ED’s New Comprehensive Centers grant program awards discretionary grants to establish comprehensive technical assistance centers to help low-performing schools and districts close achievement gaps and meet the goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ED is authorized to establish comprehensive technical assistance centers to help states benefit school districts and schools, especially those in need of improvement. Sixteen regional comprehensive centers and five content-specific centers will be funded under the program. Regional centers must provide front-line assistance to states to help them implement NCLB and other related federal school improvement programs. The regional centers must help increase state capacity to assist districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals. Regional centers must be embedded in regions and responsible for developing strong relationships and partnerships within their regional community. Regional centers will be the “on-ground” providers to states, while content centers must focus almost entirely on specific content areas, analyzing research and developing useful products and tools for regional centers and other clients. The five content centers will cover accountability and assessment, teacher quality, instruction, innovation and improvement, and high schools. The content centers are responsible for providing, in each of the content areas described, in-depth knowledge, expertise, and analyses to regional centers and the states served by the regional centers. ED expects to grant 21 awards for the development of these centers, with an estimated value ranging from $1 million to $4.5 million in fiscal year 2005.

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