Education Funding

More School Districts May Have a Chance to Apply for Innovation Grants

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 30, 2009 1 min read
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Don’t despair if you think your school district is disqualified from participating in the $650 million grant competition for innovation under the American Recovery and Investment Act because it hasn’t made adequate yearly progress for two years in a row. My colleague Michele McNeil, who spent a day this week on the road in Florida with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, says the Education Department wants to loosen the eligibility requirements so more school districts can apply.

As matters stand now, only 26 of the nation’s 200* largest school districts would qualify to apply for the innovation grants because only that small number have made AYP for two years in a row, according to Michele’s article posted today at She reports that the department wants to ease up on the AYP requirement.

Right after the stimulus law was passed, I pointed out on this blog that the requirement for making AYP goals would eliminate a lot of school districts from the competition that have a large number of English-language learners. Many school districts have missed reaching AYP goals for ELLs.

I’ll let you know if I hear that the requirement in the law is lifted.

*statistic corrected from an earlier version.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.