$650 million “Investing in Innovation” education fund finalists

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For some of you, Wednesday’s post about the Harlem Children’s Zone was sort of an education reform buzz kill. If you’re wondering, “What do we do now?,” here’s this: The US Dept. of Education just named the finalists for its $ 650 million Investing in Innovation (i3) fund–which dwarfs even the $210 million best case scenario for the Promise Neighborhood fund.

The finalists include the fairly well-regarded KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter school company, and the City of New York (public obviously, but also known for its market-based approaches to education). That’s already interesting because for those who consider charter schools to be a threat to public education, consider that there are several KIPP schools in NYC, and both proposals may be be funded.

  • KIPP wants $50 million for a national principal training program that they claim leads to “radically improved student achievement and attainment outcomes.”
  • NYC  wants $5 million for a very fancy sounding computer program that collects data on all students and uses a “state-of-the-art learning algorithm” (like Google!) to create individually customized and adaptive curricula called “playlists” (like Apple!).
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