FR Doc 2011-269[Federal Register: January 10, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 6)]
[Notices]               
[Page 1412-1415]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr10ja11-43]                       

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-2011-OII-0001]

 
Investing in Innovation Fund; 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 revisions to priorities, requirements, and 
selection criteria.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement 
proposes to amend the final priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria under the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) program as 
established in the notice of final priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria (2010 NFP) that was published in 
the Federal Register on March 12, 2010 (75 FR 12004-12071). The 2010 
NFP established specific priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria to be used in evaluating grant applications for the i3 
program. The changes proposed in this notice reflect lessons learned 
from the first i3 competition and would provide the Secretary with 
additional flexibility in using priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria for i3 competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and subsequent 
years.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 9, 2011.

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 ``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/programs/innovation/index.html.
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed revisions to 
priorities, requirements, 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: 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 revisions to the priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria, we urge you to identify clearly 
the specific proposed revisions 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 
revisions to the priorities, requirements, 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

[[Page 1413]]

8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of 
each week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this 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 the Program: The purpose of the i3 program is to provide 
competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student 
achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, 
and investment in, innovative practices that have the required level of 
evidence documenting their impact \1\ on improving student achievement 
or student growth (as defined in the 2010 NFP), closing achievement 
gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation 
rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.
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    \1\ To be eligible for an award, an application for a Scale-up 
grant must be supported by strong evidence (as defined in the 2010 
NFP), an application for a Validation grant must be supported by 
moderate evidence (as defined in the 2010 NFP), and an application 
for a Development grant must be supported by a reasonable 
hypothesis.
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    Under this program, the Department awards three types of grants: 
``Scale-up'' grants, ``Validation'' grants, and ``Development'' grants. 
The use of three categories of grants supports the development of 
promising yet relatively untested ideas as well as the growth and 
``scaling'' of practices that have made demonstrable improvements in 
student achievement and attainment outcomes.

    Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009, Division A, Section 14007, Pub. L. 111-5.
    Summary of Proposed Changes: The changes we are proposing in this 
notice would provide the Secretary the flexibility to select among the 
priorities established in the 2010 NFP for an i3 competition in FY 2011 
and in subsequent fiscal years.
    We are also proposing in this notice to modify two requirements 
that were established in the 2010 NFP: First, the requirement on the 
``Limits on Grant Awards'' to clarify that the limit on the number of 
awards a grantee may receive under this program applies only to a 
single year's competition under the i3 program; and second, the 
requirement on ``Cost Sharing or Matching'' to provide the Secretary 
the flexibility to determine the required amount of private-sector 
matching funds or in-kind donations that an eligible applicant must 
obtain for an i3 competition in FY 2011 and in subsequent fiscal years.
    Additionally, we are proposing changes that would permit the 
Department, in establishing selection criteria used in grant 
competitions conducted under the i3 program, to choose selection 
criteria and factors--(i) from those established in the 2010 NFP for 
the i3 program, (ii) from the menu of general selection criteria in the 
Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 
CFR 75.210, (iii) based on statutory provisions in accordance with 34 
CFR 75.209, or (iv) from any combination of (i) through (iii) for 
competitions in FY 2011 and in subsequent years. Additionally, the 
revisions proposed in this notice would allow the Secretary to choose 
one or more of the selection criteria for use in conducting a pre-
application process in accordance with 34 CFR 75.103.
    These proposed changes are responsive to specific lessons learned 
from the first competition of the i3 program in FY 2010 and would allow 
the Department to simplify and improve the design of the i3 program to 
better achieve its purposes and goals, including improving student 
achievement and growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout 
rates, increasing high school graduation rates, and increasing college 
enrollment and completion rates. Specifically, the Department would 
have the flexibility to use the most appropriate priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria, for each type of grant (Scale-up, 
Validation, or Development) under this program in any year in which 
this program is in effect, ensuring that the i3 program can adapt to 
evolving needs of the American education system.

Priorities

Background

    In the 2010 NFP for the i3 program, the Department established 
specific absolute and competitive preference priorities. The absolute 
priorities are: Innovations that Support Effective Teachers and 
Principals; Innovations that Improve the Use of Data; Innovations that 
Complement the Implementation of High Standards and High-Quality 
Assessments; and Innovations that Turn Around Persistently Low-
Performing Schools. The competitive preference priorities are: 
Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes; Innovations that 
Support College Access and Success; Innovations to Address the Unique 
Learning Needs of Students with Disabilities and Limited English 
Proficient Students; and Innovations that Serve Schools in Rural Local 
Educational Agencies (LEAs). The 2010 NFP provided that the Department 
would use all of these priorities in conducting a grant competition. 
After using these specific priorities for the FY 2010 competition, we 
have concluded that greater flexibility in selecting priorities will 
enable the i3 program to focus on the most critical needs for education 
in a given year. Accordingly, we are proposing in this notice that the 
Secretary may select among the absolute and competitive preference 
priorities established in the 2010 NFP for competitions in FY 2011 and 
in subsequent years. We note that although this proposed action would 
provide the Secretary with the flexibility to choose from one or more 
of the priorities in any particular year's competition, it is currently 
our intention to use all of the competitive preference priorities in 
any competition we conduct for FY 2011.

Proposed Revision to Priorities

    The Department proposes that the Secretary may use any of the 
priorities established in the 2010 NFP when establishing the priorities 
for a particular i3 competition. We may apply one or more of these 
priorities in any year in which this program is in effect.

Requirements

Background

    The 2010 NFP established specific requirements for the i3 program. 
One of those requirements was the ``Limits on Grant Awards.'' 
Specifically, the 2010 NFP stated that ``[N]o grantee may receive more 
than two awards under this program. In addition, no grantee may receive 
more than $55 million in grant awards under this program in a single 
year's competition.''
    The Department intended that the ``Limits on Grant Awards'' 
requirement would apply to awards made under a single year's 
competition rather than under the program generally. Accordingly, we 
are proposing in this notice to modify this requirement in order to 
clarify that the limit on the number of awards a grantee may receive 
under this program applies only to a single year's competition.\2\
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    \2\ Although the Department can award three types of grants 
under the i3 program, the Department, for purposes of calculating 
the ``Limit on Grant Awards,'' considers the competition for i3 
funding in any particular year as a single competition.

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    We believe that this proposed change will not only allow us to 
clarify our intent but also better support the growth and ``scaling'' 
of practices that have made demonstrable improvements in student 
achievement and attainment outcomes.
    Additionally, the 2010 NFP established a ``Cost Sharing or 
Matching'' requirement for the i3 program. Specifically, this 
requirement stated that in order to be eligible for an i3 award, an 
eligible applicant must submit evidence of private-sector matching 
funds or in-kind donations equal to at least 20 percent of its grant 
award.
    After using this specific requirement for the FY 2010 competition, 
we have concluded that a single established match amount across the 
three types of grants is burdensome on both applicants and matching 
funders, and that greater flexibility in determining the amount of the 
private-sector match would enable the i3 program to better accommodate 
the needs of the field in a given year while still fulfilling the 
program's statutory requirements. Accordingly, we are proposing to 
modify the ``Cost Sharing or Matching'' requirement to provide the 
Secretary the flexibility to determine and specify in the notice 
inviting applications the required amount of private-sector matching 
funds or in-kind donations that an eligible applicant must obtain for 
an i3 grant in FY 2011 and in subsequent fiscal years.

Proposed Revision to Requirements

    The Department proposes to revise the ``Limits on Grant Awards'' 
requirement to state that ``[N]o grantee may receive more than two 
awards under this program in a single year's competition. In addition, 
no grantee may receive more than $55 million in grant awards under this 
program in a single year's competition.''
    Additionally, the Department proposes to revise the ``Cost Sharing 
or Matching'' requirement as follows:
    Cost Sharing or Matching: To be eligible for an award, an eligible 
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 eligible applicant must 
obtain matching funds or in-kind donations equal to an amount that the 
Secretary will specify in the notice inviting applications for the 
specific i3 competition. Selected eligible applicants must submit 
evidence of the full amount of private-sector matching funds following 
the peer review of applications. An award will not be made unless the 
applicant provides adequate evidence that the full amount of the 
private-sector match has been committed or the Secretary approves the 
eligible applicant's request to reduce the matching-level requirement.
    The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in 
the most exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis. An 
eligible applicant that anticipates being unable to meet the full 
amount of the private-sector 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.

Selection Criteria

Background

    The 2010 NFP established specific selection criteria for each of 
the three types of i3 grants and that the Department would use to 
evaluate i3 applications. For Scale-up and Validation grants, these 
are: Need for the Project and Quality of the Project Design; Strength 
of Research, Significance of Effect, and Magnitude of Effect; 
Experience of the Eligible Applicant; Quality of the Project 
Evaluation; Strategy and Capacity to Bring to Scale; Sustainability; 
and Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel. For Development 
grants, these are: Need for the Project and Quality of the Project 
Design; Strength of Research, Significant of Effect, and Magnitude of 
Effect; Experience of the Eligible Applicant; Quality of the Project 
Evaluation; Strategy and Capacity to Further Develop and Scale; 
Sustainability; and Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel. The 
2010 NFP provided that the Department would use all of the criteria for 
a specific type of grant in evaluating applications for that grant.
    After using these selection criteria for the FY 2010 competition, 
we have concluded that greater flexibility is needed for choosing 
selection criteria, and the factors included under each criterion, in 
order to enable the i3 program to focus on the most critical needs for 
education in a given year. Such flexibility would also allow the 
Department to simplify the selection criteria, as appropriate, for a 
particular competition. Accordingly, we are proposing in this notice 
that, when establishing selection criteria for an i3 competition, the 
Secretary may choose one or more of the selection criteria established 
for the i3 program in the 2010 NFP, may use selection criteria from the 
menu of general selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210, may use selection 
criteria based on statutory provisions in accordance with 34 CFR 
75.209, or may use any combination of these criteria for the purpose of 
evaluating grant applications under the i3 program.\3\
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    \3\ The Department's regulations in EDGAR govern, among other 
things, the use of selection criteria to evaluate discretionary 
grant applications. Under 34 CFR 75.200, the Secretary may use 
selection criteria based on statutory provisions in accordance with 
34 CFR 75.209, selection criteria in program-specific regulations, 
selection criteria established under 34 CFR 75.210, or any 
combination of these. The Secretary may select from the menu one or 
more criteria that best enable the Department to select the highest-
quality applications, consistent with the program purpose, statutory 
requirements, and any priorities established for a competition. For 
additional information on 34 CFR 75.209 and 34 CFR 75.270, see 
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/reg/edgarReg/edgar.html.
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    We believe that the proposed change will enable the Department to 
administer this program more effectively, simplify the application and 
review processes, better align the selection criteria used for the 
different types of grants under this program with the critical aims of 
that specific grant type, and better ensure that i3 projects address 
the most critical needs of education in a given year.

Proposed Revision to Selection Criteria

    The Department proposes that the Secretary may use one or more of 
the selection criteria established in the 2010 NFP, any of the 
selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210, criteria based on the statutory 
requirements for the i3 program in accordance with 34 CFR 75.209, or 
any combination of these when establishing selection criteria for each 
particular type of grant (Scale-up, Validation, and Development) in an 
i3 competition. This would include the authority to reduce the number 
of selection criteria. Within each criterion from these sources, the 
Secretary would further define each criterion by selecting one or more 
specific factors within a criterion or assigning factors from one 
criterion, from any of those sources, to another criterion, in any of 
those sources. The Secretary may apply one or more of these criteria in 
any year in which this program is in effect. The Secretary may also 
select one or more of these selection criteria to review pre-
applications, if the Secretary decides to invite pre-applications in 
accordance with 34 CFR 75.103. In the notice inviting applications, the 
application package, or both, we would announce

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the maximum possible points assigned to each criterion.

    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.\4\

    \4\ Availability of funds for the i3 program in FY 2011 and in 
subsequent years is contingent upon an appropriation of funds for 
the program by the Congress.
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    Executive Order 12866: Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary 
must determine whether a regulatory action is ``significant'' and 
therefore subject to the requirements of the Executive order and 
subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget. 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 local 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. The 
Secretary has determined that this regulatory action is not significant 
under section 3(f) of the Executive order.
    This notice has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 
12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential 
costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering the Department's 
discretionary grant programs 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 and definitions 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.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    This proposed regulatory action affects only LEAs and nonprofit 
organizations that are applying for assistance under the i3 program. 
This regulatory action creates flexibility for the Department to (a) 
select from among the priorities and selection criteria that were 
established in the 2010 NFP specific priorities and criteria to use in 
the FY 2011 i3 grant competition and those in subsequent years, and (b) 
select other selection criteria under 34 CFR 75.209 and 75.210. We 
believe that any priority or criterion that would be used in a future 
grant competition would not impose a financial burden that LEAs and 
nonprofit organizations would not otherwise incur in the development 
and submission of a grant application under the i3 program, and under 
some circumstances (for example, if the Department elected to use fewer 
criteria or factors in a given competition) the proposed changes could 
reduce the financial burden of preparing an i3 grant application by a 
modest amount.
    Additionally, although the ``Limits on Grant Awards'' and ``Cost 
Sharing or Matching'' requirements are i3 program requirements, both 
requirements affect only the highest-rated applications from the peer 
review process that are also determined to be eligible for an i3 grant 
award. Therefore, we believe that the proposed modifications to the 
requirements would not impose a financial burden that LEAs and 
nonprofit organizations would not otherwise incur in the development 
and submission of a grant application under the i3 program.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This notice contains information collection requirements that are 
subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The burden 
associated with CFDA Nos. 84.396A/B/C was approved by OMB under OMB 
Control Number 1855-0021, which expires on October 31, 2013. These 
proposed revisions to priorities, requirements, and selection criteria 
would allow the Department to improve the design of the i3 program to 
better achieve its purposes and goals by (a) establishing the 
flexibility to select priorities and selection criteria and (b) 
modifying the ``Limits on Grant Awards'' and ``Cost Sharing or 
Matching'' requirements. However, the revisions do not change the 
number of applications an organization may submit or the burden that an 
applicant would otherwise incur in the development and submission of a 
grant application under the i3 program. Therefore, the Department 
expects that this proposed regulatory action will not affect the total 
burden of 150,000 hours.
    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: January 5, 2011.
James H. Shelton, III,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 2011-269 Filed 1-7-11; 8:45 am]
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