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Ed. Dept. Proposes Strong Role for Research in Innovation Grants


The U.S. Department of Education's proposal for distributing funds to states under the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund may not give much of a nod to research, but plans proposed yesterday for the Investing in Innovation, or i3, grant program seem to be all about it.

According to this article published online yesterday by my colleague Michele McNeil, the department's proposal for the $650 million grant program suggest a three-tier model for doling out grants based upon a program's track record of success. The biggest awards, worth up to $50 million each, would go to programs with "strong" evidence that are looking to expand and scale up. Programs with a "moderate" evidence base could qualify for grants of up to $30 million each to help them "validate" their success through further experimentation. Finally, "development" grants of $5 million each would go to programs with "reasonable research-based findings or theories."

This model is somewhat similar to the "two-tier," evidence-based approach that I blogged about yesterday in a congressional compromise on a bill regarding federal funding for home-visitation programs.

Like the much larger Race to the Top program, the i3 program is part of the nearly $100 billion for education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Look for the proposed rules for the innovation fund to be published later this week in the Federal Register. Then, weigh in quickly. The public will have 30 days to comment before the department makes changes and makes the regulations final.


The research has already been done. The problem is how to empliment it. Teach self actulization. But first read "Prelude to Chaos".

The proposed priorities are a huge step in the right direction for connecting R&D and innovation in education. In most other sectors --- medicine, energy, agriculture, defense--- a robust R&D infrastrucute is the lifeblood of innovation. Not so in education. But now with this i3 fund the Administration seems to be trying to kick start the reinvention of education R&D as catalyst for innovation. Never before has this been attempted in such a big way. Bravo!

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  • Jim Kohlmoos: The proposed priorities are a huge step in the right read more
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