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TFA, National Writing Project, New Teacher Center Snag New Fed Grants

Two programs that lost funding when Congress revised its rules on earmarks—Teach for America and the National Writing Project—will get some federal money after all, under a new $24.6 million competitive program, the Supporting Effective Educators Development or SEED program.

The National Writing Project, a Berkeley, Calif., based non-profit, got $11.3 million grant to train K-12 teacher-leaders in writing instruction. That's not as much as the $25.6 million the group used to get when it got federal funding as a "national authorized program", or "earmark", depending on whom you talk to.

Teach for America, a New York City-based nonprofit that places new college graduates in under-resourced schools, got $8.3 million, to recruit, place, and support new educators. TFA used to get $18 million from the feds before the rule change. (That's not counting its $50 million, five-year Investing in Innovation Grant, which is dedicated to expanding the program.)

And the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz, Calif., got $4.98 to support new teacher and principals in Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. The New Teacher Center isn't one of the programs that lost federal funding last year. This is a brand new grant for them.

What's missing from the list? The National Board for Professional Teacher Standards, which also lost its $10.7 million in funding under the rule change. The organization threw its hat in the ring for a grant, but apparently came up short.

Where did this $24.6 million come from? It was a set-aside from the regular $2.5 billion Improving Teacher Quality State Grant program (Title II in budget-nerd speak.) The administration has proposed super-sizing that set-aside, up to 25 percent or $620 million. Great background story by my colleague, Stephen Sawchuk, here.

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