To deliver an excellent education to every child and to ensure U.S. global competitiveness, President Obama has set the goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Though ambitious, this goal is attainable through bold reform and innovation spanning the education pipeline from early learning to college.
This past calendar year, a number of new programs and initiatives were launched and many of OII’s existing programs were refined to align with the Department of Education’s commitment to being an “engine of innovation” for the U.S. public education system. Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton discusses the highlights of the past year and provides his thoughts on several important issues facing education in this February interview with The Education Innovator.
Last September, the Department funded 49 grantees, the first to be awarded grants under the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund grant program. Projects focus on addressing the needs of students in rural districts, early learners, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and college access for students. The videos below highlight three i3 projects, two validation grants (The Curators of the University of Missouri and ASSET) and one development grant (School Board of Miami-Dade County). These projects represent an emphasis on technology in the middle school classrooms, enhancing early learning instruction from pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade, and strengthening hands-on STEM instruction based on how students learn. Each featured project also contains a significant emphasis on the professional development of teachers. These grantees represent rural schools in Missouri and Pennsylvania, early learning teachers in Florida, and STEM teachers in Pennsylvania. Interviews were conducted at the i3 project directors meeting in January 2011 and exemplify some of the innovative work being pursued by i3 grantees around the country.
In this era of increasing global competition, the need to improve under-performing schools and education systems, especially those that serve high-need students and communities, is a widely accepted moral and economic imperative. The most effective ways to support and sustain change within our education organizations is the subject of more debate.
From its beginnings, the Ready to Learn (RTL) Program in the Office of Innovation and Improvement has both served America's youngest learners and been a learner itself – of the fast-evolving world of digital communications technology that, in 1995, consisted of television and a nascent World Wide Web. In fact, when initially author