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

By Debra Viadero — October 07, 2009 1 min read
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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.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.