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Education Funding

TFA, National Writing Project, New Teacher Center Snag New Fed Grants

By Alyson Klein — March 08, 2012 1 min read

Two programs that lost funding when Congress revised its rules on earmarks—Teach for America and the National Writing Project—will get some federal money after all, under a new $24.6 million competitive program, the Supporting Effective Educators Development or SEED program.

The National Writing Project, a Berkeley, Calif., based non-profit, got $11.3 million grant to train K-12 teacher-leaders in writing instruction. That’s not as much as the $25.6 million the group used to get when it got federal funding as a “national authorized program”, or “earmark”, depending on whom you talk to.

Teach for America, a New York City-based nonprofit that places new college graduates in under-resourced schools, got $8.3 million, to recruit, place, and support new educators. TFA used to get $18 million from the feds before the rule change. (That’s not counting its $50 million, five-year Investing in Innovation Grant, which is dedicated to expanding the program.)

And the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz, Calif., got $4.98 to support new teacher and principals in Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. The New Teacher Center isn’t one of the programs that lost federal funding last year. This is a brand new grant for them.

What’s missing from the list? The National Board for Professional Teacher Standards, which also lost its $10.7 million in funding under the rule change. The organization threw its hat in the ring for a grant, but apparently came up short.

Where did this $24.6 million come from? It was a set-aside from the regular $2.5 billion Improving Teacher Quality State Grant program (Title II in budget-nerd speak.) The administration has proposed super-sizing that set-aside, up to 25 percent or $620 million. Great background story by my colleague, Stephen Sawchuk, here.