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No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference
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Partnerships in Character Education (V-D-3)


The Partnerships in Character Education program provides grants to design and put into practice instruction about aspects of character such as citizenship, justice, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, and giving. Character education, especially when it is integral to a school's curriculum and culture and involves collaboration among school staff, parents, and key members of the community, can be effective in improving the school environment.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Focuses on What Works

  • Requires use of research. Applicants must provide information that demonstrates that their program has clear objectives that are based on scientifically based research.
  • Supports research. The U.S. Department of Education may use up to 5 percent of program funds for national activities--including research, development, dissemination, technical assistance, and evaluation, to gather information on effective character education practices and to share that information with grantees.

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Eliminates restrictions on awards. Eligibility has been extended beyond state education agencies (SEAs), in partnership with districts or nonprofit groups or colleges, to also include districts, which may partner with other districts or nonprofit groups or colleges. Private school children and teachers are authorized to participate. Restrictions on the number of grants that can be made and the total amount of funding each grantee may receive have been lifted.
  • Eliminates requirements for state clearinghouses. Although grantees are no longer required to develop their own clearinghouses, the U.S. Department of Education may establish a national clearinghouse to provide information on model programs and research findings related to character education.

How It Works

This discretionary grant program authorizes the U.S. Department of Education to award grants to districts, partnerships of states with districts, and partnerships of either districts or states with nonprofit organizations, including colleges. The Department may require grantees to provide matching funds,with a sliding scale based on poverty and the ability to obtain matching funding.

Key Requirements

States and other grantees must implement character education programs that have research-based objectives. In determining the elements of character to include in their programs, grantees may select any elements they deem appropriate, but must consider the views of parents and students in making their selection, and any curricula, materials, and other activities developed under the grant must be secular. Grantees also must link the program with education reform efforts and state content standards.

How It Achieves Quality

In addition to requiring that applicants base their programs on research, grantees must conduct comprehensive evaluations of their programs (due at the end of the second year of the grant and no later than one year after the conclusion of the grant period) that address the impact on all students, students with disabilities, teachers, administrators, parents, and others.

How Performance Is Measured

The law specifies that the following factors may be considered in evaluating the success of grantees' character education programs: discipline issues, student academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, parental and community involvement, faculty and administrative involvement, student and staff morale, and improvements in school climate.

Key Activities For The State Education Agencies

State education agency grantees must:

  • Form partnerships with one or more school districts or nonprofit organizations, including colleges.
  • Evaluate their programs annually and report their findings to the U.S. Department of Education.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007