Student Achievement

Ford Foundation Launches High School Initiative

By Catherine Gewertz — November 04, 2009 1 min read

The Ford Foundation announced today that it will commit $100 million over seven years to high school improvement in seven cities.

The New York City-based philanthropy will make grants aimed at four areas: ensuring “robust” state funding for education; encouraging high-quality, collaborative teaching; designing accountability systems based on “more meaningful” methods of assessment than standardized tests, and making good use of an extended school day or year.

The foundation said it has teamed up with parents, teachers, community groups and others in its chosen focus cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and Newark, N.J.

Among the early grant recipients so far: The American Institutes for Research in Behavioral Sciences, to develop new school-finance models; Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, to write a series of papers about assessment methods; and the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund, for “innovation efforts” by its local affiliates involving teachers, administrators and parents.

Jeannie Oakes, widely known for her work on equity and diversity issues as a professor of education at UCLA, is now Ford’s director of education and scholarship, and will oversee the new initiative.

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.