Appendix D: GEPA Statement
OMB Control No. 1894-0005 (Exp. 06/30/2023)
Notice to All Applicants
The purpose of this enclosure is to inform you about a new provision in the Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) that applies to applicants for new grant awards under Department programs. This provision is Section 427 of GEPA, enacted as part of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law (P.L.) 103-382).
To Whom Does This Provision Apply?
Section 427 of GEPA affects applicants for new grant awards under this program.
ALL APPLICANTS FOR NEW AWARDS MUST INCLUDE INFORMATION IN THEIR APPLICATIONS TO ADDRESS THIS NEW PROVISION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FUNDING UNDER THIS PROGRAM.
(If this program is a State-formula grant program, a State needs to provide this description only for projects or activities that it carries out with funds reserved for State- level uses. In addition, local school districts or other eligible applicants that apply to the State for funding need to provide this description in their applications to the State for funding. The State would be responsible for ensuring that the school district or other local entity has submitted a sufficient section 427 statement as described below.)
What Does This Provision Require?
Section 427 requires each applicant for funds (other than an individual person) to include in its application a description of the steps the applicant proposes to take to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, its Federally- assisted program for students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries with special needs. This provision allows applicants discretion in developing the required description. The statute highlights six types of barriers that can impede equitable access or participation: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Based on local circumstances, you should determine whether these or other barriers may prevent your students, teachers, etc. from such access to, or participation in, the Federally-funded project or activity. The description in your application of steps to be taken to overcome these barriers need not be lengthy; you may provide a clear and succinct description of how you plan to address those barriers that are applicable to your circumstances. In addition, the information may be provided in a single narrative, or, if appropriate, may be discussed in connection with related topics in the application.
Section 427 is not intended to duplicate the requirements of civil rights statutes, but rather to ensure that, in designing their projects, applicants for Federal funds address equity concerns that may affect the ability of certain potential beneficiaries to fully participate in the project and to achieve high standards. Consistent with program requirements and its approved application, an applicant may use the Federal funds awarded to it to eliminate barriers it identifies.
What are Examples of How an Applicant Might Satisfy the Requirement of This Provision?
The following examples may help illustrate how an applicant may comply with Section 427.
(1) An applicant that proposes to carry out an adult literacy project serving, among others, adults with limited English proficient, might describe in its application how it intends to distribute a brochure about the proposed project to such potential participants in their native language.
(2) An applicant that proposes to develop instructional materials for classroom use might describe how it will make the materials available on audio tape or in braille for students who are blind.
(3) An applicant that proposes to carry out a model science program for secondary students and is concerned that girls may be less likely than boys to enroll in the course, might indicate how it intends to conduct "outreach" efforts to girls, to encourage their enrollment.
(4) An applicant that proposes a project to increase school safety might describe the special efforts it will take to address concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, and efforts to reach out to and involve the families of LGBT students.
We recognize that many applicants may already be implementing effective steps to ensure equity of access and participation in their grant programs, and we appreciate your cooperation in responding to the requirements of this provision.
PDE's formula grants for LEAs, schools, career and technology centers, IUs, and other educational entities under sections 2001(f)(1), 2001(f)(2), 2001(f)(3), and 2001(f)(4) of the ARP Act require awardees to provide GEPA 427 statements in their applications to the state for funding.
In addition, PDE adheres to GEPA, section 427. PDE ensures equal access and participation to all persons regardless of their gender, race, color, national origin, age, or disability in its education programs, services, and/or activities. PDE will enforce all federal and state laws/regulations designed to ensure equitable access to all program beneficiaries and to overcome barriers to equitable participation. Steps taken to ensure equitable access and to eliminate access barriers based on gender, race, national origin, color, disability, and age include but are not limited to:
- Providing accessible instructional materials, which are specialized formats of core instructional materials, from national, state, and local sources; including the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), Bookshare, Learning Ally, and American Printing House for the Blind;
- Providing instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner, including specialized formats such as Braille, Audio, enlarged print, and Electronic Text as well as require publishers to submit National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) compliant source files to the NIMAC repository;
- Utilizing key features of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a planning tool that seeks to infuse typical barrier-laden curricula with multiple, flexible strategies and tools; UDL assumes that there are opportunities for access and engagement for all learners;
- Providing professional development opportunities with the goal of empowering LEAs in culturally responsive practices, including personalized learning environments, positive approaches to discipline, welcoming school environments, and collaboration with outside agencies and school communities to support all students;
- Providing an equity toolkit based upon prevention, response, and recovery – aimed at helping to address and eliminate bias, discrimination, and harassment and promote equity and inclusion in schools;
- Offering interpretation services for language and communication needs, including translation, transliteration, and cued speech;
- Utilizing a broad range of assistive technology which includes a variety of tools that range from no- to low- to high-tech options;
- Providing reasonable accommodations for state assessment based on disability;
- Utilizing technologies to convey content of program and curricular materials;
- Providing professional development activities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to educational resource agencies and local educational agencies on an ongoing basis;
- Posting informational materials on the PDE website, which comply with ADA requirements;
- Providing individualized resources designed to support diverse students to be college, career, and community ready, including integrated employment experiences, access to STEM-related curricula, and enrollment in Career and Technical Centers;
- Hiring, recruiting, and involving individuals from diverse social and ethnic minority groups to the greatest extent possible – in particular, those in underserved geographical regions across the commonwealth; and
- Providing a Title IX Coordinator at PDE.
Estimated Burden Statement for GEPA Requirements
According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 3 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain benefit (Public Law 103-382). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20210-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1894-0005.