Thank you for your interest in the grant competition tentatively called the State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) Pilot, the Department’s pilot to provide an opportunity for tribes to meaningfully participate in the education of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children.
In order to run a rigorous competition and obligate funds to grantees before the September 30, 2012 statutory deadline, ED will waive rulemaking for this new program, pursuant to its authority in the General Education Provisions Act. However, we want your input on how we design the major elements of this program, so we are posting questions (below) regarding the requirements, priorities, and selection criteria for the STEP competition on this Web site and we encourage all interested parties to share their comments with us. This document will be posted for public input until 5:00 PM EDT on March 9, 2012, at which time the input section will be closed and we will begin considering input received as we develop the requirements, priorities (if any), and selection criteria. We will publish those requirements, priorities, and selection criteria in a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) in the Federal Register this spring.
This pilot will be a unique opportunity for collaboration between tribal education agencies (TEAs) and States and could be of particular interest to those States who have high concentrations of AI/AN students or tribes.
Through the STEP pilot, we want to support breakthrough work that can dramatically improve educational outcomes for AI/AN children. The competition will fund the implementation of collaborative agreements, entered into by TEAs and State educational agencies (SEAs) where the TEAs would perform certain State-level functions under State-administered ESEA formula grant programs for schools located on reservations (or former reservations in Oklahoma). We will be looking to fund applications that demonstrate courage, commitment, capacity, and creativity. In addition, it is important to note that the Department will not be granting TEAs formula funds, but only funds appropriated for this new competition.
In commenting on these questions, we encourage potential applicants to identify barriers that tribes and SEAs might encounter in entering into TEA-SEA agreements (and to provide suggestions on how those barriers might be surmounted), technical assistance that TEAs may require related to effective administration of ESEA programs, issues on which collaboration with affected LEAs may be required, and any relevant resource allocation issues.
We are posting this document on a moderated site. That means all posts will be reviewed before they are posted. We intend to post all responsive submissions on a timely basis. We reserve the right not to post comments that are unrelated to this request, are inconsistent with ED’s Web site policies, are advertisements or endorsements, or are otherwise inappropriate. Please do not include links to advertisements or endorsements, as we will delete them before we post your comments. Additionally, to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses in the body of your comments. For more information, please be sure to read the “comments policy.”
We invite your input on the questions provided below, and on any other issues that you believe the Department should consider in preparing the NIA. Please understand that posts must be related to the STEP competition and should be as specific as possible. Each post should limited to 1,000 words. All opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments are considered informal input and ED will not respond to any posts. If you include a link to additional information in your post, we urge you to ensure that the linked information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. We look forward to receiving your ideas and suggestions. However, the input you provide in these posts might or might not be reflected in the final STEP requirements, priorities, or selection criteria or in the other policies that are enunciated in the final STEP NIA.
Again, thank you for your interest in this historic opportunity to support Native American education. We look forward to hearing from you.
Click the links below to read the questions regarding requirements, priorities, and selection criteria; then click “Add a New Comment” at the bottom of the screen to tell us what you think about that item.
- What are some of the TEA/SEA concerns that should be addressed when the two agencies enter into an agreement under which a TEA would perform SEA-level functions? How could these concerns be addressed? More specifically, will SEAs need additional resources or other assistance in entering into agreements with TEAs?
- What technical assistance would a TEA need in order to perform certain SEA-level functions for State-administered ESEA programs? How could this technical assistance be best provided?
- What role, if any, should LEAs have in demonstrating support for the TEA-SEA agreements that affect their schools (through activities such as writing letters of support)? When should LEA support be demonstrated – as part of the application or during the project period?
- What LEA concerns should be addressed in an agreement in which a TEA would perform SEA-level functions? How could these concerns be addressed?
- Do you know of existing formal or previous agreements between SEAs and TEAs to administer SEA-level functions? What activities were performed by the TEA? Was the TEA successful in administering these functions?