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ED Stakeholders Forum: Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and SFSF Phase II

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education hosted the second in a series of monthly Education Stakeholders Forums, where they share updates and information about timely education issues with representatives from schools, organizations, state and local governments, and other interested individuals.  This month’s forum focused on the Race to the Top funds, the Investing in Innovation grants, and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Part II requirements.

Deputy Secretary Tony Miller reiterated that all of these programs will take into account efforts to address the Department’s four reform areas — standards and assessments, effective teachers, data systems, and struggling schools — when considering grant applications.

Joanne Weiss, Director of the Race to the Top Program, explained that states will have two opportunities to apply for funding – once in the fall of 2009 and once in the spring of 2010.  This gives states who do not win a grant in during the first application period to apply again next year.  States that win a grant will not be eligible to apply during the second application period.  She also outlined the proposed priorities for applicants which were released in the Federal Register last week.

Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, spoke about the Investing in Innovation grants.  The key design principles for these grants include: outcomes, evidence, learning, sustainability, and scalability.

Ann Whalen, Special Assistant to the Secretary, reviewed the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Phase II reporting requirements.  These proposed metrics include 3 descriptors and 30 indicators in the categories of Equity in Teacher Distribution (8), Improving Collection and Use of Data (2), Standards and Assessments (14), and Support for Struggling Schools (9).  More information on these proposed requirements can be found in last week’s Federal Register.

The Department also provided stakeholders with a concise summary of all of the ED ARRA grants, which you can read here.

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