Standards News in Brief

GE Foundation Gives Grant For Common-Core Work

By Catherine Gewertz — February 07, 2012 2 min read
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Links to information about the grant are provided at edweek.org/links.

The grant is one of the biggest that the Fairfield, Conn.-based foundation has made in education in five decades, its president and chairman, Robert L. Corcoran, said during a conference call to announce the grant last week. It has been working closely with seven school districts to improve mathematics and science instruction in recent years, and has made five-year grants of between $20 million and $25 million to some of them on specific projects, he said.

But the four-year grant to Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit based in New York City, is an investment in “infrastructure,” to enable “something that can help millions of children” over many years, Mr. Corcoran said.

A key aim of the new grant is to create “immersion institutes” to deepen and spread understanding of the standards and develop “teacher champions” who can work to implement them with colleagues around the country, officials from the philanthropy and the nonprofit said.

Some of the grant money will be used to work directly with teachers nationally, in person and online, to produce examples of good instruction on the standards. Some of it will be used to build a new website, www.achievethecore.org, with free resources for teachers. The site already includes videotapes of instructional units in math and English/language arts, and will expand to include other resources as well.

The GE Foundation has also provided grant support for Education Week’s coverage of science, technology, engineering, and math education.

David Coleman, a co-founder and the CEO of Student Achievement Partners and one of the lead writers of the common standards in English/language arts, said that the organization will collaborate with teachers and national teachers’ unions, and groups such as the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, to develop and share resources that will help “make the common core real” for teachers.

Whatever Student Achievement Partners develops in support of the common standards will be available for free, Mr. Coleman said. On achievethecore.org, SAP says that it will not hold any intellectual-property rights in what it develops, will not accept money from publishers, and will not compete for state and district contracts. Mr. Coleman said that those principles apply to all its common-core work.

The nonprofit also has three contracts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, worth $4.1 million total, to do common-core-related work. (Both foundations also provide grants for Education Week.)

The nonprofit was founded by three of the lead writers of the common standards: Mr. Coleman and Susan Pimentel in English/language arts, and Jason Zimba in math.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 08, 2012 edition of Education Week as GE Foundation Gives Grant For Common-Core Work

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