[Federal Register: November 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 226)]
[Page 70627-70629]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Discretionary Grant Programs

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final discretionary grant priorities for fiscal year 


SUMMARY: The Secretary announces the continued use--in fiscal year (FY) 
2009--of priorities that the Department of Education (Department) 
previously established for use in any discretionary grant program 
competition in FY 2007 and FY 2008. We take this action in order to 
continue to focus Federal financial assistance on expanding the number 
of programs and projects that support activities in areas of greatest 
educational need. We are continuing the use of these priorities on a 
Department-wide basis so that Department offices can use one or more of 
them in any discretionary grant competition, as appropriate.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities are effective for use in FY 
2009 on January 20, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margo K. Anderson, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W311, Washington, DC 20202-
5910. Telephone: (202) 205-3010 or by e-mail: Margo.Anderson@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    We published a notice of intent to use certain discretionary grant 
priorities in FY 2009 (Notice of Proposed Action) in the Federal 
Register on August 27, 2008 (73 FR 50601). In the Notice of Proposed 
Action, we proposed to use the priorities in the following areas, which 
had been established for use in FY 2007 and FY 2008 only, for 
discretionary grant competitions in FY 2009:
    1. Mathematics
    2. Science
    3. Critical-Need Languages
    4. Secondary Schools
    5. Professional Development for Secondary School Teachers
    6. School Districts with Schools in Need of Improvement, Corrective 
Action, or Restructuring

[[Page 70628]]

    7. Student Achievement Data
    8. State Data Systems
    Because we determined that these priorities are still relevant to 
the Nation's educational needs, we proposed to continue to use them for 
discretionary grant competitions in FY 2009.\1\ This will allow the 
Department to continue to focus limited Federal resources on areas of 
greatest educational need in FY 2009.

    \1\ The Secretary recognizes that some of the priorities will 
not be appropriate for particular programs.

    There are no differences between the Notice of Proposed Action and 
this notice of final discretionary grant priorities for FY 2009.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the Notice of 
Proposed Action, one party submitted a comment.
    Comment: One commenter generally supported the existing priorities 
and the Department's plan to continue their use in discretionary grant 
competitions in FY 2009. This commenter also recommended that the 
Department establish an additional priority designed to ensure access 
for all students to the benefits of the existing priorities.
    Discussion: We appreciate the commenter's support for the existing 
Department-wide priorities and their continued use in FY 2009. We 
decline, however, to establish an additional priority on ensuring 
access for all students to the benefits of the other priorities in this 
notice. We do not believe it is necessary or appropriate to establish 
the additional priority recommended by the commenter. The purpose of 
the Department-wide priorities is to focus resources on activities that 
will serve students with the greatest need and to address some of the 
areas of greatest educational need.
    Changes: None.

Final Priorities

    Priority 1--Mathematics. Projects that support activities to enable 
students to achieve proficiency or advanced proficiency in mathematics.
    Priority 2--Science. Projects that support activities to enable 
students to achieve proficiency or advanced proficiency in science.
    Priority 3--Critical-Need Languages. Projects that support 
activities to enable students to achieve proficiency or advanced 
proficiency in one or more of the following less commonly taught 
languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and languages in 
the Indic, Iranian, and Turkic language families.
    Priority 4--Secondary Schools. Projects that support activities and 
interventions aimed at improving the academic achievement of secondary 
school students who are at greatest risk of not meeting challenging 
State academic standards and not completing high school.
    Priority 5--Professional Development for Secondary School Teachers. 
Projects that support high-quality professional development for 
secondary school teachers to help these teachers improve student 
academic achievement.
    Priority 6--School Districts with Schools in Need of Improvement, 
Corrective Action, or Restructuring. Projects that help school 
districts implement academic and structural interventions in schools 
that have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 
as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
    Priority 7--Student Achievement Data. Projects that collect pre- 
and post-intervention test data to assess the effect of the projects on 
the academic achievement of student participants relative to 
appropriate comparison or control groups.
    Priority 8--State Data Systems. Projects that help educators use 
information from State data systems to improve student achievement or 
other appropriate outcomes.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the competitive preference 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)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    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. If we choose to 
use one or more of the priorities referenced in this notice in FY 
2009, we will invite applications for new awards under the 
applicable program through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: 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 final regulatory 
    The potential costs associated with this final 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 notice we have determined that the benefits of 
this final regulatory action justify the costs.
    We have determined, also, that this regulatory action does not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    Executive Order 12372: Some of the programs affected by this notice 
are 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 
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for these programs.
    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 
    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.

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    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: 

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number does not apply.)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3; 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.

    Dated: November 18, 2008.
Margaret Spellings,
Secretary of Education.
 [FR Doc. E8-27744 Filed 11-20-08; 8:45 am]