The Department of Education has put out a call for bidders to operate the department’s 10 regional education laboratories for the next five years.
Scattered throughout the country, the regional labs provide expert advice, training, and technical assistance to educators in their territories. President Bush earlier this year proposed zeroing out funding for the labs in his fiscal 2006 budget request, but House and Senate committees have restored the money in their spending bills.
For the grant cycle spanning 2005 to 2010, the labs will function much as they do now, according to a notice in the July 15 Federal Register that announced the competition. It says the labs’ geographic boundaries will remain unchanged, but the labs will be expected to focus their work over the next five years on helping educators meet the challenges of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The department also outlined new plans to keep close tabs on the labs, evaluating them every year and providing bonuses for work well done. Federal officials have not yet said how much money the new labs will get in the next round of contracts. But the size of the awards is expected to vary by region.
The deadline for submitting proposals is Oct. 3. More information on the lab competition for 2005 to 2010 is available online at www.ed.gov/programs/regionallabs/index.html.