[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 151 (Tuesday, August 6, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47979-48003]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18710]



[[Page 47979]]

Vol. 78

Tuesday,

No. 151

August 6, 2013

Part V





Department of Education





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34 CFR Subtitle A





 Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria; 
Race to the Top--District; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 151 / Tuesday, August 6, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 47980]]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Subtitle A

RIN 1810-AB17
[Docket No. ED-2013-OS-0050]


Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection 
Criteria; Race to the Top--District

AGENCY: Office of the Deputy Secretary, Department of Education.

ACTION: Final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria.

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[CFDA Number: 84.416.]

SUMMARY: The Secretary announces priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria under the Race to the Top--District program. The 
Secretary may use one or more of these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria for competitions in fiscal year 
(FY) 2013 and later years.
    The Race to the Top--District program builds on the experience of 
States and districts in implementing reforms in the four core 
educational assurance areas through Race to the Top and other key 
programs and supports applicants that demonstrate how they can 
personalize education for all students in their schools. The U.S. 
Department of Education (Department) conducted one competition under 
the Race to the Top--District program in FY 2012, and we are 
maintaining the overall purpose and structure of the FY 2012 Race to 
the Top--District competition. These priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria are almost identical to the ones we 
used in the FY 2012 competition.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria are effective September 5, 2013

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Butler, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E214, Washington, DC 20202-
4260. Telephone: (202) 453-6800. FAX: (202) 401-1557. Email: 
racetothetop.district@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    Purpose of This Regulatory Action: The purpose of this action is to 
establish priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
that will enable effective grant making, resulting in the selection of 
high-quality applicants who propose to implement activities that the 
Department believes are most likely to support bold, locally directed 
improvements in learning and teaching that would directly improve 
student achievement and educator effectiveness.
    Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action: This 
document establishes priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria for the Race to the Top--District program.
    The Race to the Top--District program is designed to build on the 
momentum of other Race to the Top competitions by encouraging bold, 
innovative reform at the local level. The Race to the Top--District 
competition is aimed squarely at classrooms and the all-important 
relationship between educators and students. The priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria in this document are 
almost identical to those we used in the FY 2012 competition. The 
competition will again support applicants that demonstrate how they can 
personalize education for all students in their schools.
    In that regard, through this competition, the Department will 
encourage and reward those local educational agencies (LEAs) or 
consortia of LEAs that have the leadership and vision to implement the 
strategies, structures, and systems that the Department believes are 
needed to implement personalized, student-focused approaches to 
learning and teaching that will produce excellence and ensure equity 
for all students. The priorities, definitions, requirements, and 
selection criteria are designed to help LEAs meet these goals. As 
stated in the notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria (NPP) (published in the Federal Register on 
April 16, 2013 (78 FR 22451)), most changes from the FY 2012 
competition reflect minor language clarifications. The two substantive 
changes are the removal of the opportunity to apply for an optional 
budget supplement and the reduction of the minimum and maximum grant 
amount for which an applicant may apply. We believe these changes 
enable the Department to maximize the number of grantees that would 
receive funding under a competition, while still awarding grants of 
sufficient size to support bold improvements in learning and teaching. 
In addition, this document includes some revisions from the NPP. We 
discuss changes from the NPP in greater detail in the Analysis of 
Comments and Changes section.
    Under Priority 1, applicants must design a personalized learning 
environment that uses collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st-
century tools, such as online learning platforms, computers, mobile 
devices, and learning algorithms, to deliver instruction and supports 
tailored to the needs and goals of each student, with the aim of 
enabling all students to graduate college- and career-ready. 
Implementation of a personalized learning environment is not achieved 
through a single solution or product but rather requires a multi-
faceted approach that addresses the individual and collective needs of 
students, educators, and families and that dramatically transforms the 
learning environment in order to improve student outcomes.
    Through Race to the Top--District, the Department will continue to 
support high-quality proposals from applicants across a varied set of 
LEAs in order to create diverse models of personalized learning 
environments for use by LEAs across the Nation. For this reason, the 
Department is establishing four additional priorities. Priorities 2 
through 5 support efforts to expand the types of reform efforts being 
implemented in LEAs in States that have received a Race to the Top 
Phase 1, 2, or 3 award and to LEAs in other States. Moreover, these 
priorities also help ensure that LEAs of varying sizes, both rural and 
non-rural, and with different local contexts, are able to implement 
innovative personalized learning environments for their students that 
can serve as models for other LEAs and help improve student achievement 
widely.
    Finally, we establish one additional priority to support applicants 
that propose to extend their reforms beyond the classroom and partner 
with public or private entities in order to address the social, 
emotional, and behavioral needs of students, particularly students who 
attend a high-need school.
    Costs and Benefits: The Secretary believes that the costs imposed 
on applicants by these priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria are limited to paperwork burden related to preparing 
an application and the benefits of implementing them would outweigh any 
costs incurred by applicants. The costs of carrying out activities 
would be paid for with program funds. Thus, the costs of implementation 
would not be a burden for any eligible applicants, including small 
entities. Please refer to the Regulatory Impact Analysis in this 
document for a more complete discussion of the costs and benefits of 
this regulatory action.
    This notice provides an accounting statement that estimates that 
approximately $120 million will

[[Page 47981]]

transfer from the Federal Government to LEAs under this program. Please 
refer to the accounting statement in this document for a more detailed 
discussion.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Race to the Top--District 
program is to build on the lessons learned from the State competitions 
conducted under the Race to the Top program and to support bold, 
locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will 
directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.

    Program Authority: Sections 14005 and 14006 of the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Pub. L. 111-5), as amended by section 
1832(b) of Division B of the Department of Defense and Full-Year 
Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Pub. L. 112-10), and the 
Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2012 (Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2012) (Title III of Division F of Pub. L. 112-
74).

    We published proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria for this program in the Federal Register on April 
16, 2013 (78 FR 22451). That notice contained background information 
and our reasons for proposing the particular priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 43 
parties submitted comments.
    We group responses to comments according to subject. Generally, we 
do not address technical and other minor changes.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria since publication of the NPP follows. We have 
included category headings below to help with organization, though some 
comments were relevant to multiple categories and were considered 
accordingly.

General

    Comment: Many commenters expressed support for the Race to the 
Top--District program's focus on personalized learning and advancing 
innovation in education. Commenters noted that this approach will help 
accelerate and deepen student learning, close achievement gaps, and 
help all students graduate ready for college and a career. A couple 
commenters suggested the program could lead to transformational changes 
in teaching and learning. A commenter specifically agreed with the key 
proposed changes to the program, including removing the optional budget 
supplement and adapting the budget bands, and particularly applauded 
the decrease in the number of minimum participating students required 
in the largest award range.
    However, some commenters suggested different directions for the 
program. A commenter suggested that the program should have a primary 
focus on the implementation of college- and career-ready standards, the 
institution of wraparound services, and the expansion of early 
education. Another commenter suggested providing more flexibility for 
applicants to address the Race to the Top reform areas in the context 
of, and without distracting them from, their own local reform efforts. 
A couple commenters suggested that building on the four core assurance 
areas could detract from the focus on personalized learning. A few 
commenters suggested streamlining the selection criteria to reduce the 
risk of overburdening LEAs while retaining the ambitious goals of the 
Race to the Top--District program.
    Discussion: We appreciate the support from commenters for the 
emphasis on personalized learning and the potential for contributing to 
significant improvements in learning and teaching. We believe it is 
important for applicants to create personalized learning environments 
that will lead to the greatest improvement in each LEA while also 
ensuring alignment with the broader education context in their States, 
including Race to the Top State grants, ESEA flexibility, and other 
relevant programs and initiatives.
    We appreciate the suggestions for different directions for the 
program and the suggestions for narrowing the priorities and selection 
criteria. We decline to shift the focus away from personalized learning 
or to significantly change the priorities and selection criteria. 
However we have removed one selection criterion--that was designated in 
the NPP as (B)(5) Analysis of Needs and Gaps--which we believe can be 
addressed in a more integrated way in applicants' plans and responses 
to other selection criteria. We believe that the priorities and 
remaining selection criteria allow sufficient flexibility for 
applicants to design proposals aligned to their local context and needs 
while maximizing the opportunity for the Department to support bold, 
locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will 
directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.
    Changes: We have removed selection criterion (B)(5).
    Comment: A few commenters expressed support for continuing to fund 
districts to lead the way with reforms at the local level. A number of 
commenters supported the Department's plan to conduct a new competition 
and suggested that this will provide an opportunity for more districts 
to propose and implement bold plans. In addition, a commenter noted 
that maintaining a nearly identical application to the application used 
in the FY 2012 competition will lead to stronger responses in 2013. 
Another commenter noted that the Department included the strongest 
elements of the 2012 competition within the new NPP.
    In contrast, many commenters, the majority on behalf of districts 
in one State and a few on behalf of districts in another State, asked 
that the Department fund high-scoring but unsuccessful applicants from 
the FY 2012 Race to the Top--District competition rather than invite 
districts to apply through a new competition. Commenters suggested that 
this would limit the time and resources spent by applicants on 
preparing submissions and by the Department on conducting the 
competition. A commenter also suggested that if the Department limits 
the competition to prior applicants, it should include applications 
that had high scores from two out of three peer reviewers.
    Discussion: Based on past Race to the Top competitions, we believe 
that the quality of applications increases each year that we run a 
competition. A new competition allows both new and past applicants to 
develop and submit proposals that reflect their current vision, 
strategies, and context and permits applicants to learn from winning 
applications, learn from peer reviewer comments, and ensure that their 
proposals reflect their current vision, strategies, and context. For 
these reasons, we do not plan to limit the competition to past 
applicants. We acknowledge the time required to prepare a grant 
application, but we also believe the application process provides a 
worthwhile opportunity for LEAs to work with stakeholders within and 
across LEAs on developing proposals for bold improvements in learning 
and teaching. In addition, past applicants have reported that 
developing their application positioned them for greater educational 
impact whether or not they received funding.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter recommended that the Department allot 
substantially more money to this program and provide further incentives 
for district participation by awarding at least the same number and 
size of LEA grants as in FY 2012. This commenter also suggested 
lowering the minimum award range to $2 million to $10 million. Another 
commenter

[[Page 47982]]

appreciated the decision to continue this funding opportunity for local 
school districts, especially during a time of sequestration and other 
cuts to education, noting that this program provides an opportunity to 
support innovation at the local level and achieve equity and excellence 
in education for all children.
    Discussion: The Department anticipates awarding approximately $120 
million for the Race to the Top--District competition and $370 million 
for the Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge competition. While we 
welcome the opportunity to fund additional LEA and State grantees, we 
believe the amount allocated this year will encourage and reward reform 
in LEAs and States. In addition, we proposed through the NPP to remove 
the opportunity to apply for an optional budget supplement and reduce 
the minimum and maximum grant amount for which an applicant may apply. 
We believe these changes will enable the Department to maximize the 
number of grantees that would receive funding under a district 
competition while still awarding grants of sufficient size and scope to 
support bold improvements in learning and teaching.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter expressed support for setting the minimum 
number of participating students at 2,000. A couple commenters felt 
this number should be further reduced, as it will exclude some 
districts from applying individually and instead require them to join a 
consortium despite the individual district's unique problems, 
strengths, and goals.
    Discussion: The Department believes it is important to award grants 
of sufficient size and scope to support bold, innovative reforms in 
learning and teaching that can help to create diverse models of 
personalized learning environments for use by LEAs across the Nation. 
The Department also believes that the eligibility requirements allow 
for sufficient flexibility for individual LEA applicants and consortia 
applicants. According to the National Center for Education Statistics' 
``Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Local Education 
Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2010-11,'' more than 
80 percent of public elementary and secondary school districts had a 
student membership over 2,999 in 2010-2011. Thus, the majority of LEAs 
may apply individually. For those LEAs with fewer than 2,000 
participating students, there are two paths to apply, either by joining 
a consortium with a minimum of 2,000 participating students or by 
joining a consortium with fewer than 2,000 participating students, 
provided those students are served by a consortium of at least 10 LEAs 
and at least 75 percent of the students served by each LEA are 
participating students (as defined in this notice).
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter expressed concern that several aspects of Race 
to the Top--District core reforms are too prescriptive and expressed 
concern about the trend toward using competitive, as opposed to 
formula, funding to advance education goals.
    Discussion: The core education reform areas were established in the 
statute authorizing the Race to the Top programs. The Race to the Top--
District program builds on the experience of States and districts in 
implementing reforms in the four core educational assurance areas 
through Race to the Top and other key programs and supports applicants 
that demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students in 
their schools. The great majority--over 80 percent--of the Department's 
funds for early childhood and elementary and secondary education are 
distributed by formula. We believe competitive funds provide an 
important opportunity to encourage and reward States and LEAs that 
propose to implement bold, innovative reforms that are most likely to 
directly improve student outcomes.
    Changes: None.

Definitions

    Comment: A commenter recommended that the Department broaden the 
definition of ``digital learning content'' to ensure that all high-
quality multiplatform digital content is captured in the selection 
criteria. The commenter believed this would help align proposals with 
the variety of ways in which children learn and provide children with 
more opportunities to learn anytime, anywhere.
    Discussion: There is nothing in the priorities, requirements, 
definitions, or selection criteria that would preclude an eligible 
applicant from proposing plans that utilize multiplatform digital 
content, provided that the proposal otherwise addresses the priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria. Given the variety of proposals 
that can be funded under the Race to the Top--District program, we do 
not want to prescribe specific tools or approaches that must be used.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter recommended that the Department provide a 
definition of ``high-quality plan.''
    Discussion: The Department agrees to add ``high-quality plan'' as a 
defined term. We have described high-quality plans the same way in the 
FY 2013 competition as we did in the FY 2012 competition.
    Changes: We have added ``high-quality plan'' as a defined term.
    Comment: A commenter recommended adding a definition for 
``stakeholder'' and requiring that this definition be applied whenever 
the term ``stakeholder'' is used in the document, because school 
improvement cannot succeed without the involvement of these crucial 
partners. This commenter also recommended that in selection criterion 
(B)(4)(a), the Department add ``community partners'' to the list of 
groups that should be engaged in the development of the proposal.
    Discussion: We agree that engaging stakeholders is important, as 
demonstrated through the emphasis on stakeholder engagement throughout 
the requirements and selection criteria. However, we decline to include 
a specific definition of this term in order to allow applicants the 
flexibility to determine appropriate stakeholders for their local 
context and needs. In addition, selection criterion (B)(4)(b) already 
includes community-based organizations, and there is nothing that 
precludes an applicant from engaging these stakeholders further, 
provided that the applicant addresses the priorities, requirements, and 
selection criteria. Accordingly, we decline to add a reference to 
``community partners'' to selection criterion (B)(4)(a).
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter recommended that the Department be more 
specific in its definition of ``on-track indicator,'' and incorporate 
specific research-based characteristics into that definition to ensure 
districts are accurately measuring the number of students who are on 
and off track to college- and career-readiness and on-time graduation 
from high school. The commenter suggested that a more specific 
definition would also provide a more uniform measure of effectiveness 
that would result in a better understanding of which interventions have 
the most impact. Another commenter recommended that applicants serving 
middle and high school students should describe the process for 
implementing an early warning indicator system to identify students in 
need of targeted supports and integrated services, particularly for 
applicants responding to the competitive preference priority. Both

[[Page 47983]]

commenters suggested using the same three characteristics--attendance, 
behavior, and course performance--though the commenters recommended 
different measures for each characteristic.
    Discussion: We agree on the importance of capturing and using data 
frequently and highlight this throughout priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria. For example, selection criterion 
(C)(1)(b)(iv) emphasizes ongoing and regular feedback for each student, 
and selection criterion (E)(3) includes both required performance 
measures and applicant-proposed performance measures that provide 
rigorous, timely, and formative leading information tailored to the 
proposed plan and theory of action. However, because the potential 
applicants and plans are so diverse, we feel that it is important for 
applicants to propose the specific on-track indicator and related 
systems that best support achieving the goals in their proposals, and 
we decline to further specify definitions or system requirements in 
this area.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters requested that in the definition of 
``student growth'' we add the word ``multiple'' before ``measures'' and 
before ``alternative measures.'' These commenters also recommended that 
the Department support maximum flexibility in how student growth 
measures are included in teacher evaluation systems.
    Discussion: The proposed definition of ``student growth'' aligns 
with the definitions used in past Race to the Top competitions and in 
ESEA flexibility. We believe that using this similar definition is 
helpful for applicants and note that multiple measures are currently 
incorporated within the definition. We appreciate the recommendation 
about flexibility on how student growth measures are included in 
teacher evaluation and believe the Department's programs in these areas 
allow for local flexibility.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter noted that the definition of ``achievement 
gaps'' appears to depart from traditional definitions because it would 
potentially compare subgroup, LEA, and school performance to the 
State's highest-achieving subgroups rather than to the State average of 
all students.
    Discussion: The proposed definition of ``achievement gap'' aligns 
with ESEA flexibility's approach to measuring achievement gaps, in 
particular for ``focus schools.'' We believe that this alignment is 
helpful for applicants in order to minimize the different ways in which 
they calculate and report achievement gap information. In addition, 
``achievement gap'' was not a defined term in some of our other 
competitive grant programs. We believe having a definition consistent 
with the one used in ESEA flexibility is helpful for applicants and 
grantees as they learn from each other during implementation of their 
grants and strive to meet ambitious goals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A few commenters applauded the Department for requiring 
districts to detail how they will leverage personalization to 
accelerate and deepen student learning. A couple commenters suggested 
that the Department provide a definition of ``deeper learning'' since 
districts may interpret it in a variety of ways. A commenter suggested 
using a particular definition of ``deeper learning'' that includes a 
set of six competencies that students must develop. This commenter also 
recommended that districts be required to share how they plan to 
measure progress towards student mastery.
    Discussion: The Department declines to define ``deeper learning'' 
or require a specific plan in this area. Because the potential 
applicants and plans are so diverse, we think applicants are in the 
best position to determine the approaches to deeper learning that will 
maximize improvement in their context and through their proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: We are removing the definition of the term ``four 
intervention models'' because it is not used as a defined term in the 
Race to the Top--District program.
    Changes: We removed the definition of the term ``four intervention 
models.''
    Comment: A commenter recommended adding to the definition of ``four 
intervention models'' a new option for the school intervention models, 
specifically community schools in which social, emotional, medical, and 
academic services that students and their families need are provided in 
the school buildings.
    Discussion: Because ``four intervention models'' is not used as a 
defined term in the Race to the Top--District program, we are removing 
the definition and not considering changes to it.
    Changes: None.

Selection Criteria

    Note:  Throughout the discussion of comments and changes on 
selection criteria, Section A refers to the group of selection 
criteria in A. Vision, i.e., (A)(1), (A)(2), (A)(3), (A)(4). Section 
B refers to the group of selection criteria in B. Prior Record of 
Success and Conditions for Reform. Section C refers to the group of 
selection criteria in C. Preparing Students for College and Careers. 
Section D refers to the group of selection criteria in D. LEA Policy 
and Infrastructure. Section E refers to the group of selection 
criteria in E. Continuous Improvement. Lastly, Section F refers to 
the group of selection criteria in F. Budget and Sustainability.

Section A. Vision

    Comment: A few commenters discussed aspects of Section A. A 
commenter suggested that the Department increase the number of points 
allocated to Section A and ask districts to describe (1) their 
classroom-level vision for helping students meet college- and career-
ready standards through gaining such deeper learning skills as critical 
thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication; (2) how 
they will incorporate social, emotional, and behavioral supports; (3) 
the human capital strategies they will use to achieve shifts in 
teaching and learning; and (4) the ongoing data cycles they will use to 
drive continuous improvement. A commenter suggested requiring 
applicants to be specific in the vision they wish to achieve and 
provide a graphical representation of their instructional vision to 
help districts map how their plan will enact change in the district. 
This commenter recommended a stronger emphasis on how personalized 
learning environments will look different in different schools and 
classrooms. The commenter also recommended that districts identify the 
unique set of supports required by each school in order for it to 
successfully implement personalized learning environments.
    Discussion: The Department agrees that some additional description 
could be helpful in Section A, specifically selection criterion (A)(1). 
We agree that in responding to Section A, applicants should be specific 
in explaining how the educational experience will be different for 
students and teachers, and we have revised the language in (A)(1) 
accordingly. We believe that social, emotional, and behavioral 
supports, human capital strategies, and data use for continuous 
improvement are covered in other requirements, selection criteria, and 
priorities, and decline to add additional language on these topics to 
Section A. We do not believe we should require graphical representation 
or unique sets of supports at the individual school-level and leave it 
to the applicant to develop strong proposals and determine the best way 
to

[[Page 47984]]

convey this information. We do, however, require grantees to submit an 
individual school implementation plan for participating schools (as 
defined in this notice). Although the Department did not solicit 
comments on the points to be assigned to the selection criteria and 
does not include the points in this regulatory action, we appreciate 
the support for Section C and the related scoring suggestions. We are 
keeping the majority of the criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 
competition and similarly will keep the scoring rubric consistent in 
order to maximize applicants' ability to learn from past applications, 
peer reviewer comments, and other aligned resources.
    Changes: We have added language to selection criterion (A)(1) to 
ask applicants to include in their reform vision how the classroom 
experience will be different for students and teachers.

Section B. Prior Record of Success and Conditions for Reform

    Comment: A couple commenters suggested that requiring a four-year 
track record of success in selection criterion (B)(1) could make it 
difficult for districts with the greatest need to receive grant funds. 
These commenters noted that this requirement could also negatively 
affect States that have worked to achieve key goals, such as adoption 
of college- and career-ready standards and next generation assessment 
systems, since there may be an initial decrease in test scores. On the 
other hand, another commenter expressed support for asking for a four-
year track record of success. A couple commenters suggested decreasing 
the point value for Section B because many districts scored highly on 
the criteria in this section in the FY 2012 competition, and the 
commenters suggested that it did not significantly differentiate 
applicants.
    Discussion: In order to make the wisest investments of public 
funds, the Department believes a prior record of improvement over a 
sustained period with a plan for continued growth should be considered 
when awarding grants. We do not believe that this disadvantages 
districts with the greatest need, as the priorities and selection 
criteria emphasize high-need students in many places, and this 
particular criterion offers many ways by which applicants can 
demonstrate a clear track record of success. We do not specify point 
values in these final selection criteria, and instead indicate in any 
notice inviting applications the points we will assign to a particular 
criterion. That said, we do not intend to reduce the point value of 
Section B for the FY 2013 competition because of how critical it is for 
districts to have a record of success, transparency in LEA processes, 
State context for implementation, and stakeholder engagement. We will, 
however, remove selection criterion (B)(5) because we believe needs and 
gaps are already addressed in applicants' plans and responses to other 
selection criteria. Also, in the notice inviting applications, we will 
include the points from selection criterion (B)(5) into selection 
criterion (B)(4), keeping the overall scoring for Section B the same as 
it was in FY 2012 but further emphasizing the importance of stakeholder 
engagement with the addition of five points for that selection 
criterion.
    Changes: We are removing selection criterion (B)(5).
    Comment: Some commenters suggested that the data collection and 
reporting language in selection criterion (B)(2) be eliminated or 
modified. In addition, some commenters noted that it is unclear how 
this requirement is relevant to evaluating an applicant's prior record 
of success, how it strengthens an application, or how it demonstrates 
transparency in LEA processes, practices, and investments. Commenters 
also recommended changes to the language in selection criterion (B)(2). 
A couple commenters expressed privacy concerns about reporting 
personnel salaries, especially where this information is not already a 
matter of public record, and suggested that selection criterion (B)(2) 
should clarify that personally identifiable information will remain 
confidential. Another commenter pointed out that the current wording in 
selection criterion (B)(2) is not clear about whether the expenditure 
reporting requirements apply only to participating schools or to all 
schools within the LEA. Finally, a commenter suggested that if the aims 
of the expenditure reporting requirements are to improve teaching and 
learning and ensure equity, the focus should extend beyond salaries to 
provide a more complete picture of the real problems in hard-to-staff 
schools.
    Discussion: As a commenter noted, the aim of including selection 
criterion (B)(2) is to emphasize the importance of transparency and 
equity, with the public reporting of school-level expenditures on 
salaries as a proxy for both. Also, as this data is reported through 
the Department's Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) instrument, we 
believe using the same language will help minimize burden on 
applicants. As we noted in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 
document for the FY 2012 competition, applicants should follow the 
2011-2012 school year CRDC guidelines when reporting school expenditure 
data. The Department will keep (B)(2) as part of the selection criteria 
and will clarify for applicants that reporting is for all schools 
within each LEA.
    Nothing in our selection criteria authorizes or encourages 
applicants to violate any local, State, or Federal privacy laws and we 
will communicate to applicants their obligations to comply with such 
laws. Finally, we want to highlight that selection criterion (B)(2) is 
not a requirement, as some commenters stated, but rather a selection 
criterion for which applicants may earn points based on the extent to 
which each LEA demonstrates evidence that addresses the selection 
criterion.
    Changes: None.

Section C. Preparing Students for College and Careers

    Comment: A commenter noted that Section C reflects the most 
essential district actions around transforming teaching and learning 
and suggested increasing the number of points allocated to this 
section.
    Discussion: Although the Department did not solicit comments on the 
points to be assigned to the selection criteria and does not include 
the points in this regulatory action, we appreciate the support for 
Section C and the related scoring suggestions. We are keeping the 
majority of the criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 competition 
and similarly will keep the scoring rubric consistent in order to 
maximize applicants' ability to learn from past applications, peer 
reviewer comments, and other aligned resources.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter noted that proposed selection criterion 
(C)(1)(b) seems to require that the district provide every student with 
a personalized learning plan, defined as a formal document that would 
include personalized learning recommendations. The commenter suggested 
an approach to implementation of personalized learning plans that would 
first meet the needs of students with disabilities and those at risk of 
dropping out.
    Discussion: The Department appreciates the emphasis on meeting the 
needs of all students, particularly high-need students. We do not 
believe, however, that plans in response to this criterion must include 
a formal document and did not intend selection criterion (C)(1)(b) to 
ask for such a plan. We also specifically did not define ``personalized 
learning plan'' in order to

[[Page 47985]]

give applicants the flexibility to propose an approach that will 
maximize improvement in their context and through their proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter requested more specificity in the term 
``frequently'' as used in selection criterion (C)(1)(b)(iv)(A), 
regarding frequently updated individual student data, and selection 
criterion (C)(2)(a)(iii), regarding frequently measuring student 
progress. This commenter also recommended that data be used to drive 
small group or individual instruction. The commenter suggested that 
data should be something teachers use weekly, if not daily, to make 
instructional decisions and implement feedback loops frequently enough 
to accelerate student learning and student ownership for their 
learning.
    Discussion: We agree with the importance of frequent data use. We 
decline to specify a particular frequency or group size for optimal 
data use. We believe applicants are in the best position to propose an 
approach that will maximize improvement in their context and through 
their proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter suggested that the Department further study 
the concept of students earning credit based on demonstrated mastery, 
not the amount of time spent on a topic, specifically in light of core 
content standards assigned to each grade level and State tests that 
measure specific skills at each grade level.
    Discussion: The purpose of the Race to the Top--District program is 
to build on the lessons learned from the State competitions conducted 
under the Race to the Top program and to support bold, locally directed 
improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve 
student achievement and educator effectiveness, and then to help share 
those practices across the Nation. Implementing an education system 
that moves from focusing on inputs such as seat time to outputs and 
outcomes such as student mastery of academic skills and content and 
realized gains in student achievement is the very type of project that 
aligns with the purposes of this program. We believe that demonstration 
of mastery can align well with grade-level standards and assessments 
and think that applicants should propose the approaches that will 
maximize improvement in their contexts and through their proposals, 
provided they address the Race to the Top--District priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters recommended that in order to support 
successful implementation, appropriate time and professional 
development for educators be included in the components of a 
personalized learning environment. A commenter recommended that 
priority be given to applicants that ensure educators will receive 
support through this program, including through the use of funds to 
recall or hire much-needed teachers, education support professionals, 
and specialized instructional support personnel to advance personalized 
instruction.
    Discussion: The Department agrees that support for educators is an 
important part of implementing and sustaining personalized learning 
environments. We believe that we have already emphasized this support 
throughout the selection criteria, for example through educator access 
to training, tools, data, and resources, in selection criteria 
(C)(2)(a), (C)(2)(b), (D)(2)(a), and (D)(2)(b). We welcome applicants' 
plans for educator support that best support implementation of 
personalized learning environments in their local contexts and through 
their proposals, provided the plans address the priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter recommended that districts be required to put 
in place training and support for parents to ensure that parents know 
how to use tools and resources, similar to the emphasis on supporting 
students in selection criterion (C)(1)(c). Another commenter suggested 
that the Department give priority to applicants that focus on parental 
engagement, particularly within the competitive preference priority, as 
it is a key factor in student achievement. The commenter suggested that 
applicants be asked to include detailed parent engagement strategies in 
their applications. A couple commenters noted the importance of 
ensuring equitable access for parents and suggested paring back other 
requirements to allow more emphasis on important efforts such as 
helping parents.
    Discussion: The Department acknowledges the importance of parental 
involvement and as a result has already included parent engagement in 
many places throughout the priorities, selection criteria, and 
definitions. For example, parents are included as key stakeholders and 
users of data in Section B and are noted as key to engaging and 
empowering all learners in Section C; in Section D applicants are asked 
to ensure parents have access to necessary content, tools, and other 
learning resources and appropriate levels of technical support. We 
believe that the priorities, selection criteria, and definitions 
appropriately emphasize parental engagement and support.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter noted that although the teaching and leading 
requirements in the proposed selection criterion (C)(2) are strong, it 
is important to require districts to describe the role of the school 
leader in developing and implementing a new approach to personalized 
learning and how the districts will build the capacity of principals to 
lead this work.
    Discussion: We agree that school leaders and leadership teams play 
an important role in developing and implementing personalized learning 
environments and believe that this is emphasized in the selection 
criteria. Selection criterion (C)(2)(c) emphasizes that school leaders 
and school leadership teams have the training, policies, tools, data, 
and resources to enable them to structure an effective learning 
environment. Selection criterion (D)(1)(b) emphasizes flexibility and 
autonomy for school leadership teams. Therefore, the Department 
believes the selection criteria effectively address the commenter's 
suggestions and does not believe any changes are necessary.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter recommended expanding selection criterion 
(C)(2)(d) to ask applicants to include, at the secondary school level 
and at the elementary school level (when applicable), a plan for 
increasing the number of students who receive instruction from 
effective and highly effective teachers fully certified to teach in the 
subject area in which they are assigned as the teacher of record. The 
commenter noted that schools serving urban and poor students are more 
likely to employ teachers who are on emergency waivers and who are not 
certified in the subject they teach.
    Discussion: We agree with the emphasis on equitable access to 
effective teachers. Through this criterion, we ask applicants to 
propose a plan for increasing the number of students who receive 
instruction from effective and highly effective teachers and 
principals, including in hard-to-staff schools, subjects, and specialty 
areas. We believe the current language in the criterion addresses the 
commenter's suggestions and declines to provide further specificity in 
order to maintain flexibility for applicants to propose approaches that 
will maximize

[[Page 47986]]

improvement in their context and through their proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter suggested that schools should analyze 
schoolwide discipline issues, drawing on data collected for the CRDC, 
and then identify strategies that improve student-staff relationships 
and school environment. Another commenter agreed with our requirement 
that district grantees produce a detailed assessment of root causes 
behind disproportionate discipline and expulsions, along with a plan to 
address these causes. They suggested that wraparound services and 
supports would be one way to reduce disproportionate discipline and 
expulsion.
    Discussion: We believe program requirement 4 addresses the 
commenters' suggestions. Program requirement 4 requires grantees in 
which minority students or students with disabilities are 
disproportionately subject to discipline (as defined in this notice) 
and expulsion (according to data submitted through the Department's 
CRDC, which is available at http://ocrdata.ed.gov/) to conduct a 
district assessment of the root causes of the disproportionate 
discipline and expulsions. These grantees must also develop a detailed 
plan over the grant period to address these root causes and to reduce 
disproportionate discipline (as defined in this notice) and expulsions. 
Applicants are not precluded from identifying strategies that improve 
student-staff relationships and school environment or from using 
wraparound services and supports as ways to reduce disproportionate 
discipline and expulsion, provided their plans meet the program 
requirements and other relevant priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria. In addition, in selection criterion (C)(2)(c)(i), we 
emphasize the importance of structuring an effective learning 
environment using information that helps school leaders and school 
leadership teams (as defined in this notice) assess, and take steps to 
improve, individual and collective educator effectiveness and school 
culture and climate for the purpose of continuous school improvement.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter suggested that applicants' plans should enable 
students to graduate college- and career-ready but that plans should 
also include a focus on student health. Specifically, the commenter 
suggested that selection criterion (C)(2)(b)(ii) be revised to specify 
that high-quality learning resources should be designed to improve 
health. The commenter also suggested the addition of a new sub-
criterion, (C)(2)(b)(iv), that emphasizes high-quality professional 
development, learning resources, and parental engagement strategies 
focusing on optimizing students' healthy development. In addition, the 
commenter suggested that a preference be given to all applicants that 
include strategies to improve overall health, incorporate a strong 
focus on physical activity and physical education, and incorporate 
health education skill building.
    Discussion: We agree that overall health, physical activity, and 
healthy eating are important areas of focus, and we believe that the 
current language allows applicants to address these areas. Applicants 
are not precluded from addressing these areas, provided that their 
proposals address the priorities, requirements, and selection criteria 
of the Race to the Top--District program. We decline to provide a more 
specific focus on health areas in order to allow applicants the 
flexibility to create proposals that will maximize improvement in their 
contexts.
    Changes: None.

Section D. LEA Policy and Infrastructure

    Comment: A couple commenters recommended reducing the points 
allocated for Section D, noting that the selection criteria in this 
section include essential elements but were not a key differentiator 
between winning applicants and all other applicants in the prior 
competition.
    Discussion: Although the Department did not solicit comments on the 
number of points to be assigned to the selection criteria, we 
appreciate the suggestions from commenters in this area. We are keeping 
the majority of the criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 
competition and similarly will keep the scoring rubric consistent in 
order to maximize applicants' ability to learn from past applications, 
peer reviewer comments, and other aligned resources.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter expressed concern that selection criterion 
(D)(1)(b) could conflict with provisions of the Individuals with 
Disabilities Act (IDEA), particularly those concerning Individualized 
Education Programs. The commenter also believed that this criterion 
encourages principals to bypass collective bargaining over such factors 
as, among other things, school schedules and calendars, school staffing 
models, and school-level budgets. The commenter suggested that the 
Department consider school autonomy (rather than principal autonomy) in 
which a principal and staff would, through the collective bargaining 
process, propose modifications to Federal, State, or local law, 
regulation, or contract.
    Discussion: The current language does not encourage or permit 
violations of the IDEA or the collective bargaining process. In 
addition, we do not propose that a principal be given autonomy over 
such decisions as scheduling or school-level budgets. Rather, by 
definition, a school leadership team is composed of the principal or 
other head of a school, teachers, and other educators (as defined in 
this notice) and, as applicable, other school employees, parents, 
students, and other community members. We also believe that 
requirements for the signature of a union representative, where 
applicable, and, in those instances where a union signature is not 
required, the selection criterion that asks applicants to give evidence 
that at least 70 percent of the teachers in a participating school 
support the proposal, help to ensure that the views and rights of 
teachers are considered in the development of the application. In order 
to ensure consistency in the interpretation of ``school leadership 
teams,'' we are adding ``(as defined in this notice)'' after ``school 
leadership teams'' when it appears. Finally, since the notice inviting 
applications published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register 
includes a savings clause, described elsewhere in this section, we 
believe it is clear that the Department does not encourage bypassing 
the collective bargaining process.
    Changes: We have added ``(as defined in this notice)'' after 
``school leadership teams'' in selection criterion (D)(1)(b).
    Comment: A commenter supported our inclusion of interoperable data 
systems in selection criterion (D)(2)(d) and suggested preference be 
given to applicants that seek to share data across sectors--for 
example, giving school nurses access to medical records. In this way, 
according to the commenter, the Race to the Top--District program could 
advance innovative partnerships between schools, early learning 
providers, health systems, and other relevant sectors.
    Discussion: Priority 6 rewards applications that propose to form 
innovative partnerships that address the social, emotional, or 
behavioral needs of the participating students. Under the Race to the 
Top--District program, applicants are not precluded from sharing data 
across sectors, provided that they comply with all applicable Federal, 
State, and local privacy laws and regulations and address the

[[Page 47987]]

priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for the competition.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested that efforts to decrease 
class size should be encouraged and supported by the program. The 
commenter noted that small class size, which promotes personalized 
attention and instruction, is an important infrastructure improvement 
that should be advanced by the Race to the Top--District program.
    Discussion: The Department shares the desire for students to 
receive personalized attention, and the Race to the Top--District 
program focuses on accelerating and deepening students' learning 
through attention to their individual needs. We look to applicants to 
propose the strategies and plans that are most appropriate for 
maximizing improvement in their contexts and through their proposals.
    Changes: None.

Section E. Continuous Improvement

    Comment: A couple commenters emphasized the importance of 
continuous improvement for all students and recommended that the point 
allotment for this section be increased. The commenters also 
recommended that the Department ask applicants to describe their 
continuous improvement processes in more detail, including use of 
evidence-based practices; use of data-driven continuous improvement 
processes at the classroom, school, and district levels; and methods to 
assess return on investment for grant funds and use of this information 
to help inform the most efficient and effective future investment of 
funds.
    Discussion: The Department agrees that it is important to have 
data-driven discussions that lead to improvement at the classroom, 
school, and district levels. We believe that the selection criteria, in 
particular in Section E and Section C, already ask applicants to 
develop plans that address data-driven discussions, continuous 
improvement, and return on investment. We have also added language 
about data use to selection criterion (F)(2), described later in this 
section of the document. In addition, while the Department did not 
solicit comments on the points assigned to the selection criteria, we 
appreciate the suggestions from commenters in this area. We are keeping 
the majority of the criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 
competition and similarly will keep the scoring rubric consistent in 
order to maximize applicants' ability to learn from past applications, 
peer reviewer comments, and other aligned resources. While the majority 
of Section E will remain consistent with the FY 2012 competition, 
selection criterion (E)(4) has been revised to focus more narrowly on 
evaluating the effectiveness of program-funded activities and to 
emphasize that these evaluations should be rigorous. The Department 
believes selection criteria (E)(1) and (F)(2) provide an opportunity 
for applicants to address the areas previously included in selection 
criterion (E)(4).
    Changes: We have revised selection criterion (E)(4) to add 
``rigorously'' before ``evaluate'' and to include only the first part 
of the FY 2012 selection criterion, and have removed the following 
language ``and to more productively use time, staff, money, or other 
resources in order to improve results, through such strategies as 
improved use of technology, working with community partners, 
compensation reform, and modification of school schedules and 
structures (e.g., service delivery, school leadership teams (as defined 
in this notice), and decision-making structures).''
    Comment: A commenter suggested that the Department revise the 
description of the performance measures for grades 4-8 and 9-12 in 
which the applicant is asked to propose a health or social-emotional 
leading indicator. The commenter suggested adding examples of academic 
behaviors that research shows are linked to high school and 
postsecondary success, including such measures as motivation, social 
engagement, and self-regulation.
    Discussion: Because the potential applicants and plans are so 
diverse, we feel that it is important for applicants to propose 
performance measures they believe will provide the best leading 
indicators of progress against their specific plans. Therefore, we 
decline to include specific examples in this area.
    Changes: None.

Section F. Budget and Sustainability

    Comment: A couple commenters noted that the selection criteria for 
the budget are important components, and they recommended keeping the 
point allocation the same for this section. A commenter supported the 
Department's approach to post-grant sustainability and recommended that 
the Department clarify that scoring for selection criterion (F)(2) will 
not be adversely affected if applicants choose not to include a 
detailed budget.
    Discussion: We agree that applicants should not lose points under 
selection criterion (F)(2) if they choose not to include a detailed 
budget, and the criterion already reflects this. We will reinforce this 
for applicants and peer reviewers through FAQs or technical assistance. 
In addition, we are adding language to selection criterion (F)(2) that 
broadens the focus and emphasizes the importance of gathering and using 
data to evaluate past investments and inform future ones. We believe 
this will help make selection criterion (F)(2) more complete and will 
provide more ways for applicants to address it in a high-quality 
manner. In addition, while the Department did not solicit comments on 
the points assigned to the selection criteria, we appreciate the 
suggestions from commenters in this area. We are keeping the majority 
of the criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 competition and 
similarly will keep the scoring rubric consistent in order to maximize 
applicants' ability to learn from past applications, peer reviewer 
comments, and other aligned resources.
    Changes: We have added language to selection criterion (F)(2) that 
asks applicants for a plan for how they will evaluate the effectiveness 
of past investments and use data to inform future investments. We also 
added language to this criterion noting that this plan may address how 
the applicant will evaluate improvements in productivity and outcomes 
to inform a post-grant budget and may include an estimated budget.

General Comments on Selection Criteria

    Comment: A commenter recommended that the Department add an 
additional selection criterion focused on identifying risks and 
barriers and on articulating a comprehensive risk mitigation plan. The 
commenter suggested that allocating points to a criterion focused on 
this topic would force a more deliberate approach to thinking through 
challenges and solving them proactively, especially during 
implementation of applicants' proposals.
    Discussion: We agree that it is important to consider risks and how 
to mitigate them and will explore ways to incorporate this further into 
our ongoing work with grantees as they implement their proposals. We 
are keeping the majority of the criteria almost identical to the FY 
2012 competition in order to maximize applicants' ability to learn from 
past applications, peer reviewer comments, and other aligned resources. 
Therefore, we decline to add an additional selection criterion for 
applicants.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter suggested that the application be more 
specific in inviting district leaders to engage in systematic, 
research-based school climate reform efforts that strive to

[[Page 47988]]

engage a variety of stakeholders in the school improvement process. The 
commenter asked that these efforts recognize social, emotional, civic, 
and intellectual aspects of learning.
    Discussion: In Priority 6, we encourage districts to engage 
community partners and stakeholders as is appropriate in their 
proposal. The definition for ``Family and Community Supports'' guides 
districts to form partnerships that help serve the social, behavioral, 
and emotional needs of students. We encourage partnerships that focus 
on the social and emotional needs of students and give applicants 
flexibility in addressing the most appropriate aspects of learning for 
their students that will maximize improvement in their context and 
through their proposals. Additionally, in selection criterion 
(C)(2)(c)(i), applicants are asked to propose an approach that helps 
school leaders and school leadership teams assess, and take steps to 
improve, individual and collective educator effectiveness and school 
culture and climate for the purpose of continuous school improvement. 
Therefore, we think that the language already addresses the comment and 
that no changes are necessary.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A few commenters suggested that the scoring rubrics should 
be altered to include assessments of capacity and viability, especially 
for LEAs with ambitious inter-district and inter-state plans for 
cooperation.
    Discussion: We believe that the current priorities, definitions, 
and selection criteria already enable assessments of capacity and 
viability. As part of the proposal, applicants are asked to submit 
high-quality plans and ambitious yet achievable goals, performance 
measures, and annual targets. In determining the quality of an 
applicant's plan, peer reviewers will evaluate the key goals, the 
activities to be undertaken and rationale for the activities, the 
timeline, the deliverables, the parties responsible for implementing 
the activities, and the overall credibility of the plan (as judged, in 
part, by the information submitted as supporting evidence). Peer 
reviewers will also determine whether an applicant has ``ambitious yet 
achievable'' goals, performance measures, and annual targets that are 
meaningful for the applicant's proposal and for assessing 
implementation progress, successes, and challenges. To help ensure 
consistency of interpretation and scoring across reviewers, the 
Department will provide peer reviewers with training and a detailed 
scoring chart. Finally, although the Department did not solicit 
comments on the points to be assigned to the selection criteria and 
does not include the points in this regulatory action, we appreciate 
the scoring suggestions. We are keeping the majority of the selection 
criteria almost identical to the FY 2012 competition and similarly will 
keep the scoring rubric consistent in order to maximize applicants' 
ability to learn from past applications, peer reviewer comments, and 
other aligned resources.
    Changes: None.

Priorities

Priority 1

    Comment: A commenter recommended referencing student engagement and 
ownership of learning within Priority 1, as both are important 
components of personalized learning environments and essential to 
increasing student achievement. The commenter noted that student 
engagement and having a sense of ownership of learning are included in 
the selection criteria in Section A but that it would be helpful to 
include them in Priority 1 as well.
    Discussion: We agree with the emphasis on increasing student 
engagement and ownership. However, we believe this is already a central 
concept in the Race to the Top--District program and decline to add 
additional language to Priority 1.
    Changes: None.

Priority 6

    Comment: Numerous commenters expressed support for Priority 6, in 
particular for the focus on partnerships; innovative health, safety, 
and community programs for high-need students; and capacity-building 
for districts. A commenter noted that this priority could be a good 
basis for a competitive grant program on its own or in combination with 
work on the Common Core standards, while other commenters noted support 
for keeping it as a competitive preference priority. Another commenter 
recommended that the Department increase the number of points available 
for this priority if the Department uses the priority as a competitive 
preference priority. A commenter suggested that preference be given to 
proposals that address early learning, given rates of reading failure 
among children. The commenter cited the importance of reading ability 
as an individual predictor of adult health status as well. A few 
commenters suggested changes to Priority 6. A commenter suggested that 
the Department add ``community-based media organizations'' to the 
illustrative list of partners to help ensure that public media 
continues to be a key partner in education. Another commenter suggested 
that the Department increase its focus on partnerships with small 
businesses. A commenter suggested that a preference be given to 
applicants that include a specific coordinated effort among education, 
public health, child health, and early care providers, as well as 
services for children, youth, and their families that span from cradle 
to graduation. A couple commenters described the importance of aligning 
the approach to Priority 6 with the applicant's personalized learning 
goals and plans. These commenters also recommended that the priority 
further detail expectations regarding the quality of the supports and 
partners, for example by emphasizing that the supports are based on 
student needs, are grounded in evidence, have a demonstrated record of 
improving student achievement, are integrated into the districts' or 
schools' vision for teaching and learning, and directly align with 
school and classroom level instruction and goals.
    Discussion: We appreciate the support for Priority 6 and the 
suggestions for expanding it. While the Department did not solicit 
comments on the number of points to be awarded under this priority if 
it decides to use it as a competitive preference priority, we 
appreciate the suggestions from commenters in this area. We are keeping 
the majority of the criteria and priorities almost identical to the FY 
2012 competition in order to maximize applicants' ability to learn from 
past applications, peer reviewer comments, and other aligned resources. 
In that regard, we are planning to use Priority 6 as a competitive 
preference priority in the FY 2013 competition and will keep the points 
assigned to the priority consistent with those from the FY 2012 
competition. In addition, because the potential applicants and plans 
are so diverse, we feel that it is important to allow flexibility for 
applicants to propose the specific partners and partnership approaches 
that will maximize improvement in their contexts and through their 
proposals. For these reasons and based on the strong support for 
Priority 6, we decline to revise the priority. Finally, applicants are 
not precluded from addressing the matters raised by the commenters in 
their proposals, provided the proposals address the Race to the Top--
District priorities, requirements, and selection criteria.
    Changes: None.

[[Page 47989]]

    Comment: A commenter expressed concern that Priority 6 may be seen 
as an ``add-on'' and not fit comprehensively into district plans. The 
commenter recommended that districts be allowed to delay implementation 
of Priority 6 until the second year of the grant period so that they 
may focus first on implementation of personalized learning environments 
and thoughtful selection of partners. The commenter also recommended 
that applicants refrain from naming partners in their application, 
similar to the approach for vendors.
    Discussion: Priority 6 specifically asks applicants to describe how 
the partnership supports the applicant's plan for addressing Priority 
1, rewarding alignment of the applicants' partnership proposals and 
broader plans. In addition, the Department expects applicants to 
propose ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing their 
proposals. Applicants have the flexibility to apply for the award range 
that aligns with their implementation and scale-up plan and to sequence 
activities in the way that best achieves the goals outlined in their 
proposal. In addition, we believe it is important to allow applicants 
to identify proposed partnerships as appropriate and to provide 
sufficient detail for peer reviewers to determine the extent to which 
the applicant has met the priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested that the Department give 
priority to applicants that focus on improving overall child health, 
including healthy eating, physical activity, social-emotional 
competencies, socioeconomic needs, and mental health. They explained 
the positive correlation between physical health and academic 
performance. A commenter suggested that applicants emphasize children's 
overall healthy development throughout the application. This commenter 
would like to see health measured in data systems, data shared across 
systems in different sectors, increased relationships with health care 
providers, and preference to applicants that address health literacy 
and incorporate a strong focus on physical activity and physical 
education.
    Discussion: The Department recognizes the importance of student 
health and its relationship to academic achievement. Within Priority 6, 
the Department gives priority to applicants that propose partnerships 
designed to augment the schools' resources by providing additional 
student and family supports to schools that address the social, 
emotional, or behavioral needs of the participating students. The first 
example of this type of partnership includes public health 
organizations. In addition, the definition of ``family and community 
supports'' includes child and youth health programs, such as physical, 
mental, behavioral, and emotional health programs. We believe that the 
current language sufficiently emphasizes the importance of student 
health while allowing districts flexibility to develop proposals that 
will maximize improvement in their contexts and through their 
proposals. In addition, applicants are not precluded from addressing 
the matters raised by the commenter in their proposals, provided the 
proposals address the Race to the Top--District priorities, 
requirements, and criteria.
    Changes: None.

Requirements

    Comment: A commenter suggested that the minimum percentage of 
participating students from low-income families served by a project be 
increased from 40 percent to 60 percent to ensure that Federal funds 
are targeted to students with the greatest need.
    Discussion: We believe that this suggestion may reduce the number 
of high-need students who benefit from the program rather than increase 
it. Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics 
(NCES) 2010-2011 Common Core of Data (CCD) school and agency files, 
more than 82 percent of students eligible for a free or reduced-price 
lunch subsidy attend a school in which at least 40 percent of the 
students are eligible for such a subsidy. Further, more than 60,000 
schools (approximately 63 percent of schools nationally) have at least 
40 percent of their students eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch 
subsidy. A total of approximately 29 million students (roughly 59 
percent of elementary and secondary students) attend those schools. By 
contrast, only 59 percent of students eligible for a free or reduced-
price lunch subsidy attend a school in which at least 60 percent of the 
students are eligible for such a subsidy. In addition, fewer than 
38,000 schools have at least 60 percent of their students eligible for 
a free or reduced-price lunch subsidy, and only 18 million students (36 
percent of students nationally) attend such a school. The Department 
believes that requiring applicants to develop proposals in which at 
least 40 percent of the participating students are from low-income 
families ensures that program funds are targeted effectively to the 
neediest students.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested that the definition of 
``local educational agency'' be amended to explicitly make schools 
operated by the Bureau of Indian Education eligible to receive funds 
under the Race to the Top--District program.
    Discussion: The proposed definition of ``local educational agency'' 
is the definition from section 9101(26) of the ESEA, which includes a 
provision under which a BIE school may be considered an LEA. If a BIE 
school is an LEA, the BIE school would be able to apply for a Race to 
the Top--District grant as an eligible LEA on its own or as part of a 
consortium.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter questioned the appropriateness of including in 
a grant program a requirement that an applicant agree to implement a 
superintendent evaluation system that reflects (1) the feedback of many 
stakeholders, including but not limited to educators, principals, and 
parents; and (2) student outcomes. A second commenter expressed support 
for the superintendent evaluation requirement and suggested that there 
be a common definition of ``student outcomes'' and that the definition 
should include a measure of student growth that aligns with the 
requirements for teacher evaluation.
    Discussion: For reasons similar to those underlying the emphasis on 
teacher and principal evaluation, the Department believes it is 
important for superintendents to be evaluated. We also believe that the 
definition of ``superintendent evaluation'' provides sufficient 
flexibility for applicants to propose evaluation systems that reflect 
their specific circumstances while aligning to the approaches to 
teacher and principal evaluation in other Department programs. We agree 
that the definition of ``superintendent evaluation'' should include a 
measure of student growth to allow even better alignment to teacher and 
principal evaluation approaches and are revising the definition 
accordingly.
    Changes: We have added language to the definition of 
``superintendent evaluation'' to indicate that student outcomes include 
student growth for all students (including English learners and 
students with disabilities).
    Comment: A commenter expressed concern that many of the teacher 
evaluation systems are currently being implemented without being 
piloted, field-tested, or validated and encouraged the Department to 
focus on those applicants that would build in such feedback systems in 
early implementation phases. The commenter

[[Page 47990]]

also urged the Department to stress the importance of implementing 
evaluation systems with fidelity. Another commenter indicated that 
tying teacher evaluations to student test scores had changed school 
culture from supporting innovation and trying new things to test 
preparation and a fear of change. The commenter further noted that 
teachers are leaving the profession and that good teachers are leaving 
at-risk schools for fear of being unable to improve the test scores of 
high-need children. On the other hand, this same commenter applauded 
the Department for shifting the rhetoric from removing bad teachers to 
developing teachers and elevating the profession.
    Discussion: To be eligible to receive a Race to the Top--District 
award, each LEA must include an assurance that it will implement not 
later than the 2014-2015 school year a teacher evaluation system that 
meets the Race to the Top--District requirements. In addition, an 
application from an individual LEA must include, among others, the 
signature of the local teacher union or association president if the 
LEA employs teachers who are represented by a teacher union or 
association (in a bargaining or non-bargaining State). For LEAs in 
which teachers do not have bargaining representation, applicants are 
asked to provide evidence that at least 70 percent of teachers in 
participating schools support the proposal. We believe that these 
requirements and selection criteria help to ensure that teacher 
evaluation systems are developed and implemented collaboratively with 
teacher representation. ESEA flexibility provides for a pilot year for 
teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. As of July 15, 
2013, thirty-nine States plus the District of Columbia have been 
approved for ESEA flexibility, and an additional six States plus Puerto 
Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education currently have requests under 
review. The remaining five States have either not yet requested ESEA 
flexibility, or have withdrawn their requests.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters asked that the Department, through the 
Race to the Top--District program, provide incentives for greater 
charter sector accountability and transparency through clear and 
measurable objectives in charter contracts; clear and rigorous 
guidelines and procedures for charter school application reviews and 
ongoing oversight; and regular, rigorous reviews of charter schools by 
authorizers.
    Discussion: We believe that the selection criteria require 
applicants to consider how they will rigorously review and measure the 
progress of participating schools, including charter schools, toward 
program goals. For example, the selection criteria require an applicant 
to include in its proposal strategies for ensuring that students are 
making progress toward college- and career-ready standards and 
graduation requirements. Under selection criterion (E)(1) an applicant 
also must present ``a high-quality plan for implementing a rigorous 
continuous process that provides timely and regular feedback on 
progress toward project goals and opportunities for ongoing corrections 
and improvements during and after the term of the grant.'' Given the 
emphasis on personalized learning, we do not believe it is appropriate 
to add a criterion focused specifically on charter school 
accountability, but applicants are not precluded from including an 
emphasis on this in their proposals, provided the proposals address the 
Race to the Top--District priorities, requirements, and criteria.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter expressed strong support for the proposed 
shift in the award ranges and lowering of the minimum number of 
participating students in the top range. The commenter suggested that 
this change will enable districts to take a more deliberate approach to 
the roll-out of personalized learning environments across a set of 
students and teachers within the district. Another commenter stated 
that for the largest award range, to ease the transition to 
implementing personalized learning environments, a grantee should be 
required to serve a minimum of 15,000 students during the first year of 
the grant and a minimum of 20,000 students during the second year of 
the grant. Similarly, another commenter recommended having a phase-in 
period that lasts beyond the first year of the grant.
    Discussion: The Department expects applicants to propose an 
ambitious yet achievable plan for implementing their proposals. We will 
not lower the minimum number of participating students for the first 
year within the largest award range because we want to encourage plans 
of sufficient size and scope to support bold, innovative reforms. In 
addition, applicants already have the flexibility to apply for the 
award range that aligns with their implementation and scale-up plans 
and to sequence activities in the way that best achieves the goals 
outlined in their proposal, provided that applicants begin 
implementation with a number of participating students not lower than 
the minimum number of participating students in the award range for 
which they applied and that they address the priorities, requirements, 
and selection criteria.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested the Department should 
emphasize that lower-capacity districts are allowed to collaborate and 
partner with higher-capacity districts to effectively leverage existing 
district strengths to improve struggling districts.
    Discussion: This approach to collaboration is permitted. The 
Department welcomes inter-district collaboration, and any LEAs may form 
consortia, provided they meet the eligibility and application 
requirements.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested eliminating the requirement 
that an applicant provide the State with the opportunity to comment on 
the application. The commenters noted that State educational agencies 
have formal and extensive educational expertise and missions but that 
they are not responsible for delivering educational services at the 
local level. A commenter requested that the Department clarify the 
weight that a peer reviewer should give to State comments during the 
application review process. The commenter expressed concern that 
assigning a high weight to such comments could stifle innovation at the 
local level. Another commenter stated that LEAs should have the freedom 
to identify and propose innovations that they feel best meet their 
needs, consistent with Federal requirements and State law. Furthermore, 
the commenters indicated that LEAs should not be required to document 
that the State ``declined'' to comment but rather that it should be 
sufficient for an applicant to provide evidence that the State was 
provided with the opportunity to comment for at least five business 
days.
    The same commenters also provided similar suggestions with respect 
to comments from local entities. The commenters suggested eliminating 
the requirement that an applicant provide the mayor or city or town 
administrator with the opportunity to comment on the application. A 
commenter stated that there is a profound mismatch of expertise, 
experience, accountability, liability, and mission between local school 
districts and local governments and that many city and county 
government leaders and managers are not required to have and do not 
have expertise in complex educational systems, just as many school 
board members or superintendents are not required to have and do not 
have

[[Page 47991]]

expertise on municipal services. Both commenters noted that a county or 
city could serve multiple school districts. A commenter stated that 
requiring an applicant to identify all entities eligible to submit 
comments, provide the application to these entities, and document all 
entities' decision not to comment or incorporate comments into the 
final application or otherwise attempt to respond to comments prior to 
submitting the final application is unnecessarily burdensome. The 
commenter further stated that it is unclear how an applicant should 
address or reconcile the comments received. One commenter expressed 
concern that collecting possibly contradictory and inconsistent 
feedback from multiple stakeholders could confuse rather than aid peer 
reviewers. A commenter further expressed concern that potential 
applicants could be discouraged from developing applications because of 
this additional layer of complexity in the application process.
    Discussion: The Department believes that applicants under the Race 
to the Top--District program have sufficient flexibility to develop 
proposals that best meet their needs. However, we also believe that it 
is important for State officials to have the opportunity to comment on 
applications, to identify whether the proposed reforms are aligned with 
statewide reform efforts, to provide assistance where relevant, and to 
provide meaningful comments on the proposals. We also believe that it 
is important that mayors (or city or town administrators) be given the 
opportunity to comment on the applications. Services provided by 
municipalities can help to support the educational reforms proposed in 
the applications. Mayors or other local officials can decline to 
comment on an application if they believe that it is out of their area 
of expertise or authority. The State and local comments are an 
application requirement and not related to a specific selection 
criterion. In addition, the application requirement permits LEAs to 
respond to the State and local comments where they feel it is 
necessary. Therefore, peer reviewers will take comments into 
consideration as appropriate when assessing relevant selection criteria 
such as stakeholder engagement and State context for implementation. 
The requirement that State and local officials comment on an 
application was in place for the first Race to the Top--District 
competition and the Department is not aware of these requirements 
preventing a potential applicant from applying.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters recommended the Department require any 
LEA located on Indian lands to consult with the appropriate tribes and 
provide them with the same 10-day period to comment on the application. 
The commenters requested that tribes be listed as potential partners 
and that an LEA on Indian lands receive additional preference points if 
it describes a plan to consult and partner with the applicable tribes. 
Further, the commenters stated that any LEA that does not participate 
in this consultation should be ineligible to receive a Race to the 
Top--District grant.
    Discussion: We agree that any LEA located on tribal lands, or 
proposing to address native student education should coordinate with 
the appropriate tribes when developing an application and implementing 
the project. Because local contexts vary significantly, applicants will 
need to demonstrate that they provided the mayor or other comparable 
local official at least 10 business days to comment on the application. 
We also emphasize stakeholder engagement in other sections. For 
example, selection criterion (B)(4) asks applicants to provide evidence 
of meaningful stakeholder engagement in the development of the proposal 
and meaningful stakeholder support for the proposal, and tribes are 
specifically noted in this criterion. Therefore, we feel that the 
language already addresses the commenters' suggestions and that no 
changes are necessary.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Some commenters supported requiring the signature of a 
local union leader on the application. These commenters noted the 
importance of labor-management collaboration to the successful 
implementation of school reforms. A commenter suggested that the 
Department require applicants to provide evidence that staff at the 
participating schools have been informed and agreed to participate in 
the proposal. A commenter asked that the Department carefully consider 
reasons given by applicants that indicate that the signature of a local 
teacher union or association president is ``not applicable.'' This 
commenter noted that, even with the collaboration requirements, some 
districts developed applications without the input of their union 
counterparts or asked for signatures at the last minute. A commenter 
also suggested that more importance and prominence should be given to 
approval by the local union president as a condition of participation 
in the Race to the Top--District program.
    A couple commenters encouraged the Department to require that 
memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements include the signature of a 
local teacher union or association president in order to assure that 
all parties have seen and agreed to all documents submitted for grant 
consideration. A commenter further suggested that consortium 
applications involving States/districts/schools with recognized 
bargaining agents and States/districts/schools without such 
representation include some indication of educator agreement in the 
LEAs lacking educator representation.
    A couple commenters recommended eliminating the requirement that a 
local teacher union or association president sign the application. 
These commenters noted that although the superintendent and school 
board are legal representatives of the school district as a unit of 
local government, the union is not. The commenters noted further that 
requiring the signature of the local teacher union or association 
misrepresents the respective roles of employees, superintendents, and 
school boards.
    Discussion: The Department believes that the support of educators 
is essential to help ensure that the proposed reforms will be effective 
in better preparing students for college and careers. Therefore, we 
will retain the requirement that, when applicable, an application 
include the signature of the local teacher union or association 
president. When reviewing applications for eligibility, the Department 
carefully considers those applications indicating that the union 
signature is not applicable. Consortium applicants are required to 
include the signature of a local teacher union or association 
president, where applicable, on each MOU. For individual LEA applicants 
and for each LEA in a consortium, if the signature of a local teacher 
union or association president is not required, applications are 
evaluated based on the extent to which the LEA has demonstrated that at 
least 70 percent of the teachers from participating schools support the 
proposal. Therefore, we believe that the requirements and selection 
criteria encourage sufficient levels of educator support.
    Finally, we believe requiring the signatures of the superintendent 
or chief executive officer (CEO), local school board president, and 
local teacher union or association president (where applicable) is 
important to maximizing the likelihood of timely, high-quality 
implementation of ambitious plans, and we will continue to require all 
three signatures.

[[Page 47992]]

    Changes: None.
    Comment: A couple commenters suggested that the Department include 
a savings clause that recognizes and supports existing collective 
bargaining agreements.
    Discussion: The FY 2012 NIA included a savings clause, and the FY 
2013 NIA also includes it.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter suggested that the Department require that an 
application include the local union or association president's 
signature, even in the absence of collective bargaining, to ensure the 
support of key stakeholders and to bolster the district's capacity for 
success.
    Discussion: Selection criterion (B)(4)(a)(ii) asks LEAs without 
collective bargaining representation to provide as part of the 
application evidence that at least 70 percent of teachers from 
participating schools (as defined in this notice) support the proposal. 
The Department believes that this selection criterion sufficiently 
encourages applicants to engage teachers in the development of the 
proposal and demonstrate support for it.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Some commenters suggested that, in the interest of 
transparency, the Department post more information about applicants. 
Specifically, the commenters suggested that before the competition the 
Department post all notices of intent to apply, including the names of 
each member of a consortium, and that after the competition the 
Department post all applications, including the signers of each 
application. A couple commenters described instances where union 
leaders were shown applications close to the deadline and felt 
pressured to sign with little or no time to review. A commenter 
suggested that the notices of intent to apply require the signatures of 
all school districts and their respective unions.
    Discussion: We agree that stakeholder engagement and transparency 
in these areas are very important. In the FY 2012 Race to the Top--
District competition, the Department posted a list of districts 
intending to apply, all winning applications, and the scores and 
comments for all applicants, and we will continue to do so in the FY 
2013 competition. We have not posted appendices for the FY 2012 
competition and do not anticipate posting them for the FY 2013 
competition due to the length of the appendices and the need to redact 
personally identifiable information. Therefore, we intend to explore 
ways to make more readily available the names of all people who signed 
applications and MOUs, for example by including them within the body of 
the application. We will consider revising the notice of intent to 
apply form to include the names of both member and lead LEAs for 
consortium applicants. We will include in the NIA and application the 
recommendation for LEAs to share with relevant stakeholders their 
intent to apply. Finally, in selection criterion (B)(4), to further 
emphasize the importance of early stakeholder engagement, we are 
replacing the word ``in'' with the word ``throughout'' so that the 
criterion asks for meaningful stakeholder engagement ``throughout'' the 
development of the proposal.
    Changes: We plan to make more readily available the names of all 
individuals who signed the application and MOUs, request names of 
member and lead LEAs for consortium applicants in notices of intent to 
apply, and include in the NIA the recommendation for LEAs to share with 
relevant stakeholders their intent to apply. In selection criterion 
(B)(4), we are replacing the word ``in'' with the word ``throughout.''

Final Priorities

    The Secretary establishes six priorities. The Department may apply 
one or more of these priorities in any year in which a competition for 
program funds is held. In addition, in any year in which a Race to the 
Top--District competition is held, we may include priorities from the 
notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for 
discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on 
December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 
276637).
    Priority 1--Personalized Learning Environments.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must coherently and 
comprehensively address how it will build on the core educational 
assurance areas (as defined in this notice) to create learning 
environments that are designed to significantly improve learning and 
teaching through the personalization of strategies, tools, and supports 
for students and educators that are aligned with college- and career-
ready standards (as defined in this notice) or college- and career-
ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice); accelerate 
student achievement and deepen student learning by meeting the academic 
needs of each student; increase the effectiveness of educators; expand 
student access to the most effective educators; decrease achievement 
gaps across student groups; and increase the rates at which students 
graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.
    Priority 2--Non-Rural LEAs in Race to the Top States.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Race to the Top Phase 1, 2, and 3 States are: Arizona, 
Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, 
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North 
Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the 
District of Columbia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To meet this priority, an applicant must be an LEA or a consortium 
of LEAs in which more than 50 percent of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) are in non-rural LEAs in States that received 
awards under the Race to the Top Phase 1, Phase 2, or Phase 3 
competition.
    Priority 3--Rural LEAs in Race to the Top States.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must be an LEA or a consortium 
of LEAs in which more than 50 percent of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) are in rural LEAs (as defined in this notice) 
in States that received awards under the Race to the Top Phase 1, Phase 
2, or Phase 3 competition.
    Priority 4--Non-Rural LEAs in non-Race to the Top States.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must be an LEA or a consortium 
of LEAs in which more than 50 percent of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) are in non-rural LEAs in States that did not 
receive awards under the Race to the Top Phase 1, Phase 2, or Phase 3 
competition.
    Priority 5--Rural LEAs in non-Race to the Top States.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must be an LEA or a consortium 
of LEAs in which more than 50 percent of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) are in rural LEAs (as defined in this notice) 
in States that did not receive awards under the Race to the Top Phase 
1, Phase 2, or Phase 3 competition.
    Priority 6--Results, Resource Alignment, and Integrated Services.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must demonstrate the extent to 
which the applicant proposes to integrate public or private resources 
in a partnership designed to augment the schools' resources by 
providing additional student and family supports to schools that 
address the social, emotional, or behavioral needs of the participating 
students (as defined in this notice), giving highest priority to 
students in participating schools (as defined in this notice) with 
high-need students (as defined in this notice). To meet this priority, 
an applicant's proposal does not need to be comprehensive and may 
provide

[[Page 47993]]

student and family supports that focus on a subset of these needs.
    To meet this priority, an applicant must--
    (1) Provide a description of the coherent and sustainable 
partnership to support the plan described in Priority 1 that it has 
formed with public or private organizations, such as public health, 
before-school, after-school, and social service providers; integrated 
student service providers; businesses, philanthropies, civic groups, 
and other community-based organizations; early learning programs; and 
postsecondary institutions;
    (2) Identify not more than 10 population-level desired results for 
students in the LEA or consortium of LEAs that align with and support 
the applicant's broader Race to the Top--District proposal. These 
results must include both (a) educational results or other education 
outcomes (e.g., children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed in 
school, children exit third grade reading at grade level, and students 
graduate from high school college- and career-ready) and (b) family and 
community supports (as defined in this notice) results;
    (3) Describe how the partnership would--
    (a) Track the selected indicators that measure each result at the 
aggregate level for all children within the LEA or consortium and at 
the student level for the participating students (as defined in this 
notice);
    (b) Use the data to target its resources in order to improve 
results for participating students (as defined in this notice), with 
special emphasis on students facing significant challenges, such as 
students with disabilities, English learners, and students affected by 
poverty (including highly mobile students), family instability, or 
other child welfare issues;
    (c) Develop a strategy to scale the model beyond the participating 
students (as defined in this notice) to at least other high-need 
students (as defined in this notice) and communities in the LEA or 
consortium over time; and
    (d) Improve results over time;
    (4) Describe how the partnership would, within participating 
schools (as defined in this notice), integrate education and other 
services (e.g., services that address social-emotional and behavioral 
needs, acculturation for immigrants and refugees) for participating 
students (as defined in this notice);
    (5) Describe how the partnership and LEA or consortium would build 
the capacity of staff in participating schools (as defined in this 
notice) by providing them with tools and supports to--
    (a) Assess the needs and assets of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) that are aligned with the partnership's goals 
for improving the education and family and community supports (as 
defined in this notice) identified by the partnership;
    (b) Identify and inventory the needs and assets of the school and 
community that are aligned with those goals for improving the education 
and family and community supports (as defined in this notice) 
identified by the applicant;
    (c) Create a decision-making process and infrastructure to select, 
implement, and evaluate supports that address the individual needs of 
participating students (as defined in this notice) and support improved 
results;
    (d) Engage parents and families of participating students (as 
defined in this notice) in both decision-making about solutions to 
improve results over time and in addressing student, family, and school 
needs; and
    (e) Routinely assess the applicant's progress in implementing its 
plan to maximize impact and resolve challenges and problems; and
    (6) Identify its annual ambitious yet achievable performance 
measures for the proposed population-level and describe desired results 
for students.

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 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)).

Final Eligibility Requirements

    The Secretary establishes the following requirements that an LEA or 
consortium of LEAs must meet in order to be eligible to receive funds 
under this competition. We may apply one or more of these requirements 
in any year in which this program is in effect.
    (1) Eligible applicants: To be eligible for a grant under this 
competition:
    (a) An applicant must be an individual LEA (as defined in this 
notice) or a consortium of individual LEAs from one of the 50 States, 
the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
    (i) LEAs may apply for all or a portion of their schools, for 
specific grades, or for subject-area bands (e.g., lowest-performing 
schools, secondary schools, schools connected by a feeder pattern, 
middle school math, or preschool through third grade).
    (ii) Consortia may include LEAs from multiple States.
    (iii) Each LEA may participate in only one Race to the Top--
District application. Successful applicants (i.e., grantees) from past 
Race to the Top--District competitions may not apply for additional 
funding.
    (b) An applicant must serve a minimum of 2,000 participating 
students (as defined in this notice) or may serve fewer than 2,000 
participating students (as defined in this notice) provided those 
students are served by a consortium of at least 10 LEAs and at least 75 
percent of the students served by each LEA are participating students 
(as defined in this notice). An applicant must base its requested award 
amount on the number of participating students (as defined in this 
notice) it proposes to serve at the time of application or within the 
first 100 days of the grant award.
    (c) At least 40 percent of participating students (as defined in 
this notice) across all participating schools (as defined in this 
notice) must be students from low-income families, based on eligibility 
for free or reduced-price lunch subsidies under the Richard B. Russell 
National School Lunch Act, or other poverty measures that LEAs use to 
make awards under section 1113(a) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). If an applicant has not 
identified all participating schools (as defined in this notice) at the 
time of application, it must provide an assurance that within 100 days 
of the grant award it will meet this requirement.
    (d) An applicant must demonstrate its commitment to the core 
educational

[[Page 47994]]

assurance areas (as defined in this notice), including, for each LEA 
included in an application, an assurance signed by the LEA's 
superintendent or chief executive officer (CEO) that--
    (i) The LEA, at a minimum, will implement no later than the 2014-
2015 school year--
    (A) A teacher evaluation system (as defined in this notice);
    (B) A principal evaluation system (as defined in this notice); and
    (C) A superintendent evaluation (as defined in this notice);
    (ii) The LEA is committed to preparing all students for college or 
career, as demonstrated by--
    (A) Being located in a State that has adopted college- and career-
ready standards (as defined in this notice); or
    (B) Measuring all student progress and performance against college- 
and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice);
    (iii) The LEA has a robust data system that has, at a minimum--
    (A) An individual teacher identifier with a teacher-student match; 
and
    (B) The capability to provide timely data back to educators and 
their supervisors on student growth (as defined in this notice);
    (iv) The LEA has the capability to receive or match student-level 
preschool-through-12th grade and higher education data; and
    (v) The LEA ensures that any disclosure of or access to personally 
identifiable information in students' education records complies with 
the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
    (e) Required signatures for the LEA or lead LEA in a consortium are 
those of the superintendent or CEO, local school board president, and 
local teacher union or association president (where applicable).

Final Application Requirements

    The Secretary establishes the following application requirements 
for the application an LEA or consortium of LEAs would submit to the 
Department for funding under this competition. We may apply one or more 
of these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.
    (1) State comment period. Each LEA included in an application must 
provide its State at least 10 business days to comment on the LEA's 
application and submit as part of its application package--
    (a) The State's comments or, if the State declined to comment, 
evidence that the LEA offered the State 10 business days to comment; 
and
    (b) The LEA's response to the State's comments (optional).
    (2) Mayor (or city or town administrator) comment period. Each LEA 
included in an application must provide its mayor or other comparable 
official at least 10 business days to comment on the LEA's application 
and submit as part of its application package--
    (a) The mayor or city or town administrator's comments or, if that 
individual declines to comment, evidence that the LEA offered such 
official 10 business days to comment; and
    (b) The LEA's response to the mayor or city or town administrator 
comments (optional).
    (3) Consortium. For LEAs applying as a consortium, the application 
must--
    (a) Indicate, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, whether--
    (i) One member of the consortium is applying for a grant on behalf 
of the consortium; or
    (ii) The consortium has established itself as a separate, eligible 
legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf;
    (b) Be signed by--
    (i) If one member of the consortium is applying for a grant on 
behalf of the consortium, the superintendent or CEO, local school board 
president, and local teacher union or association president (where 
applicable) of that LEA; or
    (ii) If the consortium has established itself as a separate 
eligible legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf, a 
legal representative of the consortium; and
    (c) Include, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, for each LEA in the 
consortium, copies of all memoranda of understanding or other binding 
agreements related to the consortium. These binding agreements must--
    (i) Detail the activities that each member of the consortium plans 
to perform;
    (ii) Describe the consortium governance structure (as defined in 
this notice);
    (iii) Bind each member of the consortium to every statement and 
assurance made in the application; and
    (iv) Include an assurance signed by the LEA's superintendent or CEO 
that--
    (A) The LEA, at a minimum, will implement no later than the 2014-
2015 school year--
    (1) A teacher evaluation system (as defined in this notice);
    (2) A principal evaluation system (as defined in this notice); and
    (3) A superintendent evaluation (as defined in this notice);
    (B) The LEA is committed to preparing students for college or 
career, as demonstrated by--
    (1) Being located in a State that has adopted college- and career-
ready standards (as defined in this notice); or
    (2) Measuring all student progress and performance against college- 
and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice);
    (C) The LEA has a robust data system that has, at a minimum--
    (1) An individual teacher identifier with a teacher-student match; 
and
    (2) The capability to provide timely data back to educators and 
their supervisors on student growth (as defined in this notice);
    (D) The LEA has the capability to receive or match student-level 
preschool-through-12th grade and higher education data; and
    (E) The LEA ensures that any disclosure of or access to personally 
identifiable information in students' education records complies with 
the FERPA; and
    (v) Be signed by the superintendent or CEO, local school board 
president, and local teacher union or association president (where 
applicable).

Final Program Requirements

    The Secretary establishes the following requirements for LEAs 
receiving funds under this competition. We may apply one or more of 
these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.
    (1) An applicant's budget request for all years of its project must 
fall within the applicable budget range as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Number of participating students (as defined in this    Award range  ($
                        notice)                             million)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2,000-5,000 or Fewer than 2,000, provided those                     4-10
 students are served by a consortium of at least 10
 LEAs and at least 75 percent of the students served
 by each LEA are participating students (as defined in
 this notice).........................................
5,001-10,000..........................................             10-20
10,001-20,000.........................................             20-25
20,001+...............................................             25-30
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 47995]]

    The Department will not consider an application that requests a 
budget outside the applicable range of awards.
    (2) A grantee must commit to participate in any national evaluation 
of the program and work with the Department and with a national 
evaluator or another entity designated by the Department to ensure that 
data collection and program design are consistent with plans to conduct 
a rigorous national evaluation of the program and of specific solutions 
and strategies pursued by individual grantees. This commitment must 
include, but need not be limited to--
    (i) Consistent with 34 CFR 80.36 and State and local procurement 
procedures, grantees must include in contracts with external vendors 
provisions that allow contractors to provide implementation data to the 
LEA, the Department, the national evaluator, or other appropriate 
entities in ways consistent with all privacy laws and regulations.
    (ii) Developing, in consultation with the national evaluator, a 
plan for identifying and collecting reliable and valid baseline data 
for program participants.
    (3) LEAs must share metadata about content alignment with college- 
and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) and use through 
open-standard registries.
    (4) LEAs in which minority students or students with disabilities 
are disproportionately subject to discipline (as defined in this 
notice) and expulsion (according to data submitted through the 
Department's Civil Rights Data Collection, which is available at http://ocrdata.ed.gov/) must conduct a district assessment of the root causes 
of the disproportionate discipline and expulsions. These LEAs must also 
develop a detailed plan over the grant period to address these root 
causes and to reduce disproportionate discipline (as defined in this 
notice) and expulsions.
    (5) Each grantee must make all project implementation and student 
data available to the Department and its authorized representatives in 
compliance with FERPA, as applicable.
    (6) Grantees must ensure that requests for information (RFIs) and 
requests for proposal (RFPs) developed as part of this grant are made 
public, and are consistent with the requirements of State and local 
law.
    (7) Within 100 days of award, each grantee must submit to the 
Department--
    (i) A scope of work that is consistent with its grant application 
and includes specific goals, activities, deliverables, timelines, 
budgets, key personnel, and annual targets for key performance 
measures; and
    (ii) An individual school implementation plan for participating 
schools (as defined in this notice).
    (8) Within 100 days of award, each grantee must demonstrate that at 
least 40 percent of participating students (as defined in this notice) 
in participating schools (as defined in this notice) are from low-
income families, based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch 
subsidies under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, or 
other poverty measures that LEAs use to make awards under section 
1113(a) of the ESEA.

Final Definitions

    The Secretary establishes the following definitions for terms not 
defined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (or, by 
reference, in the ESEA). We may apply one or more of these definitions 
in any year in which this program is in effect.
    Achievement gap means the difference in the performance between 
each subgroup (as defined in this notice) within a participating LEA or 
school and the statewide average performance of the LEA's or State's 
highest-achieving subgroups in reading or language arts and in 
mathematics as measured by the assessments required under the ESEA, as 
amended.
    College- and career-ready graduation requirements means minimum 
high school graduation expectations (e.g., completion of a minimum 
course of study, content mastery, proficiency on college- and career-
ready assessments) that are aligned with a rigorous, robust, and well-
rounded curriculum and that cover a wide range of academic and 
technical knowledge and skills to ensure that by the time students 
graduate high school, they satisfy requirements for admission into 
credit-bearing courses commonly required by the State's public four-
year degree-granting institutions.
    College- and career-ready standards means content standards for 
kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-
ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice). A State's 
college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that 
are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are 
approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which 
must certify that students who meet the standards will not need 
remedial course work at the postsecondary level.
    College enrollment means the enrollment of students who graduate 
from high school consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(i) and who enroll 
in a public institution of higher education in the State (as defined in 
section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 
U.S.C. 1001) within 16 months of graduation.
    Consortium governance structure means the consortium's structure 
for carrying out its operations, including--
    (1) The organizational structure of the consortium and the 
differentiated roles that a member LEA may hold (e.g., lead LEA, member 
LEA);
    (2) For each differentiated role, the associated rights and 
responsibilities, including rights and responsibilities for adopting 
and implementing the consortium's proposal for a grant;
    (3) The consortium's method and process (e.g., consensus, majority) 
for making different types of decisions (e.g., policy, operational);
    (4) The protocols by which the consortium will operate, including 
the protocols for member LEAs to change roles or leave the consortium;
    (5) The consortium's procedures for managing funds received under 
this grant;
    (6) The terms and conditions of the memorandum of understanding or 
other binding agreement executed by each member LEA; and
    (7) The consortium's procurement process, and evidence of each 
member LEA's commitment to that process.
    Core educational assurance areas means the four key areas 
originally identified in the ARRA to support comprehensive education 
reform: (1) Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to 
succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global 
economy; (2) building data systems that measure student growth and 
success, and inform teachers and principals with data about how they 
can improve instruction; (3) recruiting, developing, rewarding, and 
retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are 
needed most; and (4) turning around lowest-achieving schools.
    Digital learning content means learning materials and resources 
that can be displayed on an electronic device and shared electronically 
with other users. Digital learning content includes both open source 
and commercial content. In order to comply with the requirements of the 
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, any digital learning content 
used by grantees must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, 
including individuals who use screen readers. For additional 
information regarding the

[[Page 47996]]

application of these laws to technology, please refer to www.ed.gov/ocr/letters/colleague-201105-ese.pdf and www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.pdf.
    Discipline means any disciplinary measure collected by the 2009-
2010 or 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection (see http://ocrdata.ed.gov).
    Educators means all education professionals and education 
paraprofessionals working in participating schools (as defined in this 
notice), including principals or other heads of a school, teachers, 
other professional instructional staff (e.g., staff involved in 
curriculum development or staff development, bilingual/English as a 
Second Language (ESL) specialists, or instructional staff who operate 
library, media, and computer centers), pupil support services staff 
(e.g., guidance counselors, nurses, speech pathologists), other 
administrators (e.g., assistant principals, discipline specialists), 
and education paraprofessionals (e.g., assistant teachers, bilingual/
ESL instructional aides).
    Effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and 
for each subgroup, achieve acceptable rates (e.g., at least one grade 
level in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this 
notice) as defined in the LEA's principal evaluation system (as defined 
in this notice).
    Effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve acceptable 
rates (e.g., at least one grade level in an academic year) of student 
growth (as defined in this notice) as defined in the LEA's teacher 
evaluation system (as defined in this notice).
    Family and community supports means--
    (1) Child and youth health programs, such as physical, mental, 
behavioral, and emotional health programs (e.g., home visiting 
programs; Head Start; Early Head Start; programs to improve nutrition 
and fitness, reduce childhood obesity, and create healthier 
communities);
    (2) Safety programs, such as programs in school and out of school 
to prevent, control, and reduce crime, violence, drug and alcohol use, 
and gang activity; programs that address classroom and school-wide 
behavior and conduct; programs to prevent child abuse and neglect; 
programs to prevent truancy and reduce and prevent bullying and 
harassment; and programs to improve the physical and emotional security 
of the school setting as perceived, experienced, and created by 
students, staff, and families;
    (3) Community stability programs, such as programs that: (a) 
Provide adult education and employment opportunities and training to 
improve educational levels, job skills, and readiness in order to 
decrease unemployment, with a goal of increasing family stability; (b) 
improve families' awareness of, access to, and use of a range of social 
services, if possible at a single location; (c) provide unbiased, 
outcome-focused, and comprehensive financial education, inside and 
outside the classroom and at every life stage; (d) increase access to 
traditional financial institutions (e.g., banks and credit unions) 
rather than alternative financial institutions (e.g., check cashers and 
payday lenders); (e) help families increase their financial literacy, 
financial assets, and savings; (f) help families access transportation 
to education and employment opportunities; and (g) provide supports and 
services to students who are homeless, in foster care, migrant, or 
highly mobile; and
    (4) Family and community engagement programs that are systemic, 
integrated, sustainable, and continue through a student's transition 
from K-12 schooling to college and career. These programs may include 
family literacy programs and programs that provide adult education and 
training and opportunities for family members and other members of the 
community to support student learning and establish high expectations 
for student educational achievement; mentorship programs that create 
positive relationships between children and adults; programs that 
provide for the use of such community resources as libraries, museums, 
television and radio stations, and local businesses to support improved 
student educational outcomes; programs that support the engagement of 
families in early learning programs and services; programs that provide 
guidance on how to navigate through a complex school system and how to 
advocate for more and improved learning opportunities; and programs 
that promote collaboration with educators and community organizations 
to improve opportunities for healthy development and learning.
    Graduation rate means the four-year or extended-year adjusted 
cohort graduation rate as defined by 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1).
    High-minority school is defined by the LEA in a manner consistent 
with its State's Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 
1111(b)(8)(C) of the ESEA. The LEA must provide, in its Race to the 
Top--District application, the definition used.
    High-need students means students at risk of educational failure or 
otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students 
who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined 
in this notice), who are far below grade level, who have left school 
before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not 
graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster 
care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are 
English learners.
    High-quality plan means a plan that includes key goals, activities 
to be undertaken and the rationale for the activities, the timeline, 
the deliverables, and the parties responsible for implementing the 
activities.
    Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, 
overall and for each subgroup, achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-
half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in 
this notice) as defined under the LEA's principal evaluation system (as 
defined in this notice).
    Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve 
high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of 
student growth (as defined in this notice) as defined under the LEA's 
teacher evaluation system (as defined in this notice).
    Interoperable data system means a system that uses a common, 
established structure such that data can easily flow from one system to 
another and in which data are in a non-proprietary, open format.
    Local educational agency is an entity as defined in section 
9101(26) of the ESEA, except that an entity described under section 
9101(26)(D) must be recognized under applicable State law as a local 
educational agency.
    Low-performing school means a school that is in the bottom 10 
percent of performance in the State, or that has significant 
achievement gaps, based on student academic performance in reading/
language arts and mathematics on the assessments required under the 
ESEA, or that has a graduation rate (as defined in this notice) below 
60 percent.
    Metadata means information about digital learning content such as 
the grade or age for which it is intended, the topic or standard to 
which it is aligned, or the type of resource it is (e.g., video, 
image).
    On-track indicator means a measure, available at a time 
sufficiently early to allow for intervention, of a single student 
characteristic (e.g., number of days absent, number of discipline 
referrals, number of credits earned), or a composite of multiple 
characteristics, that is both predictive of student success (e.g., 
students demonstrating the measure graduate at an 80 percent rate)

[[Page 47997]]

and comprehensive of students who succeed (e.g., of all graduates, 90 
percent demonstrated the indicator). Using multiple indicators that are 
collectively comprehensive but vary by student characteristics may be 
an appropriate alternative to a single indicator that applies to all 
students.
    Open data format means data that are available in a non-
proprietary, machine-readable format (e.g., Extensible Markup Language 
(XML) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)) such that they can be 
understood by a computer. Digital formats that require extraction, data 
translation such as optical character recognition, or other 
manipulation in order to be used in electronic systems are not machine-
readable formats.
    Open-standard registry means a digital platform, such as the 
Learning Registry, that facilitates the exchange of information about 
digital learning content (as defined in this notice), including (1) 
alignment of content with college- and career-ready standards (as 
defined in this notice) and (2) usage information about learning 
content used by educators (as defined in this notice). This digital 
platform must have the capability to share content information with 
other LEAs and with State educational agencies.
    Participating school means a school that is identified by the 
applicant and chooses to work with the applicant to implement the plan 
under Priority 1, either in one or more specific grade spans or subject 
areas or throughout the entire school and affecting a significant 
number of its students.
    Participating student means a student enrolled in a participating 
school (as defined in this notice) and who is directly served by an 
applicant's plan under Priority 1.
    Persistently lowest-achieving school means, as determined by the 
State, consistent with the requirements of the School Improvement 
Grants (SIG) program authorized by section 1003(g) of the ESEA,\2\ (1) 
any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring 
that (a) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools 
in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the lowest-
achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater; or 
(b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate (as defined in this 
notice) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; and (2) 
any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title 
I funds that (a) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of 
secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the 
State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, 
whichever number of schools is greater; or (b) is a high school that 
has had a graduation rate (as defined in this notice) that is less than 
60 percent over a number of years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The Department considers schools that are identified as Tier 
I or Tier II schools under the SIG program (see 75 FR 66363) as part 
of a State's approved applications to be persistently lowest-
achieving schools. A list of these Tier I and Tier II schools can be 
found on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To identify the lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into 
account both (1) the academic achievement of the ``all students'' group 
in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under 
section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading or language arts and in 
mathematics combined; and (2) the school's lack of progress on those 
assessments over a number of years in the ``all students'' group.
    Principal evaluation system means a system that: (1) Is used for 
continual improvement of instructional leadership; (2) meaningfully 
differentiates performance using at least three performance levels; (3) 
uses multiple valid measures in determining performance levels, 
including, as a significant factor, data on student growth (as defined 
in this notice) for all students (including English learners and 
students with disabilities), as well as other measures of professional 
practice (which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, 
such as observations based on rigorous leadership performance 
standards, teacher evaluation data, and student and parent surveys); 
(4) evaluates principals on a regular basis; (5) provides clear, 
timely, and useful feedback, including feedback that identifies and 
guides professional development needs; and (6) is used to inform 
personnel decisions.
    Rural local educational agency means an LEA, at the time of the 
application, that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement 
(SRSA) program or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program 
authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may 
determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by 
referring to information on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/reapsrsa/eligible13/index.html.
    School leadership team means a team that leads the implementation 
of improvement and other initiatives at the school and is composed of 
the principal or other head of a school, teachers, and other educators 
(as defined in this notice), and, as applicable, other school 
employees, parents, students, and other community members. In cases 
where statute or local policy, including collective bargaining 
agreements, establishes a school leadership team, that body shall serve 
as the school leadership team for the purpose of this program.
    Student growth means the change in student achievement for an 
individual student between two or more points in time, defined as--
    (1) For grades and subjects in which assessments are required under 
ESEA section 1111(b)(3): (a) A student's score on such assessments; and 
(b) may include other measures of student learning, such as those 
described in (2) below, provided they are rigorous and comparable 
across schools within an LEA.
    (2) For grades and subjects in which assessments are not required 
under ESEA section 1111(b)(3): Alternative measures of student learning 
and performance, such as student results on pre-tests, end-of-course 
tests, and objective performance-based assessments; performance against 
student learning objectives; student performance on English language 
proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that 
are rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA.
    Student-level data means demographic, performance, and other 
information that pertains to a single student.
    Student performance data means information about the academic 
progress of a single student, such as formative and summative 
assessment data, information on completion of coursework, instructor 
observations, information about student engagement and time on task, 
and similar information.
    Subgroup means each category of students identified under section 
1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II) of the ESEA and any combined subgroup used in the 
State accountability system that is approved by the Department in a 
State's request for ESEA flexibility.
    Superintendent evaluation means a rigorous, transparent, and fair 
annual evaluation of an LEA superintendent that provides an assessment 
of performance and encourages professional growth. This evaluation must 
reflect: (1) The feedback of many stakeholders, including but not 
limited to educators, principals, and parents; and (2) student 
outcomes, including student growth for all students (including English 
learners and students with disabilities).

[[Page 47998]]

    Teacher evaluation system means a system that: (1) Is used for 
continual improvement of instruction; (2) meaningfully differentiates 
performance using at least three performance levels; (3) uses multiple 
valid measures in determining performance levels, including, as a 
significant factor, data on student growth (as defined in this notice) 
for all students (including English learners and students with 
disabilities), as well as other measures of professional practice 
(which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, such as 
observations based on rigorous teacher performance standards, teacher 
portfolios, and student and parent surveys); (4) evaluates teachers on 
a regular basis; (5) provides clear, timely, and useful feedback, 
including feedback that identifies and guides professional development 
needs; and (6) is used to inform personnel decisions.
    Teacher of record means an individual (or individuals in a co-
teaching assignment) who has been assigned the lead responsibility for 
a student's learning in a subject or course.

Final Selection Criteria

    The Secretary establishes the following selection criteria for 
evaluating an application under this competition. We may apply one or 
more of these criteria or sub-criteria, any of the selection criteria 
in 34 CFR 75.210, criteria based on statutory requirements for the 
program in accordance with 34 CFR 75.209, or any combination of these 
in any year in which this program is in effect. In the notice inviting 
applications, the application package, or both, the Department will 
announce the selection criteria that apply to a competition and the 
maximum possible points assigned to each criterion.
A. Vision
    (1) The extent to which the applicant has set forth a comprehensive 
and coherent reform vision that--
    (a) Builds on its work in four core educational assurance areas (as 
defined in this notice);
    (b) Articulates a clear and credible approach to the goals of 
accelerating student achievement, deepening student learning, and 
increasing equity through personalized student support grounded in 
common and individual tasks that are based on student academic 
interests; and
    (c) Describes what the classroom experience will be like for 
students and teachers participating in personalized learning 
environments.
    (2) The extent to which the applicant's approach to implementing 
its reform proposal (e.g., schools, grade bands, or subject areas) will 
support high-quality LEA-level and school-level implementation of that 
proposal, including--
    (a) A description of the process that the applicant used or will 
use to select schools to participate. The process must ensure that the 
participating schools (as defined in this notice) collectively meet the 
competition's eligibility requirements;
    (b) A list of the schools that will participate in grant activities 
(as available); and
    (c) The total number of participating students (as defined in this 
notice), participating students (as defined in this notice) from low-
income families, participating students (as defined in this notice) who 
are high-need students (as defined in this notice), and participating 
educators (as defined in this notice). If participating schools (as 
defined in this notice) have yet to be selected, the applicant may 
provide approximate numbers.
    (3) The extent to which the application includes a high-quality 
plan (as defined in this notice) describing how the reform proposal 
will be scaled up and translated into meaningful reform to support 
district-wide change beyond the participating schools (as defined in 
this notice), and will help the applicant reach its outcome goals 
(e.g., the applicant's logic model or theory of change of how its plan 
will improve student learning outcomes for all students who would be 
served by the applicant).
    (4) The extent to which the applicant's vision is likely to result 
in improved student learning and performance and increased equity as 
demonstrated by ambitious yet achievable annual goals that are equal to 
or exceed State ESEA targets for the LEA(s), overall and by student 
subgroup (as defined in this notice), for each participating LEA in the 
following areas:
    (a) Performance on summative assessments (proficiency status and 
growth).
    (b) Decreasing achievement gaps (as defined in this notice).
    (c) Graduation rates (as defined in this notice).
    (d) College enrollment (as defined in this notice) rates.
    Optional: The extent to which the applicant's vision is likely to 
result in improved student learning and performance and increased 
equity as demonstrated by ambitious yet achievable annual goals for 
each participating LEA in the following area:
    (e) Postsecondary degree attainment.
B. Prior Record of Success and Conditions for Reform
    The extent to which each LEA has demonstrated evidence of--
    (1) A clear record of success in the past four years in advancing 
student learning and achievement and increasing equity in learning and 
teaching, including a description, charts or graphs, raw student data, 
and other evidence that demonstrates the applicant's ability to--
    (a) Improve student learning outcomes and close achievement gaps 
(as defined in this notice), including by raising student achievement, 
high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), and college 
enrollment (as defined in this notice) rates;
    (b) Achieve ambitious and significant reforms in its persistently 
lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice) or in its low-
performing schools (as defined in this notice); and
    (c) Make student performance data (as defined in this notice) 
available to students, educators (as defined in this notice), and 
parents in ways that inform and improve participation, instruction, and 
services.
    (2) A high level of transparency in LEA processes, practices, and 
investments, including by making public, by school, actual school-level 
expenditures for regular K-12 instruction, instructional support, pupil 
support, and school administration. At a minimum, this information must 
include a description of the extent to which the applicant already 
makes available the following four categories of school-level 
expenditures from State and local funds:
    (a) Actual personnel salaries at the school level for all school-
level instructional and support staff, based on the U.S. Census 
Bureau's classification used in the F-33 survey of local government 
finances (information on the survey can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/f33agency.asp);
    (b) Actual personnel salaries at the school level for instructional 
staff only;
    (c) Actual personnel salaries at the school level for teachers 
only; and
    (d) Actual non-personnel expenditures at the school level (if 
available).
    (3) Successful conditions and sufficient autonomy under State 
legal, statutory, and regulatory requirements to implement the 
personalized learning environments described in the applicant's 
proposal;
    (4) Meaningful stakeholder engagement throughout the development of 
the proposal and meaningful stakeholder support for the proposal, 
including--

[[Page 47999]]

    (a) A description of how students, families, teachers, and 
principals in participating schools (as defined in this notice) were 
engaged in the development of the proposal and, as appropriate, how the 
proposal was revised based on their engagement and feedback, 
including--
    (i) For LEAs with collective bargaining representation, evidence of 
direct engagement and support for the proposals from teachers in 
participating schools (as defined in this notice); or
    (ii) For LEAs without collective bargaining representation, at a 
minimum, evidence that at least 70 percent of teachers from 
participating schools (as defined in this notice) support the proposal; 
and
    (b) Letters of support from such key stakeholders as parents and 
parent organizations, student organizations, early learning programs, 
tribes, the business community, civil rights organizations, advocacy 
groups, local civic and community-based organizations, and institutions 
of higher education.
C. Preparing Students for College and Careers
    The extent to which the applicant has a high-quality plan (as 
defined in this notice) for improving learning and teaching by 
personalizing the learning environment in order to provide all students 
the support to graduate college- and career-ready. This plan must 
include an approach to implementing instructional strategies for all 
participating students (as defined in this notice) that enable 
participating students to pursue a rigorous course of study aligned to 
college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) and 
college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this 
notice) and accelerate his or her learning through support of his or 
her needs. This includes the extent to which the applicant proposes an 
approach that includes the following:
    (1) Learning: An approach to learning that engages and empowers all 
learners, in particular high-need students (as defined in this notice), 
in an age-appropriate manner such that:
    (a) With the support of parents and educators, all students--
    (i) Understand that what they are learning is key to their success 
in accomplishing their goals;
    (ii) Identify and pursue learning and development goals linked to 
college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) or 
college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this 
notice), understand how to structure their learning to achieve their 
goals, and measure progress toward those goals;
    (iii) Are able to be involved in deep learning experiences in areas 
of academic interest;
    (iv) Have access and exposure to diverse cultures, contexts, and 
perspectives that motivate and deepen individual student learning; and
    (v) Master critical academic content and develop skills and traits 
such as goal-setting, teamwork, perseverance, critical thinking, 
communication, creativity, and problem-solving;
    (b) With the support of parents and educators (as defined in this 
notice), each student has access to--
    (i) A personalized sequence of instructional content and skill 
development designed to enable the student to achieve his or her 
individual learning goals and ensure he or she can graduate on time and 
college- and career-ready;
    (ii) A variety of high-quality instructional approaches and 
environments;
    (iii) High-quality content, including digital learning content (as 
defined in this notice) as appropriate, aligned with college- and 
career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) or college- and 
career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice);
    (iv) Ongoing and regular feedback, including, at a minimum--
    (A) Frequently updated individual student data that can be used to 
determine progress toward mastery of college- and career-ready 
standards (as defined in this notice), or college- and career-ready 
graduation requirements (as defined in this notice); and
    (B) Personalized learning recommendations based on the student's 
current knowledge and skills, college- and career-ready standards (as 
defined in this notice) or college- and career-ready graduation 
requirements (as defined in this notice), and available content, 
instructional approaches, and supports; and
    (v) Accommodations and high-quality strategies for high-need 
students (as defined in this notice) to help ensure that they are on 
track toward meeting college- and career-ready standards (as defined in 
this notice) or college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as 
defined in this notice); and
    (c) Mechanisms are in place to provide training and support to 
students that will ensure that they understand how to use the tools and 
resources provided to them in order to track and manage their learning.
    (2) Teaching and Leading: An approach to teaching and leading that 
helps educators (as defined in this notice) to improve instruction and 
increase their capacity to support student progress toward meeting 
college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) or 
college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this 
notice) by enabling the full implementation of personalized learning 
and teaching for all students, in particular high-need students (as 
defined in this notice), such that:
    (a) All participating educators (as defined in this notice) engage 
in training, and in professional teams or communities, that supports 
their individual and collective capacity to--
    (i) Support the effective implementation of personalized learning 
environments and strategies that meet each student's academic needs and 
help ensure all students can graduate on time and college- and career-
ready;
    (ii) Adapt content and instruction, providing opportunities for 
students to engage in common and individual tasks, in response to their 
academic needs, academic interests, and optimal learning approaches 
(e.g., discussion and collaborative work, project-based learning, 
videos, audio, manipulatives);
    (iii) Frequently measure student progress toward meeting college- 
and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) or college- and 
career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice) and 
use data to inform both the acceleration of student progress and the 
improvement of the individual and collective practice of educators (as 
defined in this notice); and
    (iv) Improve teachers' and principals' practice and effectiveness 
by using feedback provided by the LEA's teacher and principal 
evaluation systems (as defined in this notice), including frequent 
feedback on individual and collective effectiveness, as well as by 
providing recommendations, supports, and interventions as needed for 
improvement.
    (b) All participating educators (as defined in this notice) have 
access to, and know how to use, tools, data, and resources to 
accelerate student progress toward meeting college- and career-ready 
graduation requirements (as defined in this notice). Those resources 
must include--
    (i) Actionable information that helps educators (as defined in this 
notice) identify optimal learning approaches that respond to individual 
student academic needs and interests;
    (ii) High-quality learning resources (e.g., instructional content 
and assessments), including digital resources, as appropriate, that are 
aligned with college- and career-ready

[[Page 48000]]

standards (as defined in this notice) or college- and career-ready 
graduation requirements (as defined in this notice), and the tools to 
create and share new resources; and
    (iii) Processes and tools to match student needs (see Selection 
Criterion (C)(2)(b)(i)) with specific resources and approaches (see 
Selection Criterion (C)(2)(b)(ii)) to provide continuously improving 
feedback about the effectiveness of the resources in meeting student 
needs.
    (c) All participating school leaders and school leadership teams 
(as defined in this notice) have training, policies, tools, data, and 
resources that enable them to structure an effective learning 
environment that meets individual student academic needs and 
accelerates student progress through common and individual tasks toward 
meeting college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) 
or college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in 
this notice). The training, policies, tools, data, and resources must 
include:
    (i) Information, from such sources as the district's teacher 
evaluation system (as defined in this notice), that helps school 
leaders and school leadership teams (as defined in this notice) assess, 
and take steps to improve, individual and collective educator 
effectiveness and school culture and climate, for the purpose of 
continuous school improvement; and
    (ii) Training, systems, and practices to continuously improve 
school progress toward the goals of increasing student performance and 
closing achievement gaps (as defined in this notice).
    (d) The applicant has a high-quality plan (as defined in this 
notice) for increasing the number of students who receive instruction 
from effective and highly effective teachers and principals (as defined 
in this notice), including in hard-to-staff schools, subjects (such as 
mathematics and science), and specialty areas (such as special 
education).
D. LEA Policy and Infrastructure
    The extent to which the applicant has a high-quality plan (as 
defined in this notice) to support project implementation through 
comprehensive policies and infrastructure that provide every student, 
educator (as defined in this notice), and level of the education system 
(classroom, school, and LEA) with the support and resources they need, 
when and where they are needed. This includes the extent to which--
    (1) The applicant has practices, policies, and rules that 
facilitate personalized learning by--
    (a) Organizing the LEA central office, or the consortium governance 
structure (as defined in this notice), to provide support and services 
to all participating schools (as defined in this notice);
    (b) Providing school leadership teams (as defined in this notice) 
in participating schools (as defined in this notice) with sufficient 
flexibility and autonomy over factors such as school schedules and 
calendars, school personnel decisions and staffing models, roles and 
responsibilities for educators and noneducators, and school-level 
budgets;
    (c) Giving students the opportunity to progress and earn credit 
based on demonstrated mastery, not the amount of time spent on a topic;
    (d) Giving students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of 
standards at multiple times and in multiple comparable ways; and
    (e) Providing learning resources and instructional practices that 
are adaptable and fully accessible to all students, including students 
with disabilities and English learners; and
    (2) The LEA and school infrastructure supports personalized 
learning by--
    (a) Ensuring that all participating students (as defined in this 
notice), parents, educators (as defined in this notice), and other 
stakeholders (as appropriate and relevant to student learning), 
regardless of income, have access to necessary content, tools, and 
other learning resources both in and out of school to support the 
implementation of the applicant's proposal;
    (b) Ensuring that students, parents, educators (as defined in this 
notice), and other stakeholders (as appropriate and relevant to student 
learning) have appropriate levels of technical support, which may be 
provided through a range of strategies (e.g., peer support, online 
support, or local support);
    (c) Using information technology systems that allow parents and 
students to export their information in an open data format (as defined 
in this notice) and to use the data in other electronic learning 
systems (e.g., electronic tutors, tools that make recommendations for 
additional learning supports, or software that securely stores personal 
records); and
    (d) Ensuring that LEAs and schools use interoperable data systems 
(as defined in this notice) (e.g., systems that include human resources 
data, student information data, budget data, and instructional 
improvement system data).
E. Continuous Improvement
    Because the applicant's plans represent the best thinking at a 
point in time, and may require adjustments and revisions during 
implementation, it is vital that the applicant have a clear and high-
quality approach to continuously improve its plans. This will be 
determined by the extent to which the applicant has--
    (1) A high-quality plan (as defined in this notice) for 
implementing a rigorous continuous improvement process that provides 
timely and regular feedback on progress toward project goals and 
opportunities for ongoing corrections and improvements during and after 
the term of the grant. The plan must address how the applicant will 
monitor, measure, and publicly share information on the quality of its 
investments funded by Race to the Top--District, such as investments in 
professional development, technology, and staff;
    (2) A high-quality plan (as defined in this notice) for ongoing 
communication and engagement with internal and external stakeholders; 
and
    (3) Ambitious yet achievable performance measures, overall and by 
subgroup (as defined in this notice), with annual targets for required 
and applicant-proposed performance measures. For each applicant-
proposed measure, the applicant must describe--
    (a) Its rationale for selecting that measure;
    (b) How the measure will provide rigorous, timely, and formative 
leading information tailored to its proposed plan and theory of action 
regarding the applicant's implementation success or areas of concern; 
and
    (c) How it will review and improve the measure over time if it is 
insufficient to gauge implementation progress.
    The applicant should have a total of approximately 12 to 14 
performance measures.
    The chart below outlines the required and applicant-proposed 
performance measures based on an applicant's applicable population.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Applicable  population                Performance measure
------------------------------------------------------------------------
All......................  (a) The number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice), by subgroup (as defined in this
                            notice), whose teacher of record (as defined
                            in this notice) and principal are a highly
                            effective teacher (as defined in this
                            notice) and a highly effective principal (as
                            defined in this notice); and

[[Page 48001]]

 
                           (b) The number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice), by subgroup (as defined in this
                            notice), whose teacher of record (as defined
                            in this notice) and principal are an
                            effective teacher (as defined in this
                            notice) and an effective principal (as
                            defined in this notice).
PreK-3...................  (a) Applicant must propose at least one age-
                            appropriate measure of students' academic
                            growth (e.g., language and literacy
                            development or cognition and general
                            learning, including early mathematics and
                            early scientific development); and
                           (b) Applicant must propose at least one age-
                            appropriate non-cognitive indicator of
                            growth (e.g., physical well-being and motor
                            development, or social-emotional
                            development).
4-8......................  (a) The number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice), by subgroup, who are on track to
                            college- and career-readiness based on the
                            applicant's on-track indicator (as defined
                            in this notice);
                           (b) Applicant must propose at least one grade-
                            appropriate academic leading indicator of
                            successful implementation of its plan; and
                           (c) Applicant must propose at least one grade-
                            appropriate health or social-emotional
                            leading indicator of successful
                            implementation of its plan.
9-12.....................  (a) The number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice) who complete and submit the Free
                            Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
                            form;
                           (b) The number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice), by subgroup, who are on track to
                            college- and career-readiness based on the
                            applicant's on-track indicator (as defined
                            in this notice);
                           (c) Applicant must propose at least one
                            measure of career-readiness in order to
                            assess the number and percentage of
                            participating students (as defined in this
                            notice) who are or are on track to being
                            career-ready;
                           (d) Applicant must propose at least one grade-
                            appropriate academic leading indicator of
                            successful implementation of its plan; and
                           (e) Applicant must propose at least one grade-
                            appropriate health or social-emotional
                            leading indicator of successful
                            implementation of its plan.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) A high-quality plan to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of 
Race to the Top--District funded activities, such as professional 
development and activities that employ technology.

F. Budget and Sustainability

    The extent to which--
    (1) The applicant's budget, including the budget narrative and 
tables--
    (a) Identifies all funds that will support the project (e.g., Race 
to the Top--District grant; external foundation support; LEA, State, 
and other Federal funds);
    (b) Is reasonable and sufficient to support the development and 
implementation of the applicant's proposal; and
    (c) Clearly provides a thoughtful rationale for investments and 
priorities, including--
    (i) A description of all of the funds (e.g., Race to the Top--
District grant; external foundation support; LEA, State, and other 
Federal funds) that the applicant will use to support the 
implementation of the proposal, including total revenue from these 
sources; and
    (ii) Identification of the funds that will be used for one-time 
investments versus those that will be used for ongoing operational 
costs that will be incurred during and after the grant period, as 
described in the proposed budget and budget narrative, with a focus on 
strategies that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the 
personalized learning environments; and
    (2) The applicant has a high-quality plan (as defined in this 
notice) for sustainability of the project's goals after the term of the 
grant. The plan should include support from State and local government 
leaders, financial support, and a description of how the applicant will 
evaluate the effectiveness of past investments and use this data to 
inform future investments. Such a plan may address how the applicant 
will evaluate improvements in productivity and outcomes to inform a 
post-grant budget, and include an estimated budget for the three years 
after the term of the grant that includes budget assumptions, potential 
sources, and uses of funds.
    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. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this 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 (OMB). 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 loan 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 stated in the 
Executive order.
    This final regulatory action will have an annual effect on the 
economy of more than $100 million because more than that amount has 
been appropriated for Race to the Top and we anticipate that more than 
that amount will be awarded as grants. Therefore, this final action is 
``economically significant'' and subject to review by OMB under section 
3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866. Notwithstanding this determination, 
we have assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative 
and qualitative, of this final regulatory action and have determined 
that the benefits justify the costs.
    We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive 
Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--

[[Page 48002]]

    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing these final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria only on a reasoned determination that their 
benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory 
approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. 
Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this 
regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 
13563.
    We also have determined that this final regulatory action does not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    In this regulatory impact analysis we discuss the need for 
regulatory action, the potential costs and benefits, net budget 
impacts, assumptions, limitations, and data sources, as well as 
regulatory alternatives we considered.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The Secretary believes that these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would not impose significant costs 
on eligible LEAs. The Secretary also believes that the benefits of 
implementing the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria contained in this notice outweigh any associated costs.
    The Secretary believes that these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria will result in selection of high-
quality applications to implement activities that are most likely to 
support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching 
that would directly improve student achievement and educator 
effectiveness. Additionally, the priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria in this notice clarify the scope of activities 
the Secretary expects to support with program funds and the expected 
burden of work involved in preparing an application and implementing a 
project under the program. Potential applicants need to consider 
carefully the effort that will be required to prepare a strong 
application, their capacity to implement a project successfully, and 
their chances of submitting a successful application.
    Program participation is voluntary. The Secretary believes that the 
costs imposed on applicants by these priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would be limited to paperwork 
burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of 
implementing them would outweigh any costs incurred by applicants. The 
costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with program funds. 
Thus, the costs of implementation would not be a burden for any 
eligible applicants, including small entities.

Regulatory Alternatives Considered

    These final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria are needed to implement the Race to the Top--District program. 
The Secretary does not believe that the statute, by itself, provides a 
sufficient level of detail to ensure that the Race to the Top--District 
competition serves as a mechanism for driving significant education 
reform in LEAs. These final priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria will enable effective grant making, resulting in the 
selection of high-quality applicants who propose to implement 
activities that are most likely to support bold, locally directed 
improvements in learning and teaching that would directly improve 
student achievement and educator effectiveness.
    In the absence of specific selection criteria for Race to the Top--
District grants, the Department would use the general selection 
criteria in 34 CFR 75.210 of the Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in selecting LEAs to receive grants. The 
Secretary does not believe the use of those general criteria would be 
appropriate for the Race to the Top--District competition, because they 
do not focus on the educational reforms that districts must be 
implementing in order to receive a Race to the Top--District grant, on 
the specific uses of funds under Race to the Top--District, or on the 
plans that the Secretary believes districts should develop for their 
Race to the Top--District grants.
    The priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
in this notice reflect and promote the purpose of the Race to the Top--
District program. They also align the Race to the Top--District 
program, where possible and permissible, with other Departmental 
priorities. Although we maintain the overall purpose and structure of 
the FY 2012 Race to the Top--District program, we incorporate changes 
based on specific lessons learned from the first competition.

Accounting Statement

    As required by OMB Circular A-4 (available at www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/circulars/a004/a-4.pdf), in the 
following table we have prepared an accounting statement showing the 
classification of the expenditures associated with the provisions of 
this regulatory action. This table provides our best estimate of the 
changes in annual monetized transfers as a result of this regulatory 
action. Expenditures are classified as transfers from the Federal 
Government to LEAs.

      Accounting Statement Classification of Estimated Expenditures
                              [in millions]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Category                            Transfers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized Transfers.........  Approximately $120.
From Whom To Whom?.....................  From the Federal Government to
                                          LEAs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 48003]]

    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 compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site 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). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: July 30, 2013.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. 2013-18710 Filed 8-5-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P