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Feds Search For Rural Reviewers For 'i3' Competition

Rural school advocates have criticized the federal Investing in Innovation Fund grant competition because, in their view, those scoring the applications didn't have a good understanding of rural communities.

Here's a chance for the rural folks to have their say. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement put out a request Wednesday for peer reviewers for the second round of grants, which total $150 million.

The only requirement for reviewers is that they have expertise in at least one of the competition's five priority areas or in educational evaluation.

The five priorities are: supporting effective teachers and principals; promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education; implementing standards and assessments; turning around low-performing schools; and improving achievement in rural districts.

A background in educational evaluation means experience in designing, conducting and reviewing rigorous educational evaluations. That includes: understanding education research, data sources, and measures of program implementation and outcomes; expertise with experimental research designs; or fluency in reviewing organizational and project evaluation plans and evaluation results.

Federal officials said the most qualified candidates also will have expertise in at least one of the following areas: program or organizational innovation, experience disseminating or scaling successful programs, and experience reviewing or approving grant applications.

The deadline to apply is July 8, and those selected will receive an honorarium for their time and effort.

There are number of changes to this second round of competition, including the addition of rural schools as a new priority area. For more information about the i3 competition, you can go here.

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