Department of Education Launches $650 Million Program to Spur Innovation in Schools

The has announced the priorities of its $650 million (i3), which is part of the $5 billion set aside for school reform in the .

The i3 fund will support local efforts to start or expand innovative research-based programs designed to help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for students. Individual school districts or groups of districts can apply for the grants, while entrepreneurial nonprofits are encouraged to partner with districts. Recipients will be required to match federal funds with public or private funds, and successful applicants will need to demonstrate how their programs will be sustainable after their federal grants are completed.

Under the proposed priorities, grants will be awarded in three categories: scale-up grants, to support programs and practices with the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students; validation grants, to support existing programs that can demonstrate impact and are ready to be improved; and development grants, to support new and high-potential practices whose impact should be studied further.

"We're making an unprecedented investment in cutting-edge ideas that will produce the next generation of school reforms," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The i3 competition will provide seed money for fresh ideas, help grow promising programs with a good track record, and scale up programs with proven results to a national level."

"." U.S. Department of Education Press Release 10/06/2009.