Grant Competition to Improve Public Knowledge of and Support for Democracy

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Purpose of the Session?
  2. Is this the first year the grant competition is being initiated?
  3. I have done some research looking into different programs in civic education. Is there any highly qualified program you would reference for a school that has actually implemented some type of civic education model that was successful?
  4. Are you limiting this competition to just improving civic knowledge of the legislative branch or are you open to proposals that would deal with the judicial branch also?
  5. This is the first time for this competition, but are there any other models or applications that we could refer to as winning applications? Would there be any other models, maybe not for this competition, you could point us to?
  6. Can a Web-based proposal be appropriate, as well as a paper-and-pencil or curriculum-based approach?
  7. It seems this (competition) is on a fast track?
  8. In the RFP, it says to review similar applications to see what’s been successful. Since there are none under this particular competition, is there any research or literature that would help to inform the public about what is effective?
  9. Is this available online?
  10. The title of report again?
  11. Are you envisioning a program for adults or younger students?
  12. Because of the short turnaround time for the submission of an application, are you able to submit a draft of a proposal (idea) by a certain time and have it reviewed? Or in this case, would the best opportunity be to ask questions during these scheduled Q
  13. Will you be providing a synopsis of other questions as other people start responding or getting involved in drafting their application? Rather than sitting in and listening to each question as people become more involved, will there be any way to hear ot
  14. In terms of evaluation, are you looking for an external evaluation of the program?
  15. Do all funds have to be expended within the 18-month budget period?
  16. Well if it’s a project that would be ongoing; for instance, a Website where much of the expense comes up front, but you have the expense of updating the information, cost of equipment, things like that. So, the bulk of the expenses must be spent during th
  17. I joined the call during an answer period and must have missed it. I did not catch your name.
  18. Is there anything missing from application package that you feel you might need?
  19. Is that for the single point of contact?
  20. Just speaking for myself, I need to just sit down and reread the application package a couple of times to absorb all this and make a mental time line for myself to see if all this can be accomplished in time. I know there was a Grants.gov conference stake
  21. No absolute priorities and no competition priorities?
  22. The funding range is $500,000 to $2,984,750?
  23. The equipment and supplies can be included?
  24. If part of the project involves building teacher capacity in terms of teacher training and knowledge of learning strategies or teaching strategies for students, would proposals that include tuition stipends over the summer so teachers can participate in t
  25. Will State Departments of Education that apply for this funding be permitted to issue sub-grants across the state?
  26. Will you work with successful applicants? If they request “X” number of dollars and it’s a successful application, will there be budget negotiations after that point? Or does the application stand as is with the budget request as is?
  27. Will unsuccessful applications receive feedback?
  28. Page 18 of the application under eligibility, are other branches of State government eligible? If the judicial is an entity within the judicial branch of the state, is it eligible? Is a public agency eligible?
  29. But certainly partnering with a State educational agency, if you’re a non-profit organization—in that gray area of public and private agencies—that would be acceptable?
  30. Will abstracts be posted for those applicants who are successful? Will unsuccessful applicants be able to see that?
  31. Because this is an earmark, you indicated….
  32. Is there any discussion about making these funds available in the future?
  33. If new money for this purpose was allocated in the next budget cycle, when would those funds become available?
  34. Is the grant competition’s purpose to improve knowledge about Congress and State
  35. Is this competition for schools or communities?
  36. The "quality of project design" asks for conceptual framework or model, and wonder if you have a model in mind, e.g., the Center for Civic Education’s principles and curriculum for We the People program. Can those be used as models?
  37. I’m wondering about the scope of the project and if you are looking for a solution that reaches the public on a broad level, or if you are looking for a program that focuses on a particular state or region?
  38. The funding level for this grant competition is $500,000 to $2,984,750 million. I’m just questioning if that is the correct maximum for one grant?
  39. I want to say this is a wonderful opportunity and that the person who had the vision to put forth this funding opportunity is incredible. How did this project come together?
  40. Is there a limit on indirect cost?
  41. Is this a new grant process or competition, or has it emerged from another competition?
  42. Are you looking for programs and activities that are new, or are you looking to support a continuation of a program that deserves to be extended?
  43. My organization is part of a network with a lot of partnerships and alliances. I am at a university that is part of that network. Is it best to list all the members of the network, or should we just identify ourselves as a single network?
  44. Follow up question: We are an institution of higher education (IHE), but we partner with a national association for higher education.
  45. Getting back to competitive grant rather than an earmark, can we ask who was the recipient of the previous earmark?
  46. Are you compiling all of the questions and answers to post?
  47. Clarification, on the third call listed, is it Monday August 6 or on August 7?
  48. On the CETAC website, you mentioned that you want us to reach a segment of the public, or is it at the discretion of the applicant?
  49. Would the thinking be for institutions of higher education or should we include K-12 and parents?
  50. Since you mentioned the earmark associated with NCLB, does the focus on Congress and State legislature relate to the reauthorization work of NCLB?
  51. In the evaluation component, are you looking for a connection with academic achievement as far as the impact of the program on the participants?
  52. Will the unsuccessful applicants receive feedback?
  53. Regarding the quality and qualifications of key personnel section, we have ethical challenges because we cannot identify anyone up front, but we can identify our partnering organizations.
  54. Is there a limit to the project director’s percentage of time? Should we build in personnel positions as consultants rather than as hired personnel positions?
  55. We no longer have a state single point of contact. What do we do?
  56. The focus of this grant competition is civic education, in general, but the application specifies Congress and State legislatures. Should that be what we are targeting?
  57. Are there sample proposals from similar competitions? We’re looking for the required level of specificity of the narrative and budget and the overall tone and style.
  58. Is it appropriate to have letters of support from our legislators?

1. Purpose of the Session?

To provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions pertaining to this grant competition.

  • Facilitator: Rita Foy Moss, Program Officer, Civic Education Program
  • Recorders: Karen Brazell (Questions), Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center (CETAC)
    Carole Wilson (Answers), Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center (CETAC)
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2. Is this the first year the grant competition is being initiated?

Yes, this is the first time that the grant competition is being offered to the public.

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3. I have done some research looking into different programs in civic education. Is there any highly qualified program you would reference for a school that has actually implemented some type of civic education model that was successful?

We really want to leave the program design to the discretion of the applicant and for the applicant to propose ways to reach a segment of the public. Also, we want the applicant to identify the population that will participate in the program and how the applicant will achieve that goal. It is important to focus on the intended purpose of the grant competition: to improve the public's knowledge and understanding of the United States Congress and the State legislatures, key establishments of our democracy. We are looking to the field to suggest to us effective ways of carrying out those activities.

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4. Are you limiting this competition to just improving civic knowledge of the legislative branch or are you open to proposals that would deal with the judicial branch also?

The primary focus is on the United States Congress and State Legislatures. If there are additional establishments that you would like to include in your scope of work, it is left up to your discretion. The key here is on programs that focus on those two entities in our democracy.

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5. This is the first time for this competition, but are there any other models or applications that we could refer to as winning applications? Would there be any other models, maybe not for this competition, you could point us to?

Previously, Congress approved a direct earmark award to look for ways of understanding representative democracy. With the fiscal year 2007 Continuing Resolution for the Department of Education, a decision was made to provide the available funds through a discretionary grant competition. The Department would like new ideas on how to improve the public's understanding of democracy. We invited creative ideas from the interested public. The competition is open to a wide array of potential applicants, such as LEAs, SEAs, institutions of higher education, and other public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions, or a combination of the those entities. All are eligible to apply and propose ideas for a program they have developed or are planning to develop that would provide more information and learning opportunities for the public.

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6. Can a Web-based proposal be appropriate, as well as a paper-and-pencil or curriculum-based approach?

We're open. We would like to leave it to your and other potential applicants' discretion on proposing ideas-whether programs have already been implemented and you're using them, or you've tested programs and know that they work, or the possibility of the program having some potential. We realize it will be difficult to select.

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7. It seems this (competition) is on a fast track?

Yes, we received notification that funds were available to conduct this grant competition much later than some of the other programs in the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. So, in order to meet our award deadline and to complete the grant award process before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2007), we could only allow a 30-day deadline for application submission.

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8. In the RFP, it says to review similar applications to see what’s been successful. Since there are none under this particular competition, is there any research or literature that would help to inform the public about what is effective?

In the Application Package (page 14-15) reference is made to several organizations that have conducted research in civic education and produced reports on the results. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland has conducted a wide array of studies in civic education and civic engagement. Also listed in the application are references to reports published by the National Center for Education Statistics on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Civic Education, and the Education Commission of the States. You may want to check their Web sites for additional information. There is a new book that was released just this week, entitled The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens authored by Peter Levine at CIRCLE. CIRCLE has been very instrumental in conducting research in civic engagement.

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9. Is this available online?

A Web site is listed for inquiries and ordering the book. You can go to: http:\\www.upne.com\1-58465-648-4.html.

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10. The title of report again?

The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens.

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11. Are you envisioning a program for adults or younger students?

Again, The Department is open. The eligibility is open to a wide array of potential audiences so we can see what type of ideas might help to effectively engage the public. So, the applicant should identify the segment of the "public" that the proposed program would best service: adults, students, higher education communities, etc. We're looking to the applicant to propose ideas to us.

I know it is going to be quite a challenge. But, it is a good one because we often receive feedback from the field that there are not enough opportunities for the various segments of our population to be involved in the development of programs and resources to help better educate and inform our citizens about areas like voting, student and community involvement in political matters, or the role and functions of our government. So this is an opportunity to generate some really innovative approaches from the field.

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12. Because of the short turnaround time for the submission of an application, are you able to submit a draft of a proposal (idea) by a certain time and have it reviewed? Or in this case, would the best opportunity be to ask questions during these scheduled Q

No, we are unable to preview any drafts. We scheduled the Q&A sessions to offer interested persons an opportunity to ask questions that would them in the development of a proposal for submission under this grant competition.

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13. Will you be providing a synopsis of other questions as other people start responding or getting involved in drafting their application? Rather than sitting in and listening to each question as people become more involved, will there be any way to hear ot

Yes, we plan to post the Q&As on the OSDFS Web site as well as our contractor's site (Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center): www.cetac.org. We have two staff members from our technical assistance center on the phone helping to capture questions and responses from this session so they can be posted.

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14. In terms of evaluation, are you looking for an external evaluation of the program?

Yes, if feasible. We understand this is a project that will only last for about 18 months. We would like to have included some type of evaluation to show that the program is or has been effective.

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15. Do all funds have to be expended within the 18-month budget period?

Yes, we encourage the applicant to propose activities and to expend all of grant funds during that 18-month timeline. Are you thinking of a no-cost extension?

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16. Well if it’s a project that would be ongoing; for instance, a Website where much of the expense comes up front, but you have the expense of updating the information, cost of equipment, things like that. So, the bulk of the expenses must be spent during th

Yes, at the end of the 18 months, you have a 90-day period to report out findings, evaluation, and program activity in a final report to the Department of Education. However, by September 30, 2009, those funds should be closed out. So we would encourage the potential applicant to get assistance, partner with additional entities that might assist in carrying the project out and complete it during the designated project period.

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17. I joined the call during an answer period and must have missed it. I did not catch your name.

Rita Foy Moss, Program Officer, Civic Education programs in the OSDFS. I am also the Competition Manager for this grant competition.

I hope you have all been brought up to date on the difficulties we had initially in getting the application out and available to everyone. Initially, the CFDA number was posted, but shortly after posting the Notice in the Federal Register, the CFDA number (84.929C) was determined to be an invalid number. So, those individuals who were trying to access the information electronically could not do so. A new CFDA number was issued (CFDA 84.304C). The new number should be used when submitting your application. As a result of that, the submission deadline was changed to August 24. We also changed the deadline for submitting the Intergovernmental Review.

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18. Is there anything missing from application package that you feel you might need?

In the printed application package, the forms for intergovernmental review are not included, but they are included in the electronic version of the application package on Grants.gov. Also, if you want to see whether your state participates in the Intergovernmental Review, you can check the website listed in the Application Package on page 39 under Section IV, General Application Instructions: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html.

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19. Is that for the single point of contact?

Yes. In addition, I would like to direct your attention to the Selection Criteria section of the Application Package (page 16-17). The peer reviewers will use the Selection Criteria to evaluate and score each application. So, you should pay close attention to each. There are five criteria: 1) Significance of the project, 2) Quality of the Project Design; 3) Quality of the Project Services; 4) Quality of Project Personnel; and 5) Quality of the Project Evaluation. Points assigned to each are listed in parenthesis.

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20. Just speaking for myself, I need to just sit down and reread the application package a couple of times to absorb all this and make a mental time line for myself to see if all this can be accomplished in time. I know there was a Grants.gov conference stake

That's correct. I have not been notified of any changes other than what was published in the July 11 and July 24 Notices published in the Federal Register and what is also listed in the application package. So we will have to abide by what we have already listed as guidance for submission. Grants.gov is probably trying to prepare for the next round of program competitions for fiscal year 2008 grant cycle. I would like to call your attention to the relevant statutory provisions governing this grant competition in the application package on page 33. Usually, there is legislation that governs the mandates of a program and the grant competition. With regard to this competition, there is no legislation.

One question that was asked electronically was: "I am looking for absolute priorities for this competition and there don't appear to be any." The answer that was provided is: "There is not an absolute or invitational priority for this grant competition." An interested applicant should focus on the purpose of the program to assist them in developing their project.

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21. No absolute priorities and no competition priorities?

No, there are not.

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22. The funding range is $500,000 to $2,984,750?

Yes, based on the scope of work that is proposed. Your budget should dictate what your request for funding will be.

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23. The equipment and supplies can be included?

Yes, relevant equipment would be allowable if required by the proposed project. However, incentives are not allowable, for example, incentives to obtain participation in the program. We don't encourage that.

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24. If part of the project involves building teacher capacity in terms of teacher training and knowledge of learning strategies or teaching strategies for students, would proposals that include tuition stipends over the summer so teachers can participate in t

Yes, that is an allowable expense.

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25. Will State Departments of Education that apply for this funding be permitted to issue sub-grants across the state?

Sub-grants or subcontracts? The Department does not encourage the redistribution of grant funds as grants by grant award recipients to other entities, but subcontracts, fellowships, and stipends are allowable. Please check the application package for the section on Frequently Asked Questions (pages 18-20), some of the questions and responses may be helpful.

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26. Will you work with successful applicants? If they request “X” number of dollars and it’s a successful application, will there be budget negotiations after that point? Or does the application stand as is with the budget request as is?

We will review the budget and if budget negotiations are necessary, we will do so.

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27. Will unsuccessful applications receive feedback?

Yes, within 60 days of the announcement of the grant award (s) the unsuccessful applicants will receive a letter and written comments on their application. The ineligible applicants will receive written notification, also. The announcement of successful applications will be no later than September 30.

Please feel free to contact me, in the next few weeks, if you have a question. You may email me, also. My contact information is listed in the application package and in the Federal Register notice.

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28. Page 18 of the application under eligibility, are other branches of State government eligible? If the judicial is an entity within the judicial branch of the state, is it eligible? Is a public agency eligible?

For instance, would the Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, be an eligible applicant? The court system is, of course, a separate branch of state government and a public agency. All Virginia courts fall under the administrative umbrella of the Supreme Court. The Office of the Executive Secretary provides assistance to the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court in the administration of the judicial system.

The entity described is a public agency, and could apply. The Office of the Executive Secretary can apply, but must, as any applicant must, be authorized to make the commitments required in the required grant application. If the Office of the Executive Secretary lacks that authority, then the application would have to come from the Virginia Supreme Court, though it could indicate that the Office of the Executive Secretary of Virginia's Supreme Court will be carrying out the project.

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29. But certainly partnering with a State educational agency, if you’re a non-profit organization—in that gray area of public and private agencies—that would be acceptable?

Yes, an agency or combination of agencies. We would welcome that.

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30. Will abstracts be posted for those applicants who are successful? Will unsuccessful applicants be able to see that?

If you are asking for the full application, the request needs to be in writing. However, abstracts would most likely be posted on OSDFS Web site. You are welcome to request a copy of the successful applications through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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31. Because this is an earmark, you indicated….

No, this is not an earmark. This is a discretionary grant competition.

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32. Is there any discussion about making these funds available in the future?

Possibly. I do not have any final decision on the fiscal year 2008 budget and will not until the Department of Education's budget is approved. We don't have any idea when that will take place at this time.

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33. If new money for this purpose was allocated in the next budget cycle, when would those funds become available?

That is what I don't know at this time. For fiscal year 2008, our budget request has been submitted to Congress, but has not been approved. Congress will be going into recess in August.

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34. Is the grant competition’s purpose to improve knowledge about Congress and State

Yes, the purpose of the competition is to focus on those two entities, two important entities of our democracy. We don't have absolute priorities attached to this competition. There is, however, a general purpose upon which the project designs should focus. The governing authority to conduct this grant competition is cited under "Authority" on page 10 and again under "Relevant Statutory Provisions" on page 33 of the printed application package.

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35. Is this competition for schools or communities?

We are leaving it up to applicants to identify the segment of the "public" they wish to target as part of the proposed project.

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36. The "quality of project design" asks for conceptual framework or model, and wonder if you have a model in mind, e.g., the Center for Civic Education’s principles and curriculum for We the People program. Can those be used as models?

We are leaving it up to the applicant to describe the type of comprehensive program they propose to implement and the curriculum that will accompany the program. The application should focus on the intended purpose of the grant competition--U.S. Congress and the State legislatures. We do not have specific models in mind. We would like to receive ideas from the field.

If you want to look at research from organizations that have conducted research or produced reports on the topics of civic education, civic engagement, citizenship, or public policy related issues, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland, College Park has conducted numerous studies on the topics. Findings from some of the research are cited in the application package along with findings and reports from other groups such as the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, which produced the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2007 Civic Education Report. These references are cited in the literature review.

Another reference: The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of Citizens, written by Peter Levine, one of the researchers at CIRCLE. Here is a website for contact information about the book: http://www.upne.com/1-58465-648-4.html.

The telephone contact for CIRCLE is 301.405.2790. CIRCLE has another Website that will direct you to some of its research-- www.civicyouth.org. The Pew Charitable Trust's Journal for Spring 2007, Vol. 10 features the research conducted by CIRCLE. The Department of Education is only providing citations from the research literature.

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37. I’m wondering about the scope of the project and if you are looking for a solution that reaches the public on a broad level, or if you are looking for a program that focuses on a particular state or region?

We have not made any pre decisions about the intended segment of the "public" for which the program activities should be directed. The competition is open to state, private or national entities. We are interested in the quality of the proposed program to improve public knowledge and support for the U.S. Congress and the State legislatures, the purpose for which this competition is designated.

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38. The funding level for this grant competition is $500,000 to $2,984,750 million. I’m just questioning if that is the correct maximum for one grant?

The $2,984,750 is the maximum amount available for one grant. Your budget estimates should support the proposed project and range of activities. The quality of the project design and selection criteria identified in the application package will used by the panel of peer reviewers to score and rank the applications that are submitted.

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39. I want to say this is a wonderful opportunity and that the person who had the vision to put forth this funding opportunity is incredible. How did this project come together?

The funding appropriations for this grant competition were allocated from a directed earmark award that was part of the civic education program mandates in the No Child Left Behind legislation to this grant competition to improve pubic knowledge of and support for democracy. So, the idea of competing this particular grant came from the Department of Education.

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40. Is there a limit on indirect cost?

There is not a restricted indirect cost rate. In the application package, on page 19, we list a Web site for more information about indirect cost rates: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/intro.html. Local educational agencies should check with the State educational agency if they do have a negotiated indirect cost rate. If you're an institution of higher education, you may already have an established/negotiated rate. Check out the referenced link for the indirect cost rates for various entities.

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41. Is this a new grant process or competition, or has it emerged from another competition?

This is the first time funding that the funds are being competed. I mentioned earlier the funds were previously a direct earmark. By competing the funds, we want to invite explore new ideas and approaches to engage and to educate the public about some of the key aspects and functions of our democracy.

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42. Are you looking for programs and activities that are new, or are you looking to support a continuation of a program that deserves to be extended?

If the activity is ongoing and addresses the purpose of this grant competition, then an application can be submitted.

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43. My organization is part of a network with a lot of partnerships and alliances. I am at a university that is part of that network. Is it best to list all the members of the network, or should we just identify ourselves as a single network?

If your network includes State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHE), other public or private agencies, organizations and institutions, or a combination of such entities, then the network can apply. However, you can only apply under one D-U-N-S number and only one CCR number can be entered to apply electronically.

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44. Follow up question: We are an institution of higher education (IHE), but we partner with a national association for higher education.

You may want to apply under your IHE, with one D-U-N-S number. If the network does not have a D-U-N-S number, then you should apply under the entity that does have a D-U-N-S number, like your university.

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45. Getting back to competitive grant rather than an earmark, can we ask who was the recipient of the previous earmark?

There was one recipient with two partner organizations: Center for Civic Education, Center on Congress, and the National Council for State Legislators.

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46. Are you compiling all of the questions and answers to post?

Yes, I announced earlier in the call that we have posted the Q&As from the first session on two Websites, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools site at: http://www.ed.gov/osdfs (http://www.ed.gov/programs/coopedexchange/faq.html) and the Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center Web site at: www.cetac.org.

Questions will be posted after each round of calls. We have three additional Q&A sessions scheduled that you are invited to attend:

  • Monday, August 6 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
  • Friday, August 10 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EST
  • Monday, August 13 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. EST
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47. Clarification, on the third call listed, is it Monday August 6 or on August 7?

The correct day and date was Monday, August 6. Also, the call on Friday August 10 is only one hour, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and not 2:30 p.m., as previously posted in error.

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48. On the CETAC website, you mentioned that you want us to reach a segment of the public, or is it at the discretion of the applicant?

It is at the discretion of the applicant to select and identify that segment of the public--students or adults-who will be involved in the project activities. Whatever group the program is intended to serve should be described in the proposal; the entity you believe would be best served by your program activities.

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49. Would the thinking be for institutions of higher education or should we include K-12 and parents?

Again, it goes back to your scope of work and the type of program activities that you are proposing to implement and who would be best served by the project. This grant competition is open and we invite applicants to submit creative projects. But, it is going to be difficult from the OSDFS perspective and the independent peer reviewers to make a recommendation based on the broad purpose of this grant competition. You are going to look at a population to be served, and specify the kind of program to be implemented based on that population.

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50. Since you mentioned the earmark associated with NCLB, does the focus on Congress and State legislature relate to the reauthorization work of NCLB?

A. No, this grant competition has to do with assisting the American public in becoming more knowledgeable about our government and democracy, and helping to engage the public in our democracy. Research has shown that the public is lacking in knowledge about the roles and functions of our government and it shows that our students are lacking in this knowledge as well. In the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) 2007 Civic Education report, an assessment of civic knowledge for 4th, 8th and 12th graders was conducted. Results showed that only 4th graders showed improvement and gains from the 1998 assessment. There is a large segment of the public that does not understand the functions of our democracy. This is an opportunity to help share the knowledge.

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51. In the evaluation component, are you looking for a connection with academic achievement as far as the impact of the program on the participants?

If possible. It really depends on the nature and scope of work in your proposed Project. The project period is only 18 months. So, the reality is that there is limited time in which to show the impact of the project. We certainly want to know what effects the project is having, project activities impact on improving the knowledge of the target segment of the public, and the outcomes/results that were obtained.

Related Information Provided to Participants:

  • As a reminder, this grant competition was announced, on an earlier date (July 11, 2007) under a different CFDA number (CFDA 84.929C) that was invalid. So, make sure you are applying under the current, valid CFDA number (CFDA #84.304C) that was announced in the Correction Notice (July 24, 2007).
  • Please note that the deadline for application submission has been changed to August 24, 2007.
  • In the July 11, 2007 notice that was published in the Federal Register, there is a category under section VI, Award Administration Information, item #4, Performance Measure that may be helpful: "If funded, applicants will be expected to evaluate the effectiveness of the grant-supported activities on improving the knowledge, understanding, and support of the United States Congress and the State legislatures." It is also in the application package (page 31). The number on your pages may vary by a page or two, if you downloaded the application package from the Web.
  • In applying under this grant competition, please make sure your proposal narrative addresses the all of the elements of the five selection criteria listed in the application package (pages 16 and 17). The maximum number of points that can be scored under each criteria are listed also.
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are included in the application package(pages 18 through 20).
  • If you are submitting an application electronically, pay special attention to the instructions in the application package. A D-U-N-S number and CCR number are both required in submitting an application. If you do not have a CCR number, it may take some time to process your application. So, register for a CCR number early.
  • We encourage intended applicants to submit their application early to possibly avoid any problems at the last minute in submitting through the Grants.gov system. So apply earlier than the August 24th deadline, if you can.
  • In applying, electronically or by mail/courier, be sure to include email addresses for the Project Director, Authorizing Representative, and a third person who may be contacted if additional information or follow-up is needed.
  • Make sure your budget is itemized for the entire 18 months in one column.
  • In the printed copy of the application package, forms for Intergovernmental Review were omitted. However, they are included in the electronic version posted on the Grants.gov site.
  • For your information, we have the set of Q&As from Monday (July 30th) call posted on the two Web sites identified earlier. You may review the questions at any time.
  • The evaluation component for this competition described in the application package (page 31) states: "If funded, applicants will be expected to evaluate the effectiveness of the grant-supported activities on improving the knowledge, understanding, and support of the United States Congress and the State legislatures."
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52. Will the unsuccessful applicants receive feedback?

Yes. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted within 60 days of the announcement of the grant awards. The reviewers’ comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the application will also be provided.

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53. Regarding the quality and qualifications of key personnel section, we have ethical challenges because we cannot identify anyone up front, but we can identify our partnering organizations.

You can identify the type of position and the responsibilities and relationship of the position to the work that will be carried out in the project without naming a person. When you do your budget, you will have to identify each position (project director, etc.) and provide a description of the expertise of the person that you will seek to fill that position.

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54. Is there a limit to the project director’s percentage of time? Should we build in personnel positions as consultants rather than as hired personnel positions?

There is no limit to the percentage of time you may propose for the project director, but you must justify the time proposed for working on the program. For other key positions, it will depend on the nature of the positions whether you use consultants or staff. You will still list positions even if you are contracting them out. For budgeted personnel time, the financial system will notify us if the same person is on other grants and if the person’s proposed time exceeds 100%.

We want to let everyone know that we are posting results for these Q&A sessions. This is last of five sessions. You can find the results posted on the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/coopedexchange/faq.html and on the Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center Web site at www.cetac.org. There are two staff members from the technical assistance center on this call to capture the questions and answers so they can be posted.

I would like to remind potential applicants that their program narrative should address the selection criteria listed in the application package. The reviewers will use these selection criteria to evaluate each proposal.

We would like to remind those of you who are planning to apply electronically to start early and be sure you have a D-U-N-S and a CCR number. If you are mailing in your application, there are instructions on how to do so in the application package.

Also be sure to provide an email address for the project director, the authorizing agent and a third party whom we may contact if we have questions.

Deadline for submitting your application is Friday, August 24, 2007. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on pages 18, 19, and 20 of the application packet.

The intergovernmental review forms are included in the electronic copy of the application package, but were omitted in the printed version. There is a site for you to identify if your state participates in the intergovernmental review process.

When you prepare your budgets, do so for an 18-month period and use only one column on the budget form.

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55. We no longer have a state single point of contact. What do we do?

You don’t have to indicate in the introduction if you are exempt from submitting the intergovernmental review forms. You may just want to indicate it at some place in you proposal.

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56. The focus of this grant competition is civic education, in general, but the application specifies Congress and State legislatures. Should that be what we are targeting?

You should develop your project around the stated purpose of the grant competition, “To improve the quality of civic education through the implementation of comprehensive programs to improve public knowledge, understanding, and support of the United States Congress and the State legislatures.”

A part of civic learning is about democracy-building, civic responsibility, and government. They all tie in together. In the application you see the word “democracy” in some places; in most other places the application uses the term “United States Congress and the State legislatures.” Since this is the first time for this competition, there are no legislative mandates. Therefore, we are using the purpose to guide the program activities for the competition.

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57. Are there sample proposals from similar competitions? We’re looking for the required level of specificity of the narrative and budget and the overall tone and style.

We’ve had no previous competition in this category so we don’t have any model programs to point you to. Regarding successful applications in general from other grant competitions, I can refer you to Web sites for abstracts and proposals. The www.cetac.org web site has a posting of successful applications for character education but not for this civic education competition. While it’s good to see how those proposals look, I don’t want to distract you from the specific purpose of this competition.

We ask you to develop a budget for an 18-month period and include a budget justification that provides an explanation for each line item in your budget. You will need to do the same for the personnel in your budget. To get an idea of what these costs might be, you can look at the posted proposals on the CETAC Website. Or you can look at the OSDFS Web site and any of the successful applications or abstracts for its programs—mentoring, youth violence, school counseling, etc. to see what the budgets look like.

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58. Is it appropriate to have letters of support from our legislators?

Letters of support are welcomed from whatever entities you want to include—participating programs, individual agencies, or individuals who may have knowledge of the effectiveness of your program. If you are doing an electronic or paper submission, be sure to include the letters in the correct section of your submission.

If you are submitting electronically, I encourage you to submit earlier than on the afternoon of August 24th. Remember to have your D-U-N-S and CCR numbers available. If you have problems with registration numbers, you may want to mail in your copy. Include an email address for the project director, the authorizing agent and a third party whom we may contact if we have questions.

I encourage you to start the submission process early. There is a phone number in the application package to contact if you have problems in submitting your proposal electronically on Grants.gov.

This is the last scheduled Q&A conference call. If you have questions later, please contact me and I will get back to you by phone or email.

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Last Modified: 11/30/2007