Section 427 of the United States Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) 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 in order to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, its Federally-assisted programs for students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries with special needs.
Local education agencies (LEAs) or other eligible applicants that apply for Federal funding through the consolidated application must provide this description in their application. CDE is responsible for ensuring that the LEA or other local entity has submitted a sufficient section 427 statement.
Developing a Response
GEPA allows applicants discretion in developing and describing the activities that are occurring to meet this requirement. The statute highlights six types of barriers that may impede equitable access or participation: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Based on local circumstances, LEAs should determine whether these or other barriers may prevent your students, teachers, etc. from such access or participation in the Federally-funded project or activity.
Possible Barriers to Equitable Access or Participation
- National Origin
The description(s) provided in the Consolidated Application need not be lengthy. Applicants may provide a clear and succinct description of how the LEA will address the barriers, as applicable to the LEA’s local context, which may impede equitable access or participation in the LEA’s Federal programs.
The OMB Notice may be accessed here: https://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/a pply/appforms/gepa427.pdf
The LEA may use information they have obtained through their comprehensive needs assessment process or their Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) to develop their statement in response to the GEPA requirement. The root causes identified in the UIP combined with the associated use of federal funds may be appropriate, based on the LEA’s local context, to satisfy the GEPA requirement. Examples of this approach are illustrated below.
- The LEA or school may have identified a lack of cultural competency in instruction, specifically in regard to the social, emotional, and academic success of its English learners, as a root cause of low student achievement. If the LEA then utilizes their Federal funds to provide professional development opportunities for teachers by addressing culturally responsive instructional practices, a description of how this activity will be implemented would address a barrier to equitable participation based on national origin, thereby satisfying the GEPA requirement.
- The LEA or school may identify the disproportionate use of exclusionary discipline practices (removing or excluding students from the classroom), specifically in regard to black, Hispanic, or Native American students, as a root cause of low student achievement. If the LEA then utilizes their Federal funds to reduce the use of discipline practices that remove students from the classroom, a description of how this activity will be implemented would address a barrier to equitable participation for students of color, thereby satisfying the GEPA requirement.
- The LEA or school may identify a lack of student participation in advanced placement STEM courses, specifically in regard to female students, as a root cause of low student achievement. If the LEA is then utilizing their Federal funds to increase outreach efforts to female students to encourage enrollment and participation in advanced placement STEM courses, a description of how this activity will be implemented would address a barrier to equitable participation for students based on gender, thereby satisfying the GEPA requirement.
Note: While the LEA’s statement of non-discrimination is supportive of the intent of the GEPA statement, it should not be submitted as the LEA’s description to satisfy the GEPA requirement.