Georgia launches $19.4 million education innovation fund

Georgia is launching a $19.4 million education innovation fund to award grants to partnerships between local education entities businesses and nonprofit organizations that develop innovative programs for students. The fund was created with the help of a federal grant awarded through Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) plan. The Innovation Fund will provide competitive grants for proposals that creatively leverage members’ financial, human and intellectual resources to address challenges in education and work toward creating positive outcomes.

The Governor has outlined four goals that will be used as the criteria for judging proposals. The goals include: raising student achievement through applied learning opportunities, raising teacher effectiveness through support for innovative induction programs, increasing the pipeline of qualified teachers and expanding STEM education opportunities through charter schools or other programs. The fund will also work to establish best practices in each of these areas so that they can be applied to projects going forward.

Georgia was awarded $400 million from the federal government to implement its RT3 reform plan in August 2010. The state plans to seek contributions from philanthropic organizations, nonprofits and businesses in order to grow the fund and support additional RT3 activities. Governor Deal has also reserved money to support equipment and facility costs for charter schools focused on the delivery of STEM education.

“We applaud Governor Deal’s commitment to ensuring that the children of Georgia have more opportunities for a quality education through Georgia’s RT3 plan,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association CEO Tony Roberts. “Even in such tough economic times, this initiative underscores our Governor’s commitment to raise the bar for student achievement in Georgia.”

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