Four private philanthropies—the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation—will partner with the American Federation of Teachers through its Innovation Fund.
The private-foundation contributions, in addition to the AFT’s down payment of $1 million, bring the fund’s total to $2.8 million. Money from the fund is available for local affiliates of the union to “incubate promising ideas to improve schools,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said last month.
She gave a couple of possible examples: Districts and teachers could propose a new way of evaluating teachers that would incorporate evidence of student achievement. Or they could come up with a school turnaround model akin to the Fresh Start project in Chicago or the now-defunct New York City reform initiative known as the Chancellor’s District.
The fund, announced by the union last fall, plans to make its first grants in September.
A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of Education Week