Comment on FR Doc # 2014-04490
This is a Comment on the Department of Education (ED) Proposed Rule: Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program: Priorities, Requirements, and Definitions
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The American Library Association strongly supports the IAL program which provides funding to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade in high-need local educational agencies and schools. In particular, the American Library Association supports IAL because half of the funding under the program must be used to support applications from local educational agencies (on behalf of school libraries) for high-quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) and provide learning opportunities to all students.
As noted in the proposed requirements, the IAL program is guided by the Senate report that accompanied the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act (S. Rept. 113-71). According to the Senate report, funds made available under the IAL program are for competitive awards to national not-for-profit organizations or school libraries. As part of the proposed requirements, the Department points out that school libraries generally do not have the capacity to manage Federal grants independently of the schools and districts they serve and believes school libraries should coordinate with their local educational agencies in competing for IAL funds.
Therefore, the Department has proposed that in order to be considered for an award under the IAL competition, an applicant must be one of the following: (1) a high-need local educational agency; (2) a national not-for-profit organization that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need local educational agencies; (3) a consortium of national not-for-profit organizations that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need local educational agencies; (4) a consortium of high-need local educational agencies; or (5) a consortium of one or more high-need local educational agencies and one or more national not-for-profit organizations that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need local educational agencies.
While the American Library Association understands the difficulties associated with Federal grants for school library programs, we also understand the specific intent of the program because of the rest of the language contained in S. Rept. 113-171 that stipulated:
“The Committee expects no less than 50 percent of these funds to be awarded to school libraries proposing high-quality projects for increasing access to a wide range of print and electronic resources that provide learning opportunities to all students, but particularly those less likely to have access to such materials at home.”
Therefore, the American Library Association recommends that the final requirements for the IAL program ensure that local educational agencies and national not-for-profit organizations coordinate with school library programs that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of the proposed grant. To ensure consistency with the language in S. Rept. 113-171 and the Federal grantmaking process, the American Library Association believes the onus to coordinate on the IAL application, should be placed on local educational agencies and national not-for-profit organizations, not school library programs.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed priorities, requirements, and definitions for the IAL program. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Executive Director of the Washington Office
American Library Association
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Comment Period Closed
Mar 31 2014, at 11:59 PM ET
Tracking Number: 1jy-8b9v-4evd
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Date Posted: Mar 31, 2014
RIN: Not Assigned
Submitter Name: Emily Sheketoff
Country: United States
State or Province: DC
Category: National Advocacy Organization