially those that 
incorporate rigorous and relevant project-, inquiry-, or design-based 
contextual learning opportunities); (b) increase the development and 
use of formative assessments or interim assessments, or other 
performance-based tools and metrics that are aligned with student 
content and academic achievement standards; or (c) translate the 
standards and information from assessments into classroom practices 
that meet the needs of all students, including high-need students.
Proposed Absolute Priority 4--Innovations That Turn Around Persistently 
Low-Performing Schools
    Background. Although there are noted examples of successful school 
reform efforts, persistently low-performing schools (as defined in this 
notice) continue to plague this country's system of public education 
and fail to adequately educate our Nation's youth to succeed in a 
global economy. It is imperative that we as a Nation serve our most 
educationally needy schools in order to ensure that all students are 
prepared for the challenges of the global economy.
    Statement of the Proposed Absolute Priority. Under proposed 
absolute priority 4, the Department would provide funding to support 
strategies, practices, or programs that turn around persistently low-
performing schools through either whole-school reform or targeted 
approaches to reform. Applicants addressing this priority must focus on 
either:
    (a) Whole-school reform, such as comprehensive interventions to 
assist, augment, or replace persistently low-performing schools; or
    (b) Targeted approaches to reform, including, but not limited to: 
(1) Providing more time for students to learn core academic content by 
expanding the school day, school week, or the school year, or by 
increasing instructional time for core academic subjects during the day 
and in the summer; (2) integrating student supports to address non-
academic barriers to student achievement; or (3) creating multiple 
pathways for students to earn regular high school diplomas (e.g., 
transfer schools, awarding credit based on demonstrated evidence of 
student competency, offering dual-enrollment options).

Proposed Competitive Preference Priorities

    As stated previously, we are proposing four competitive preference 
priorities that we may choose to apply to one or more of the three 
types of

[[Page 52219]]

grants (Scale-up, Validation, and Development grants).
Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 5--Innovations for Improving 
Early Learning Outcomes
    Background. Research demonstrates the importance of efforts to 
build early language and literacy skills, as well as skills with 
numbers and spatial thinking, as a means of eliminating the differences 
in student achievement or student growth that develop between children 
from low-income families and children from middle-income families 
during their school years.\5\ Investing in early learning programs to 
prevent the development of these gaps in skills can reduce the need for 
more costly and difficult interventions, including referrals to special 
education, later on in a child's life.\6\ In addition, research 
indicates that investments in young children can yield dramatic 
economic benefits over the course of those children's lives in the form 
of reduced incidence of crime and increased employment. This proposed 
competitive preference priority aligns with the Department's efforts to 
increase the quality of existing early learning programs and expand 
access to high-quality early learning programs, particularly for 
children from low-income families.
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    \5\ National Research Council. 1998. Preventing Reading 
Difficulties in Young Children.
    \6\ Schweinhart, L.J. (2002, June). How the HighScope Perry 
Preschool Study Grew: A Researcher's Tale. Phi Delta Kappa Center 
for Evaluation, Development, and Research. (No. 32).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Statement of Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 5. We propose 
to give competitive preference to proposals that include practices, 
strategies, or programs to improve educational outcomes for high-need 
students who are young children (birth through 3rd grade) by enhancing 
the quality of early learning programs. Proposals must focus on (a) 
improving young children's school readiness (including social, 
emotional, and cognitive) so that children are prepared for success in 
core academic subjects; (b) improving and aligning developmental 
milestones and standards with appropriate outcome measures; and (c) 
improving alignment, collaboration, and transitions between early 
learning programs that serve children from birth to age three, in 
preschools, and in kindergarten through third grade.
Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 6--Innovations That Support 
College Access and Success
    Background. One way to help meet the President's goal of restoring 
the United States to first in the world in the percentage of citizens 
holding college degrees is to increase the number of high school 
students with access to college who are prepared to succeed in an 
institution of higher education. Proposed competitive preference 
priority 6 would fund practices, strategies, and programs that prepare 
K-12 students for success in college.
    Statement of Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 6. We propose 
to give competitive preference to proposals for practices, strategies, 
or programs that enable K-12 students, particularly high school 
students, to successfully prepare for, enter, and graduate from a two- 
or four-year college. Proposals must include practices, strategies, or 
programs for K-12 students that address students' preparedness and 
expectations related to college; help students understand issues of 
college affordability and the financial aid and college application 
processes; and provide support to students from peers and knowledgeable 
adults.
Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 7--Innovations To Address the 
Unique Learning Needs of Students With Disabilities and Limited English 
Proficient Students
    Background. One of the primary goals of the ESEA, as well as the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is to improve the 
quality of education for all students, including students with 
disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. In 
particular, the ESEA requires each State and LEA to work toward 
narrowing achievement gaps and demonstrate high levels of progress for 
these two groups of students. However, as evidenced by results on State 
assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, schools often lack 
appropriate and effective strategies to enable a greater share of 
students with disabilities and limited English proficient students to 
meet high standards.
    Statement of Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 7. We propose 
to give competitive preference to proposals that include innovative 
strategies, practices, or programs to address the unique learning needs 
of students with disabilities, or the linguistic and academic needs of 
limited English proficient students. Proposals must focus on particular 
practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to improve 
academic outcomes and increase graduation rates for students with 
disabilities or limited English proficient students.
Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 8--Innovations That Serve 
Schools in Rural LEAs
    Background. Solutions to educational challenges in rural areas 
frequently differ from what works in urban and suburban communities.\7\ 
This proposed competitive preference priority recognizes the need to 
bring education innovation and reform to all regions of the country, 
including rural LEAs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Status of Education in Rural America. (2007). U.S. 
Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Statement of Proposed Competitive Preference Priority 8. We propose 
to give competitive preference to proposals that focus on the unique 
challenges of high-need students in schools within a rural LEA (as 
defined in this notice) and address the particular challenges faced by 
students in these schools. Proposals must include practices, 
strategies, or programs that improve student achievement or student 
growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase high 
school graduation rates, or improve teacher and school leader 
effectiveness in one or more rural LEAs.

Proposed Requirements

Background

    The Investing in Innovation Fund would provide support to LEAs, and 
nonprofit organizations that partner with one or more LEAs or a 
consortium of schools that apply and successfully compete for a Scale-
up, Validation, or Development grant. What follows are the statutory 
and proposed eligibility requirements for LEAs and nonprofit 
organizations.

Proposed Requirements

    The Secretary proposes the following requirements for the Investing 
in Innovation Fund. We may apply these requirements in any year in 
which this program is in effect.
    Providing Innovations that Improve Achievement for High-Need 
Students: All applicants must implement practices, strategies, or 
programs for high-need students (as defined in this notice).
    Eligible applicants: Entities eligible to apply for Investing in 
Innovation Fund grants include: (a) an LEA or (b) a partnership between 
a nonprofit organization and (1) one or more LEAs or (2) a consortium 
of schools.
    Eligibility requirements: \8\ To be eligible for an award, an 
eligible

[[Page 52220]]

applicant must meet several statutory requirements and one additional 
requirement. The requirements in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) that 
follow are statutory; we are including them here for clarity. We are 
requesting comment on the proposed requirement in paragraph (5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ We note that at the time of publication of this notice, the 
pending House and Senate appropriations bills would, if enacted, 
make technical changes to provisions of the authorizing legislation 
for this program. (See 
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp111&sid=cp111LTV8y&refer=&r_n=hr220.111&item=&sel=TOC_1120308&; 
and http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp111&sid=cp111M6VRe&refer=&r_n=sr066.111&item=&sel=TOC_904504&). 
These changes would modify the eligibility requirements 
currently set forth in section 14007(b)(2) and (c) by: (1) Making 
minor alterations to the sections concerning the basis for awards 
and the special eligibility rule, and (2) removing the reference to 
State measurable annual achievement objectives. In addition to these 
minor changes to the eligibility requirements, enactment of the 
proposed legislation would authorize eligible entities that include 
a partnership with a nonprofit organization, to make subgrants 
within the partnership.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To be eligible for an award, an applicant must:
    (1) Have significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups 
of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA (economically 
disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, 
students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities);
    (2) Have exceeded the State's annual measurable objectives 
consistent with section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA for two or more 
consecutive years or have demonstrated success in significantly 
increasing student achievement for all groups of students described in 
that section through another measure, such as measures described in 
section 1111(c)(2) of the ESEA (i.e., the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress);
    (3) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as 
graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality 
teachers and school leaders, as demonstrated with other meaningful 
data;
    (4) Demonstrate that they have established partnerships with the 
private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that 
the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring 
results to scale; and
    (5) In the case of a nonprofit organization, provide in its 
application the names of the LEAs with which it will partner, or the 
names of the schools in the consortium with which it will partner. If a 
nonprofit organization applicant intends to partner with additional 
LEAs or schools that are not named in its application, it must describe 
in its application the demographics and other characteristics of these 
LEAs and schools and the process it will use to select them as 
partners. An applicant must identify its specific partners before a 
grant award will be made.

    Note about LEA Eligibility: To be eligible for an award, an LEA 
applicant must be located within one of the 50 States, the District 
of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


    Note about Eligibility for an Entity that Includes a Nonprofit 
Organization: To be eligible for an award, the statute requires that 
an application submitted by a nonprofit organization, in partnership 
with one or more LEAs or a consortium of schools, be considered to 
have met the eligibility requirements in paragraphs (1), (2), and 
(3) described earlier in this notice, if the nonprofit organization 
has a record of meeting those requirements. We are proposing that a 
nonprofit organization applicant be considered to have met these 
eligibility requirements through its record of work with an LEA. 
Therefore, an applicant that is a nonprofit organization would not 
necessarily need to select as a partner for its Investing in 
Innovation Fund grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets 
the eligibility requirements in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) 
described earlier. Rather, the nonprofit organization would have to 
demonstrate that it has a record of meeting those requirements 
through the assistance it has provided to one or more LEAs in the 
past.

    Funding Categories: An applicant must state in its application 
whether it is applying for a Scale-up, Validation, or Development 
grant. An applicant may not submit an application for the same proposed 
project under more than one type of grant. An applicant will be 
considered for an award only for the type of grant for which it 
applies.
    Cost Sharing or Matching: To be eligible for an award, an applicant 
must demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with 
an entity or organization in the private sector, which may include 
philanthropic organizations, and that the entity or organization in the 
private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring 
project results to scale. An applicant must obtain matching funds or 
in-kind donations equal to at least 20 percent of its grant award. The 
Secretary may consider decreasing the 20 percent matching requirement 
in the most exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis. An 
applicant that anticipates being unable to meet the 20 percent matching 
requirement must include in its application a request to the Secretary 
to reduce the matching level requirement, along with a statement of the 
basis for the request.
    Evaluation: An applicant receiving funds under this program must 
comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted 
by the Department. In addition, an applicant is required to conduct an 
independent evaluation (as defined in this notice) of its proposed 
project and must agree, along with its independent evaluator, to 
cooperate with any technical assistance provided by the Department or 
its contractor. The purpose of this technical assistance would be to 
ensure that the evaluations are of the highest quality and to encourage 
commonality in evaluation approaches across funded projects where it is 
feasible and useful to do so. Finally, an applicant receiving funds 
under this program must make broadly available through formal (e.g., 
peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, and 
in print or electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts 
of its funded activities
    Participation in ``Communities of Practice'': Grantees will be 
required to participate in, organize, or facilitate, as appropriate, 
communities of practice for the Investing in Innovation Fund. A 
community of practice is a group of grantees that agrees to interact 
regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area 
that is important to them. Establishment of communities of practice 
under the Investing in Innovation Fund will enable grantees to meet, 
discuss, and collaborate with each other regarding grantee projects.

Proposed Definitions

Background

    Several important terms associated with the Investing in Innovation 
Fund are not defined in the ARRA.

Proposed Definitions

    The Secretary proposes the following definitions for the Investing 
in Innovation Fund.\9\ We may apply one or more of these definitions in 
any year in which this program is in effect.
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    \9\ In this notice, we use many of the same definitions that 
were in the Race to the Top notice of proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria (see 
http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2009-3/072909d.html). 
The comment period for the Race to the Top program is now closed, 
and we are considering the comments on the definitions, as well as 
other sections of that notice. In the final notice for the Investing 
in Innovation Fund, we will align our definitions, as appropriate, 
with those included in the final notice for the Race to the Top 
program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Definitions Related to Evidence

    Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs 
can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies

[[Page 52221]]

with high internal validity), and studies that in total include enough 
of the range of participants and settings to support scaling up to the 
State, regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external 
validity). The following are examples of strong evidence: (1) More than 
one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study (as defined 
in this notice) or well-designed and well-implemented quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) that supports the 
effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or (2) one large, 
well-designed and well-implemented randomized controlled, multisite 
trial that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or 
program.
    Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose 
designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high 
internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate 
external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate 
internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence: 
(1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental or 
quasi-experimental study supporting the effectiveness of the practice 
strategy, or program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of 
implementation or analysis that limit generalizability; (2) at least 
one well-designed and well-implemented experimental or quasi-
experimental study that does not demonstrate equivalence between the 
intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no 
other major flaws related to internal validity; or (3) correlational 
research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for 
discerning the influence of internal factors.
    Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of 
students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to participate in a project 
being evaluated (treatment group) or not to participate in the project 
(control group). The effect of the project is the difference in 
outcomes between the treatment and control groups.
    Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts 
to approximate an experimental design and can support causal 
conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal validity, such as 
selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-designed quasi-
experimental studies include carefully matched comparison group designs 
(as defined in this notice), interrupted time series designs (as 
defined in this notice), or regression discontinuity designs (as 
defined in this notice).
    Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-
experimental study that attempts to approximate an experimental study. 
More specifically, it is a design in which project participants are 
matched with non-participants based on key characteristics that are 
thought to be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, 
but are not limited to: (1) Prior test scores and other measures of 
academic achievement (preferably, the same measures that the study will 
use to evaluate outcomes for the two groups); (2) demographic 
characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, English proficiency, 
ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational attainment, and single- 
or two-parent family background; (3) the time period in which the two 
groups are studied (e.g., the two groups are children entering 
kindergarten in the same year as opposed to sequential years); and (4) 
methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of reading 
skills administered in the same way to both groups).
    Interrupted time series design means a type of quasi-experimental 
study in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times 
before and after the treatment for program participants only. If the 
program had an impact, the outcomes after treatment will have a 
different slope or level from those before treatment. That is, the 
series should show an ``interruption'' of the prior situation at the 
time when the program was implemented. Adding a nonequivalent control 
group time series, such as schools not participating in the program or 
schools participating in the program in a different geographic area, 
increases the reliability of the findings.
    Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-
experimental study design that closely approximates an experimental 
study. In a regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned 
to a treatment or control group based on a numerical rating or score of 
a variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an 
application for funding. Another example would be assignment of 
eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain 
score (``cut score'') to the treatment group and assignment of those 
below the score to the control group.
    Independent evaluation means that the evaluation is designed and 
carried out independent of, but in coordination with, any employees of 
the entities who develop a practice, strategy, or program and are 
implementing it. This independence helps ensure the objectivity of an 
evaluation and prevents even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

2. Other Definitions

    Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or 
secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying 
for and implementing an Investing in Innovation Fund grant jointly with 
an eligible nonprofit organization.
    Nonprofit organization means an entity that meets the definition of 
``nonprofit'' under 34 CFR 77.1(c), or an institution of higher 
education as defined by section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 
1965, as amended.
    Formative assessment means an assessment that is embedded in 
instruction and is used by teachers to provide timely feedback on 
student understanding and to adjust ongoing teaching and learning 
effectively.
    Interim assessment means an assessment given at regular and 
specified intervals throughout the school year, and is designed to 
evaluate students' knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of 
academic standards, the results of which can be aggregated (e.g., by 
course, grade level, school, or LEA) in order to inform teachers and 
administrators at the student, classroom, school, and LEA levels.
    Highly effective school leader means a principal or other school 
leader whose students, overall and for each subgroup as described in 
section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically 
disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, 
migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited 
English proficiency, student gender), demonstrate high rates (e.g., 
more than one grade level in an academic year) of student growth. 
Applicants may supplement this definition as they see fit so long as 
school leader effectiveness is judged, in significant measure, by 
student growth.
    Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve 
high rates (e.g., more than one grade level in an academic year) of 
student growth. Applicants may supplement this definition as they see 
fit so long as teacher effectiveness is judged, in significant measure, 
by student growth.
    High-need student means a student at risk of educational failure, 
or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as 
students who are living in poverty, who are far below grade level, who 
are over-age and under-credited, who have left school before receiving 
a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a 
regular high school diploma on time,

[[Page 52222]]

who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, 
who have disabilities, or who are limited English proficient.
    Persistently low-performing schools means Title I schools in 
corrective action or restructuring in the State and the secondary 
schools (both middle and high schools) in the State that are equally as 
low-achieving as these Title I schools and are eligible for, but do not 
receive, Title I funds.
    National level, as used in reference to a Scale-up grant, describes 
a project that is able to be effective in a wide variety of communities 
and student populations around the country, including rural and urban 
areas, as well as with different groups of students described in 
section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically 
disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, 
migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited 
English proficiency, student gender).
    Regional level, as used in reference to a Scale-up or Validation 
grant, describes a project that is able to serve a variety of 
communities and student populations within a State or multiple States, 
including rural and urban areas, as well as with different groups of 
students described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., 
economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and 
ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students 
with limited English proficiency, student gender).
    Rural LEA means an LEA that is eligible under the Small Rural 
School Achievement (SRSA) program or the Rural and Low-Income School 
(RLIS) program authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. 
Applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these 
programs by referring to information on the following Department Web 
sites. For the SRSA: http://www.ed.gov/programs/reapsrsa/eligible08/index.html. 
For the RLIS: http://www.ed.gov/programs/reaprlisp/eligibility.html.
    Student achievement means, at a minimum--
    (a) For tested grades and subjects: A student's score on the 
State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA and may also 
include other measures of learning, as appropriate, such as those 
described in paragraph (b) of this definition.
    (b) For non-tested grades and subjects: An alternative academic 
measure of student learning and performance (e.g., performance on 
interim assessments or on other classroom-based assessments; rates at 
which students are on track to graduate from high school; percentage of 
students enrolled and achieving at successful levels in Advanced 
Placement, pre-Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or 
dual-enrollment courses).
    Student growth means the change in student achievement data for an 
individual student between two or more points in time. Growth may be 
measured by a variety of approaches, but any approach used must be 
statistically rigorous and based on student achievement data, and may 
also include other measures of student learning in order to increase 
the construct validity and generalizability of the information.

Proposed Selection Criteria

Background

    The proposed selection criteria are intended to ensure that 
applicants--regardless of grant type--can demonstrate that they have 
the experience and capacity to expand or develop practices, strategies, 
or programs that will have a positive impact on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates.

Proposed Selection Criteria

    The Secretary proposes the following selection criteria for 
evaluating an application under the Investing in Innovation Fund. 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.

 1. Scale-Up Grants

A. Need for the Project and Quality of the Project Design
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the project and quality of 
the design of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the project and quality of the 
design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following 
factors:
    (a) The extent to which the proposed project represents an 
exceptional approach to the priorities the applicant is seeking to meet 
(i.e., addresses a largely unmet need, particularly for high-need 
students, and is a practice, strategy, or program that has not already 
been widely adopted).
    (b) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of 
goals and an explicit strategy (i.e., logic model), with actions that 
are (i) aligned with the priorities the applicant is seeking to meet, 
and (ii) expected to result in achieving the goals, objectives, and 
outcomes of the proposed project.
B. Strength of Research, Significance of Effect, and Magnitude of 
Effect
    (1) The Secretary considers the strength of the existing research 
evidence and the significance of effect in support of the proposed 
project, as well as the magnitude of the effect on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates. Applicants 
may also demonstrate success through an intermediate variable that is 
directly correlated with improving these outcomes, such as teacher or 
school leader effectiveness, or improvements in school climate.
    (2) In determining the strength of the existing research evidence 
and the significance of effect to support the proposed project, as well 
as the magnitude of the effect, the Secretary considers the following 
factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that there is 
strong evidence that the proposed practice, strategy, or program will 
have a statistically significant effect on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates, and that the 
effect will be substantial and important.
    (b) The importance and magnitude of the effect expected to be 
obtained by the proposed project, including the extent to which the 
project will substantially and measurably improve student achievement 
or student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, or 
increase high school graduation rates. The evidence in support of the 
importance and magnitude of the effect would be the research-based 
evidence provided by the applicant to support the proposed project.
C. Experience of the Applicant
    (1) The Secretary considers the experience of the applicant in 
implementing the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the experience of the applicant, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (a) The past performance of the applicant in implementing large, 
complex, and rapidly growing projects.
    (b) The extent to which an applicant provides information and data 
demonstrating that it has (or has supported an LEA in taking actions 
that have)--
    (i) Significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of

[[Page 52223]]

students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA;
    (ii) Exceeded the State's annual measurable objectives consistent 
with section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA for two or more consecutive years 
or demonstrated success in significantly increasing student achievement 
for all groups of students described in that section through another 
measure, such as measures described in section 1111(c)(2) of the ESEA 
(i.e., the National Assessment of Educational Progress); and
    (iii) Made significant improvements in other areas, such as 
graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality 
teachers and school leaders, as demonstrated with other meaningful 
data.
D. Quality of the Project Evaluation
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will include an 
experimental study or, if a well-designed experimental study of the 
project cannot be conducted, the extent to which the methods of 
evaluation will include a well-designed quasi-experimental study.
    (b) The extent to which, for either an experimental study or quasi-
experimental study, the study will be conducted of the practice, 
strategy, or program as implemented at scale.
    (c) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
high-quality implementation data and performance feedback, and permit 
periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.
    (d) The extent to which the evaluation will provide sufficient 
information about the key elements and approach of the project to 
facilitate replication or testing in other settings.
    (e) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes 
sufficient resources to effectively carry out the project evaluation.
    (f) The extent to which the proposed evaluation is rigorous, 
independent, and neither the program developer nor the project 
implementer is evaluating the impact of the project.

    Note:  We encourage applicants to review the following technical 
assistance resources on evaluation: (1) What Works Clearinghouse 
Procedures and Standards Handbook: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1; and (2) IES/NCEE 
Technical Methods papers: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/.

 E. Strategy and Capacity To Scale
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the applicant's strategy 
and capacity to bring the proposed project to scale on a national, 
regional, or State level.
    2. In determining the quality of the strategy and capacity to 
scale, the Secretary considers:
    (a) The number of students to be reached by the proposed project 
and the applicant's capacity to reach the proposed number of students 
during the course of the grant period.
    (b) The applicant's capacity (e.g., in terms of qualified 
personnel, financial resources, management capacity) to bring the 
project to scale on a national, regional, or State level working 
directly, or through partners, either during or following the end of 
the grant period.
    (c) The feasibility of the proposed project to be replicated 
successfully, if positive results are obtained, in a variety of 
settings and with a variety of student populations. Evidence of this 
ability includes the proposed project's demonstrated success in 
multiple settings with different types of students, the availability of 
resources and expertise required for implementing the project with 
fidelity, and the proposed project's evidence of relative ease of use 
or user satisfaction.
    (d) The applicant's estimate of the cost of the proposed project, 
which includes start-up and operating costs per student (including 
indirect costs) for reaching the total number of students proposed to 
be served by the project, as well as for the applicant or others to 
reach 100,000, 500,000, and 1,000,000 students.
    (e) The mechanisms the applicant will use to broadly disseminate 
information on its project to support replication.
F. Sustainability
    1. The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources to continue 
the proposed project after the grant period ends.
    2. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it has the 
resources to operate the project beyond the length of the Scale-up 
grant, including a multi-year financial and operating model and 
accompanying plan; the demonstrated commitment of current and future 
partners; and evidence of broad support from stakeholders (e.g., State 
educational agencies, teachers' unions) critical to the project's long-
term success.
    (b) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project 
purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the LEA, 
schools, or nonprofit organization at the end of the Scale-up grant.
G. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan and 
personnel for the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the management plan and personnel 
for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:
    (a) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks, as well as plans for sustainability and scalability of 
the proposed project.
    (b) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director and key project personnel, especially in 
managing large, complex, and rapidly growing projects.
    (c) The qualifications, including relevant expertise and 
experience, of the project director and key personnel of the 
independent evaluator, especially in designing and conducting large-
scale experimental and quasi-experimental studies of educational 
initiatives.

2. Validation Grants

A. Need for the Project and Quality of the Project Design
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the project and quality of 
the design of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the project and quality of the 
design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following 
factors:
    (a) The extent to which the proposed project represents an 
exceptional approach to the priorities the applicant is seeking to meet 
(i.e., addresses a largely unmet need, particularly for high-need 
students, and is a practice, strategy, or program that has not already 
been widely adopted).
    (b) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of 
goals and an explicit strategy (i.e., logic model), with actions that 
are (1) aligned with the priorities the applicant is seeking to meet, 
and (2) expected to result in achieving the goals, objectives, and 
outcomes of the proposed project.
B. Strength of Research, Significance of Effect, and Magnitude of 
Effect
    (1) The Secretary considers the strength of the existing research 
evidence and the significance of effect in support of the proposed 
project, as

[[Page 52224]]

well as the magnitude of the effect on improving student achievement, 
closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, or increasing high 
school graduation rates. Applicants may also demonstrate success 
through an intermediate variable that is directly correlated with these 
outcomes, such as teacher or school leader effectiveness, or 
improvements in school climate.
    (2) In determining the strength of the existing research evidence 
and the significance of the effect to support the proposed project, as 
well as the magnitude of the effect the Secretary considers the 
following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that there is 
moderate evidence that the proposed practice, strategy, or program will 
have a statistically significant effect on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates and that with 
further study, the effect may prove to be substantial and important.
    (b) The importance and magnitude of the effect expected to be 
obtained by the proposed project, including the likelihood that the 
project will substantially and measurably improve student achievement 
or student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, or 
increase high school graduation rates. The evidence in support of the 
importance and magnitude of the effect would be the research-based 
evidence provided by the applicant to support the proposed project.
C. Experience of the Applicant
    (1) The Secretary considers the experience of the applicant in 
implementing the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the experience of the applicant, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (a) The past performance of the applicant in implementing complex 
projects.
    (b) The extent to which an applicant provides information and data 
demonstrating that it has (or supported an LEA in taking actions that 
have)--
    (i) Significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of 
students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA;
    (ii) Exceeded the State's annual measurable objectives consistent 
with section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA for two or more consecutive years 
or demonstrated success in significantly increasing student achievement 
for all groups of students described in that section through another 
measure, such as measures described in section 1111(c)(2) of the ESEA 
(i.e., the National Assessment of Educational Progress); and
    (iii) Made significant improvements in other areas, such as 
graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality 
teachers and school leaders, as demonstrated with other meaningful 
data.
D. Quality of the Project Evaluation
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will include a 
well-designed experimental or well-designed quasi-experimental study.
    (b) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
high-quality implementation data and performance feedback, and permit 
periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.
    (c) The extent to which the evaluation will provide sufficient 
information about the key elements and approach of the project to 
facilitate replication or testing in other settings.
    (d) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes 
sufficient resources to effectively carry out the project evaluation.
    (e) The extent to which the proposed evaluation is rigorous, 
independent, and neither the program developer nor the project 
implementer is evaluating the impact of the project.

    Note: We encourage applicants to review the following technical 
assistance resources on evaluation: (1) What Works Clearinghouse 
Procedures and Standards Handbook: 
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1; 
and (2) IES/NCES Technical Methods papers: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/.

E. Strategy and Capacity To Scale
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the applicant's strategy 
and capacity to bring the proposed project to scale on a State or 
regional level.
    2. In determining the quality of the strategy and capacity to 
scale, the Secretary considers:
    (a) The number of students proposed to be reached by the proposed 
project and the applicant's capacity to reach the proposed number of 
students during the course of the grant period.
    (b) The applicants capacity (e.g., in terms of qualified personnel, 
financial resources, management capacity) to bring the project to scale 
on a State or regional level (as appropriate, based on the findings of 
the proposed project) working directly, or through partners, either 
during or following the end of the grant period.
    (c) The feasibility of the proposed project to be replicated 
successfully, if positive results are obtained, in a variety of 
settings and with a variety of student populations. Evidence of this 
ability includes the availability of resources and expertise required 
for implementing the project with fidelity, and the proposed project's 
evidence of relative ease of use or user satisfaction.
    (d) The applicant's estimate of the cost of the proposed project, 
which includes start-up and operating costs per student (including 
indirect costs) for reaching the total number of students proposed to 
be served by the project, as well as for the applicant or others to 
reach 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students.
    (e) The mechanisms the applicant will use to broadly disseminate 
information on its project to support further development, expansion, 
or replication.
F. Sustainability
    1. The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources to continue to 
develop the proposed project.
    2. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it has the 
resources, as well as the support of stakeholders (e.g., State 
educational agencies, teachers' unions), to operate the project beyond 
the length of the Validation grant.
    (b) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project 
purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the LEA, 
schools, or nonprofit organization at the end of the Validation grant.
G. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan and 
personnel for the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the management plan and personnel 
for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:
    (a) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks, as well as plans for sustainability and scalability of 
the proposed project.
    (b) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the

[[Page 52225]]

project director and key project personnel, especially in managing 
complex projects.
    (c) The qualifications, including relevant expertise and 
experience, of the project director and key personnel of the 
independent evaluator, especially in designing and conducting 
experimental and quasi-experimental studies of educational initiatives.

3. Development Grants

    We anticipate using a two-tier process to review the applications 
for Development grants. This two-tier review would include a pre-
application process to select applicants that would be invited to 
submit a full application. We anticipate that the pre-application 
process will require an applicant to submit a short summary of its 
proposed project and that we will use some or all of the selection 
criteria that follow to rate the proposed projects, but with a 
particular focus on the need for the project and quality of the project 
design and the strength of research, significance of effect, and 
magnitude of effect in support of the proposed project. Applicants that 
are rated highly in the pre-application phase would be invited to 
submit a full application, from which the awards for Development grants 
would be made.
 A. Need for the Project and Quality of the Project Design
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the project and quality of 
the design of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the project and quality of the 
design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following 
factors:
    (a) The extent to which the proposed project represents an 
exceptional approach to the priorities the applicant is seeking to meet 
(i.e., addresses a largely unmet need, particularly for high-need 
students, and is a practice that has not already been widely adopted).
    (b) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of 
goals and an explicit strategy (i.e., logic model), with the goals, 
objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project clearly 
specified and measurable and linked to the priorities the applicant is 
seeking to meet.
B. Strength of Research, Significance of Effect, and Magnitude of 
Effect
    (1) The Secretary considers the strength of the existing research 
evidence to support the proposed project and the significance of effect 
in support of the proposed project, as well as the magnitude of the 
effect on improving student achievement or student growth, closing 
achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, or increasing high school 
graduation rates. Applicants may also demonstrate success through an 
intermediate variable that is directly correlated with improving these 
outcomes, such as teacher or school leader effectiveness, or 
improvements in school climate.
    (2) In determining the strength of the existing research evidence, 
the significance of effect to support the proposed project, and the 
magnitude of effect, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that there are 
research-based findings or reasonable hypotheses that support the 
proposed project, including related research in education and other 
sectors.
    (b) The extent to which the proposed project has been attempted 
previously, albeit on a limited scale or in a limited setting, with 
promising results that suggest that more formal and systematic study is 
warranted.
    (c) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that, if funded, 
the proposed project likely will have a positive impact, as measured by 
the importance or magnitude of the effect, on improving student 
achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing 
dropout rates, or increasing high school graduation rates.
C. Experience of the Applicant
    (1) The Secretary considers the experience of the applicant in 
implementing the proposed project or a similar project.
    (2) In determining the experience of the applicant, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (a) The past performance of the applicant in implementing projects 
of the size and scope proposed by the applicant.
    (b) The extent to which an applicant provides information and data 
demonstrating that it has (or supported an LEA in taking actions 
that)--
    (i) Significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of 
students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA;
    (ii) Exceeded the State's annual measurable objectives consistent 
with section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA for two or more consecutive years 
or has demonstrated success in significantly increasing student 
achievement for all groups of students described in that section 
through another measure, such as measures described in section 
1111(c)(2) of the ESEA (i.e., the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress); and
    (iii) Made significant improvements in other areas, such as 
graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality 
teachers and school leaders, as demonstrated with other meaningful 
data.
D. Quality of the Project Evaluation
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors.
    (a) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are appropriate 
to the size and scope of the proposed project.
    (b) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
high-quality implementation data and performance feedback, and permit 
periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.
    (c) The extent to which the evaluation will provide sufficient 
information about the key elements and approach of the project to 
facilitate further development, replication, or testing in other 
settings.
    (d) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes 
sufficient resources to effectively carry out the project evaluation.

    Note:  We encourage applicants to review the following technical 
assistance resources on evaluation: (1) What Works Clearinghouse 
Procedures and Standards Handbook: 
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1 
; and (2) IES/NCEE Technical Methods papers: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/.

E. Strategy and Capacity to Further Develop and Scale
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the applicant's strategy 
and capacity to further develop and scale the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the strategy and capacity to 
further develop and scale the proposed project, the Secretary 
considers:
    (a) The number of students proposed to be reached by the proposed 
project and the applicant's capacity to reach the proposed number of 
students during the course of the grant period.
    (b) The applicant's capacity (e.g., in terms of qualified 
personnel, financial resources, management capacity) to further develop 
and scale the proposed practice, strategy, or program, or to work with 
others to ensure that the proposed practice, strategy, or program can 
be further developed and scaled, based on the findings of the proposed 
project.
    (c) The feasibility of the proposed project to be replicated 
successfully, if

[[Page 52226]]

positive results are obtained, in a variety of settings and with a 
variety of student populations. Evidence of this ability includes the 
availability of resources and expertise required for implementing the 
project with fidelity, and the proposed project's evidence of relative 
ease of use or user satisfaction.
    (d) The applicant's estimate of the cost of the proposed project, 
which includes the start-up and operating costs per student (including 
indirect costs) for reaching the total number of students proposed to 
be served by the project as well as for the applicant or others to 
reach 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students.
    (e) The mechanisms the applicant will use to broadly disseminate 
information on its project to support further development or 
replication.
F. Sustainability
    1. The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources to continue to 
develop or expand the proposed practice, strategy, or program after the 
grant period ends.
    2. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (a) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it has the 
resources, as well as the support from stakeholders (e.g., State 
educational agencies, teachers' unions) to operate the project beyond 
the length of the Development grant.
    (b) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project 
purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the LEA, 
schools, or nonprofit organization at the end of the Development grant.
G. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel
    1. The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan and 
personnel for the proposed project.
    2. In determining the quality of the management plan and personnel 
for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:
    (a) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks.
    (b) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director and key project personnel, especially in 
managing projects of the size and scope of the proposed project.
    Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection 
Criteria: We will announce the final priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria after considering responses to this 
notice and other information available to the Department. This notice 
does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, 
requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting 
applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal 
Register.

    Executive Order 12866: Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary 
must determine whether this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, 
therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive Order and 
subject to review by OMB. Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines 
a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely to result in a 
rule that may (1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, 
competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, 
local, or tribal governments, or communities in a material way (also 
referred to as an ``economically significant'' rule); (2) create 
serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or 
planned by another agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impacts 
of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and 
obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy 
issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or 
the principles set forth in the Executive order. Pursuant to the 
Executive order, it has been determined that this regulatory action 
will have an annual effect on the economy of more than $100 million 
because the amount of government transfers provided through the 
Investing in Innovation Fund will exceed that amount. Therefore, this 
action is ``economically significant'' and subject to OMB review under 
section 3(f)(1) of the Executive order.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
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 proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria justify the costs.
    We have determined, also, that this proposed regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.

Need for Federal Regulatory Action

    These proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria are needed to implement the Investing in Innovation Fund. The 
Secretary does not believe that the statute, by itself, provides a 
sufficient level of detail to ensure that the program achieves the 
greatest national impact in promoting educational innovation. The 
authorizing language is very brief and provides only broad parameters 
governing the program. The proposals discussed in this notice would 
provide greater clarity on the types of activities the Department seeks 
to fund, and permit the Department to use selection criteria that are 
closely aligned with the Secretary's priorities.
    In the absence of specific selection criteria for the Investing in 
Innovation Fund, the Department would use the general selection 
criteria in 34 CFR 75.210 of the Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in selecting grant recipients. The Secretary 
does not believe the use of those general criteria would be appropriate 
for the Investing in Innovation Fund grant competition, because they do 
not focus on the educational reform and innovation activities most 
likely to raise student achievement and eliminate persistent 
disparities in achievement across different populations of students.

Regulatory Alternatives Considered

    The Department considered a variety of possible priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria before deciding to 
propose those included in this notice. The proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are those that the 
Secretary believes best capture the purposes of the program while 
clarifying what the Secretary expects the program to accomplish and 
ensuring that program activities are aligned with Departmental 
priorities. The proposals would also provide eligible applicants with 
flexibility in selecting activities to apply to carry out under the 
program. The Secretary believes that the proposals, thus, appropriately 
balance a limited degree of specificity with broad flexibility in 
implementation. We seek

[[Page 52227]]

public comment on whether we have achieved the optimal balance.

Summary of Costs and Benefits

    The Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would not impose significant costs 
on eligible LEAs, nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would 
receive assistance through the Investing in Innovation Fund. The 
Secretary also believes that the benefits of implementing the proposals 
contained in this notice outweigh any associated costs.
    The Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would result in selection of high-
quality applications to implement activities that are most likely to 
have a significant national impact on educational reform and 
improvement. Through the proposals discussed in this notice, the 
Secretary seeks to provide clarity as to the scope of activities he 
expects to support with program funds and the expected burden of work 
involved in preparing an application and implementing a project under 
the program. The pool of possible applicants is very large; during 
school year 2007-08, 9,729 LEAs across the country (about 65 percent of 
all LEAs) made adequate yearly progress. Although not every one of 
those LEAs would necessarily meet all the eligibility requirements, the 
number of LEAs that would meet them is likely to be in the thousands. 
Potential applicants, both LEAs and nonprofit organizations, would need 
to consider carefully the effort that will be required to prepare a 
strong application, their capacity to implement a project successfully, 
and their chances of submitting a successful application.
    The Secretary believes that the costs imposed on applicants by the 
proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
would be limited to paperwork burden related to preparing an 
application and that the benefits of implementing these proposals would 
outweigh any costs incurred by applicants. The costs of carrying out 
activities would be paid for with program funds and with matching funds 
provided by private-sector partners. Thus, the costs of implementation 
would not be a burden for any eligible applicants, including small 
entities. However, under the proposed selection criteria the Secretary 
would assess the extent to which an applicant would be able to sustain 
a project once Federal funding through the Investing in Innovation Fund 
is no longer available. Thus, eligible applicants should propose 
activities that they will be able to sustain without funding from the 
program and, thus, in essence, should include in their project plan the 
specific steps they will take for sustained implementation of the 
proposed project.
    The proposed priorities would provide flexibility on the topics and 
types of grant activities applicants could propose. The proposal for 
the three types of grants--Scale-up, Validation, and Development 
grants--would allow potential applicants to determine which type of 
grant they are best suited to apply for, based on their own priorities, 
resources, and capacity to implement grant activities.

Accounting Statement

    As required by OMB Circular A-4 (available at 
http://www.Whitehouse.gov/omb/Circulars/a004/a-4.pdf), in the following 
table, we have prepared an accounting statement showing the classification 
of the expenditures associated with the provisions of this proposed 
regulatory action. This table provides our best estimate of the Federal 
payments to be made to LEAs and nonprofit organizations under this 
program as a result of this proposed regulatory action. Expenditures 
are classified as transfers to those entities.

  Table--Accounting Statement Classification of Estimated Expenditures
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Category                      Transfers (in millions)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annual Monetized Transfers................  $643.5
From Whom to Whom.........................  Federal Government to LEAs,
                                             nonprofits.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The requirements and selection criteria proposed in this notice 
will require the collection of information that is subject to review by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). It is our plan to offer a comment 
period for the information collection at the time of the notice of 
final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. At 
that time, the Department will submit the information collection to OMB 
for its review and provide the specific burden hours associated with 
each of the requirements and selection criteria for comment. However, 
because it is likely that the information collection will be reviewed 
under emergency OMB processing, the Department encourages the public to 
comment on the estimates we are providing for the burden hours 
associated with the requirements and selection criteria proposed in 
this notice.
    Estimates for Scale-up Grants: We estimate 100 applicants for 
Scale-up grants, and that each applicant would spend approximately 120 
hours of staff time to address the application requirements and 
criteria, prepare the application, and obtain necessary clearances. The 
total number of hours for all Scale-up applicants is an estimated 
12,000 hours (100 applicants times 120 hours equals 12,000 hours).
    Estimates for Validation Grants: We estimate 500 applicants for 
Validation grants, and that each applicant would spend approximately 
120 hours of staff time to address the application requirements and 
criteria, prepare the application, and obtain necessary clearances. The 
total number of hours for all Validation applicants is an estimated 
60,000 hours (500 applicants times 120 hours equals 60,000 hours).
    Estimates for Development Grants: We estimate 2000 pre-applications 
and 100 full applications for Development grants. We estimate that pre-
applicants will spend approximately 60 hours of staff time to address 
the pre-application requirements and criteria, prepare the pre-
application, and obtain all necessary clearances for the pre-
application. We estimate that full applicants will spend approximately 
60 hours of staff time to address the full application requirements and 
criteria, prepare the full application, and obtain all necessary 
clearances for the full application. The total number of hours for all 
Development pre-applicants and full applicants is an estimated 126,000 
hours ((2000 pre-applicants times 60 hours equals 120,000 hours) plus 
(100 full applicants times 60 hours equals 6,000 hours)).
    Total Estimates: Across the three grant types, we estimate the 
average total cost per hour of the LEA and nonprofit organization staff 
who carry out this work to be $25.00 an hour. The total estimated cost 
for all applicants would be $4,950,000 ($25.00 times 198,000 (12,000 + 
60,000 + 126,000) hours equals $4,950,000).

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that this proposed regulatory action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The small entities that this proposed regulatory action will 
affect are small LEAs or nonprofit organizations applying for and 
receiving funds under this program. The Secretary believes that the 
costs imposed on applicants by

[[Page 52228]]

the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria would be limited to paperwork burden related to preparing an 
application and that the benefits of implementing these proposals would 
outweigh any costs incurred by applicants.
    Participation in this program is voluntary. For this reason, the 
proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
would impose no burden on small entities in general. Eligible 
applicants would determine whether to apply for funds, and have the 
opportunity to weigh the requirements for preparing applications, and 
any associated costs, against the likelihood of receiving funding and 
the requirements for implementing projects under the program. Eligible 
applicants most likely would apply only if they determine that the 
likely benefits exceed the costs of preparing an application. The 
likely benefits include the potential receipt of a grant as well as 
other benefits that may accrue to an entity through its development of 
an application, such as the use of that application to spur educational 
reforms and improvements without additional Federal funding.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards defines as 
``small entities'' for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total 
annual revenue below $7,000,000 or, if they are institutions controlled 
by small governmental jurisdictions (that are comprised of cities, 
counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special 
districts), with a population of less than 50,000. The Urban 
Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics reported that of 
203,635 nonprofit organizations that had an educational mission and 
reported revenue to the IRS by July 2009, 200,342 (or about 98 percent) 
had revenues of less than $5 million. In addition, there are 12,484 
LEAs in the country that meet the definition of small entity. However, 
the Secretary believes that only a small number of these entities would 
be interested in applying for funds under this program, thus reducing 
the likelihood that the proposals contained in this notice would have a 
significant economic impact on small entities.
    In addition, the Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria discussed in this 
notice do not impose any additional burden on small entities applying 
for a grant than they would face in the absence of the proposed action. 
That is, the length of the applications those entities would submit in 
the absence of the regulatory action and the time needed to prepare an 
application would likely be the same.
    Further, the proposed action may help small entities determine 
whether they have the interest, need, or capacity to implement 
activities under the program and, thus, prevent small entities that do 
not have such an interest, need, and capacity from absorbing the burden 
of applying.
    This proposed regulatory action would not have a significant 
economic impact on small entities once they receive a grant because 
they would be able to meet the costs of compliance using the funds 
provided under this program and with any matching funds provided by 
private-sector partners.
    The Secretary invites comments from small nonprofit organizations 
and small LEAs as to whether they believe this proposed regulatory 
action would have a significant economic impact on them and, if so, 
requests evidence to support that belief.
    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.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 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.

    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.


    Dated: October 6, 2009.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. E9-24387 Filed 10-8-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P