Dept of Education Launches “Investing in Innovation”

On Friday, June 3rd, the U.S. Dept of Education launched the 2011 Investing in Innovation (i3) competition. This is the second round of the competition, which is designed to encourage school districts nationwide to take an innovative approach to optimizing teacher effectiveness and education policy.

The 2011 i3 competition makes $150 million available to school districts across the country. Winning districts will demonstrate a commitment to innovative approaches to “…significantly improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement, engagement and attainment,” according to the Dept of Education press release.

With the need to focus on technology in education, the 2011 i3 will take improvements to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education into special account. The United States has been lagging in science and math performance in past decades, and part i3‘s mission is to reverse that trend.

The second round of i3 comes on the heels of an unprecedented 2010 inaugural round, in which almost 1,700 districts entered to compete for $650 million worth of government funding. Forty-nine organizations earned money to fund their plans for revamping local education policy. 

While 2010 i3 is generally regarded as a success, the second round of i3 has been designed with feedback from last year’s applicants and stakeholders to make the process simpler. This includes a smaller percentage of required private sector matching funds and a revised selection criteria, according to the U.S. Dept of Education.

2011 i3 marks another key milestone for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Dept of Education. With districts taking an active approach to developing innovative education policy, specifically with measuring teacher effectiveness, STEM education improvement and student achievement, education reform is visible and alive.

For more information on the goals of i3 or for applicant workshops and webinars, visit the i3webpage.

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