Sen. Murkowski's Education Newsletter for the week of March 14

Rural School and Community Trust Webinar Series on Rural School Innovations

The webinar series is free and open to all rural educators or an aspiring educators, community-based activists, policy analysts, faith-based organizations, or education advocates for underserved and rural children.  The next webinar will be March 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm. ET.  The featured innovation will be:

The Search Institute
The Building Assets-Reducing Risks (BARR) Program: Replication and Expansion of an Effective Strategy to Turn Around Low-Achieving Schools

Click here to register online for this special no-cost webinar series, or send an email to info@ruraledu.org with your full name and contact information. A day prior to the event, you will receive an email with dial-in instructions and a PDF of the presentation.  Questions? Send an email to info@ruraledu.org, or contact Robert Mahaffey at robert.mahaffey@ruraledu.org, 703-243-1487 x114

Update on Federal Funding – March 10th

As some of you know, the Senate voted yesterday afternoon on two proposals—H.R. 1, which was passed by the House and which proposes to cut $57 billion compared to FY10, and Amendment #149 to H.R. 1, which proposed to cut approximately $5 billion.  As expected, neither H.R. 1 nor Senate Amendment #149 passed.  It is unclear what the next step will be but discussions continue.


Senator Murkowski voted for H.R. 1 but also expressed her serious concerns about that bill.  In her press release following the vote, Senator Murkowski stated:

“The package is clearly not the bill I would have written, but I felt it was essential to send a strong signal that Congress must get serious about cutting spending.  We cannot solve our fiscal problems solely on the spending side of the ledger.  By expeditiously concluding work on this year’s budget, we will be in a position to address comprehensive fiscal reform that includes not only spending but also the primary cost drivers – entitlement spending.” 

She also noted:

“Notwithstanding my vote for H.R. 1, I am a vocal supporter of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Program, and the Weatherization Assistance Program among others that are cut by H.R. 1. 

To voice my concern for these programs, I’ve sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee concerning programs that I feel received unnecessarily severe cuts, with a disproportionate impact on Alaska. As the process moves forward to fund the federal government while reducing spending, I hope to work with them in my capacity on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that these vital programs continue to be effective.”

For those of you who are particularly interested in the Alaska Native Education Equity program, you will be pleased to know that the U.S. Department of Education has stated that even if a final Continuing Resolution includes cuts to or the elimination of funding for the program, the department will continue to fund it.  They will do so by slightly reducing funding for other programs that are also part of the School Improvement account. 

Public Comment Opportunity – Promise Neighborhoods

If you would like to comment on proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and/or selection criteria for the Promise Neighborhoods grants that the Secretary proposes to send out this year and in the future, the full text of the notice can be found at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-5543.htm.  The deadline for submitting comments is April 11th.

Summary: The Secretary of Education (Secretary) proposes priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria under the legislative authority of the Fund for the Improvement of Education Program (FIE), title V, part D, subpart 1, sections 5411 through 5413 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). The Secretary may use one or more of these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for Promise Neighborhoods competitions for fiscal year (FY) 2011 and later years.

Addresses: Address all comments about this notice to Jill Staton, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4W245, Washington, DC 20202-5970. If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following address: pn2011comments@ed.gov. You must include the term "PN–Comments on FY 2011 Proposed Priority" in the subject line of your electronic message.

Contact: Jill Staton. Telephone: (202) 453-6615 or by e-mail: pn2011comments@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.


Office of Head Start Planning Tribal Consultations with Alaska Native Head Start Programs

The Office of Head Start intends to conduct a tribal consultation in Alaska in conjunction with AFN – tentatively on October 23rd – in Anchorage.  OHS has already been in touch with AFN and are working with them on the timing, venue, etc.  OHS is currently “holding off with their notice/announcement pending AFN's final agenda, when AFN advised they'd better be able to incorporate the OHS consultation”.  They hope to be able to provide formal notification by the end of March.

Updated List of Open Competitive Education Grant Opportunities

The underlined text is “clickable” so that you can obtain additional information.  As is true every year, be advised that USED generally solicits applications for grant programs while the Congressional appropriations process is ongoing.

CFDA#                          CLOSING DATE                                    PROGRAM NAME AND PRINCIPLE OFFICE


84.305B, D and E


Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs [IES]



Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs [IES]



Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant Program [OESE]



Training and Advisory Services; Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly the Desegregation Assistance Centers (DAC)) [OESE]



Presidential Academies for Teaching of American History and Civics [OII]



Predominantly Black Institutions Competitive Grant Program [OPE]



Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities--Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children With Disabilities [OSERS]

84.328C and M


Training and Information for Parents of Children With Disabilities [OSERS]



Native Hawaiian Education Program [OESE]



Professional Development for Arts Educators (PDAE) Program [OII]



American Overseas Research Centers (AORC) Program [OPE]



Teaching American History Program [OII]



Alaska Native Education [OESE]



Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program [OPE]



Improving Literacy Through School Libraries [OESE]



Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program [OELA]



Charter Schools Program (CSP): State Educational Agencies [OII]



National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Field Initiated Program [OSERS]