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Re: [WWWEDU] Is Online Safety creating a problem in dissemination of great Project Based Learning? Is Internet Blocking a Problem for you?

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  • Nancy Willard
    For the record, I am in total agreement. But there is also something else about NCLB. This law requires that all instruction be Scientifically-Based. Every
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 19, 2010
      For the record, I am in total agreement. But there is also something
      else about NCLB. This law requires that all instruction be
      Scientifically-Based. Every instructional program has to have been
      proven by research to be effective - and listed as effective in the What
      Works Clearinghouse.

      This means that NO INNOVATIVE Web 2.0 based program can safely
      implemented - because there is no research indicating it is effective.
      And it can take a decade for such research to occur.

      So in the reauthorization of ESEA is is essential that this provision be
      changed to allow for the implementation of innovative programs under
      conditions that will allow for effective evaluation. There are
      provisions in the safe schools laws that allow for innovative, untested
      approaches. These provisions could be more wide-spread.

      Bonnie, this is an issue to raise with the STEM folks. They are in a
      great position to further this. I can provide more background.

      Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
      Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

      Peter Butts wrote:
      > Hi All-
      > I've been a lurker here since the mid-'90s as my career has gone from
      > middle school media specialist to district technology director to
      > elementary media specialist in another district. While I've seen
      > filters inhibit some student searching, I never worried too much about
      > it because our big message at the time was to have students take
      > advantage of the many great Internet Directories available at the time
      > rather than blind searching. Back then, it was pretty easy to get
      > filters to except changes when good sites were blocked. And I've also
      > seen teachers scared away from Internet projects because of Internet
      > safety scares. However, I feel very strongly that the biggest
      > impediment to project-based learning comes from standardized testing
      > and No Child Left Behind. Project-based learning is viewed as too
      > time-consuming, too resource-intensive, and just plain too difficult
      > to link directly to standards-based tests.
      > I can't thank Nancy enough for all the work she does on this issue,
      > but the "big picture" is that we've lost sight of what LEARNING really
      > looks like in this country and it is frightening to think that we are
      > allowing our children to be "taught" by Google, Wikipedia, Facebook,
      > the Home Shopping Network and MTV.
      > -Peter
      > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      > Peter Butts
      > Library Media Specialist
      > Amberly Elementary School
      > Portage, MI 49008
      > http://amberlymedia.edublogs.org <http://amberlymedia.edublogs.org>
      > pbutts61@... <mailto:pbutts61%40yahoo.com>
      > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      > "if you're not getting answers,
      > ask better questions."
      > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      > ________________________________
      > From: Nancy Willard <nwillard@... <mailto:nwillard%40csriu.org>>
      > To: wwwedu@yahoogroups.com <mailto:wwwedu%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Fri, February 19, 2010 10:28:03 AM
      > Subject: Re: [WWWEDU] Is Online Safety creating a problem in
      > dissemination of great Project Based Learning? Is Internet Blocking a
      > Problem for you?
      > Hey Bonnie,
      > Please find a way to link me in on this - to the folks at the top who
      > are trying to figure this out. I will be in DC for COSN next week. March
      > 1 - 3. If there is a way to arrange a meeting, I can help them
      > understand what has been happening and how to fix it.
      > I have been focusing on online safety since 1995. I told both the COPA
      > Commission and the NRC Committee that the "filtering solution" was not
      > going to be effective. My testimony for this is here:
      > <http://csriu. org/documents/ nwnas.php>
      > I actually wrote and self-published a book on effective Internet use
      > management in schools - that downplayed reliance on filtering in 2003 -
      > but no one was interested in this crazy idea.
      > Also, there have been 4 Technopanic eras since 1995 - Porn, Predators,
      > Cyberbullies, Sexting, Oh My! All of these eras have been epitomized by
      > disinformation - false information or half truths - and then simplistic
      > "block" solutions.
      > The predator fear has been the most significant - and just about every
      > thing that people think is accurate about this is wrong. 1 in 7 youth
      > have not been sexually solicited online by predators. Predators are not
      > tracking young people when they post personal information, images,
      > school name online - and abducting and raping them. Predators are not
      > pretending to be teens and tricking children or teens into meeting with
      > them with no knowledge that they have been communicating with an adult
      > who is interested in sex. Only an exceptionally few youth are at all at
      > risk from those creeps that they are capturing in chat room stings - the
      > ones who do not run the other way when some stranger sends a crotch shot.
      > I actually started a direct challenge against NCMEC and US DOJ this week
      > telling them they have to change this. Virtually everything the state
      > AGs are telling people about online predators is wrong. And I do not
      > think the AGs even know how wrong it is.
      > I also know which filtering company has close corporate relations with
      > the American Family Association. And all of the constitutional arguments
      > against school's reliance on filtering in the manner they are.
      > Some in the Internet Safety field do not like me because I have also
      > been trying to get them to change what they are saying. But I have
      > established a private group of this nation's top researchers and risk
      > prevention professionals in this field. And so have direct contact with
      > the folks who really understand these issues.
      > Lastly, I know how to effectively teach Internet safety - I have a full
      > scope and sequence for Internet safety education on my site - please
      > also link to me <http://csriu. org/professional s/>. I will have my 2
      > hour
      > professional development presentation for teachers available as soon as
      > the site I am distributing through fixes their server problem <sigh>. I
      > also have 2 other presentations almost done about effective Internet use
      > management for web 2.0 - and one of the legal issues that schools will
      > need to address as they shift to web 2.0.
      > ALSO - everyone needs to find my last message about the comments to
      > submit to the FCC on CIPA and directly and clearly tell the FCC that
      > CIPA is the PROBLEM. The way that schools have implemented CIPA - out of
      > fear they could lose ERate funding if any student ever accidentally
      > accesses any porn - is at the heart of what is wrong. They have to know
      > this.
      > Note my new signature.
      > Nancy
      > --
      > Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
      > Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
      > http://csriu. org
      > nwillard@csriu. org
      > Trying to teach students social networking without Web 2.0 in schools is
      > like trying to teach a child how to swim without a swimming pool.
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • BBracey@aol.com
      This can be discussed on the ISTE SIGDE wiki.. if you have comments. Prepared Remarks of Chairman Julius Genachowski Federal Communications Commission New
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 24, 2010
        This can be discussed on the ISTE SIGDE wiki.. if you have comments.

        Prepared Remarks of
        Chairman Julius Genachowski
        Federal Communications Commission
        New America Foundation
        Washington, D.C.
        February 24, 2010

        "Mobile Broadband:
        A 21st Century Plan for U.S. Competitiveness, Innovation and Job

        As many of you know, as part of the Recovery Act, Congress and the
        President charged the FCC with developing a strategy to bring
        high-speed Internet and its benefits to all Americans. Less than a
        month from now, we will deliver this National Broadband Plan to

        In the past, I’ve likened the development of this plan to running a
        marathon at a sprinter’s pace. But as I was watching my required 3
        hours of NBC last night, I realized that a more apt sports metaphor for
        the National Broadband Plan would be the Winter Olympics.

        Let me explain:

        First, the National Broadband Plan will be the culmination of a
        tremendous amount of hard work and effort.

        For months a dedicated team has been working around the clock. A team
        that includes engineers, economists, and entrepreneurs; lawyers,
        academics, analysts, and consumer advocates; some of the very best
        public servants in the business, drawing from every bureau at the FCC.

        They have been driven by the imperative of developing a meaningful plan
        for U.S. global leadership in broadband to create jobs and economic
        growth; to unleash new waves of innovation and investment; and to
        improve education, health care, energy efficiency, public safety, and
        the vibrancy of our democracy. Hats off to this world-class team.

        The second way the National Broadband Plan is like the Olympics -- the
        ultimate goal is to earn a gold medal for the United States.

        The challenge is: we are lagging behind when it comes to broadband.

        Multiple studies have the U.S. ranked outside the top 10 when it comes
        to broadband penetration and speed. While some people take exception
        with those studies, few would suggest that we are leading the world in
        broadband, or are even as close as we should be.

        And I can tell you from speaking to my counterparts in other countries,
        the rest of the world is not sitting around waiting for us to catch up.

        Consider a study that Intel CEO Paul Ottelini described yesterday. The
        study ranked the U.S. 6th in the world in innovative competitiveness,
        and 40th out of the 40 countries ranked in “the rate of change in
        innovative capacity.”

        The first of those rankings is enough of a concern. That last-place
        statistic is the canary in the coal mine.

        The costs of our failure to lead are high.

        As IBM CEO Sam Palmisano recently put it, “Without pervasive broadband,
        our country will not be prepared for a new world that is increasingly
        built on the fusion of the physical and the digital.”

        For U.S. businesses to lead across the globe and for innovation to
        flourish at home, we need to invest in the infrastructure of the
        future: broadband.

        We need robust and open broadband, flourishing with applications and
        services that we can only begin to imagine.

        We have extraordinary capacity in the U.S. to build the best computers,
        chips, and applications in the world. But we are at risk of that asset
        being wasted if we don’t have great broadband infrastructure, wired and

        It would be like having the technology for great electric cars, but
        terrible roads.

        When it comes to mobile broadband, our goal is clear: To benefit all
        Americans and promote our global competitiveness, the U.S. must have
        the fastest, most robust, and most extensive mobile broadband networks,
        and the most innovative mobile broadband marketplace in the world.

        This will be a core goal of our National Broadband Plan.

        To meet that goal, our plan is ambitious but straightforward:
        Accelerate the broad deployment of mobile broadband by moving to
        recover and reallocate spectrum; update our 20th century spectrum
        policies to reflect 21st century technologies and opportunities; remove
        barriers to broadband buildout, lower the cost of deployment, and
        promote competition.

        The Mobile Opportunity

        No area of the broadband ecosystem holds more promise for
        transformational innovation than mobile.

        Breakthrough new devices that put the power of a “PC-in-your-pocket,”
        combined with billions in network investments have liberated broadband
        from the desktop and made it possible to imagine a world where the
        Internet is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

        And some of America’s greatest innovators have clearly been working
        overtime to seize the opportunity, as the iPad and the Kindle attest.

        While mobile broadband is still in the preliminaries (to stick with the
        Olympics theme), we’ve seen enough to say some things definitively:

        This is a sector that can fundamental transform our society and

        Mobile broadband can be about job creation and economic growth.

        Jobs in the mobile network economy – jobs building out and managing
        extensive mobile broadband networks.

        And jobs in the mobile apps economy. According to Gartner research,
        $4.2 billion in mobile applications were sold last year – up from
        essentially zero just a couple of years ago. The number of apps has
        crossed 150,000.

        Studies show that increases in mobile broadband adoption translate into
        increases in economic growth and job creation.

        Mobile broadband can be about education.

        Last week, a New York Times article described an Arizona school
        district that installed Wi-Fi on one if its school buses. The bus was
        instantly transformed into a rolling study hall. And if anyone ever
        doubts the power of mobile broadband tell them this: the driver says
        that bus of high school kids is now quiet.

        Mobile broadband can be about healthcare.

        Mobile medicine takes remote monitoring to a new level. A patient’s
        heart rhythm can be monitored continuously, regardless of her
        whereabouts, and diabetics can receive continuous, flexible insulin
        delivery through real-time glucose monitoring sensors that transmit
        date to wearable insulin pumps.

        Mobile broadband can be about energy.

        With mobile broadband, consumers and businesses can utilize Smart
        Grid-enabled information services. A whole new world of “energy apps”
        can adjust lights, heating, and cooling from a smartphone or netbook,
        saving electricity, saving our environment, and saving money to boot.

        Mobile broadband can be about public safety.

        With mobile broadband, EMTs can beam images of a patient wirelessly
        from the road so that emergency room doctors can review them while the
        patient is in transit. First responders can also access a patient’s
        medical records almost instantaneously when they arrive on the scene.

        Mobile broadband can about 21st century government and enhanced civic

        During the recent snowstorm, Howard County, Maryland equipped all 120
        of its snow plows with GPS receivers. A website displayed the trucks’
        positions and the status of county streets, and county residents could
        see which streets had been plowed, salted or sanded. Families who lost
        power used their smartphones as a lifeline, coordinating cleanup

        We’re all seeing the ways in which mobile services like Twitter can
        enhance participation in public life – and of course that’s just the

        The Mobile Challenge

        And so these early days of mobile broadband demonstrate tremendous

        But they also reveal serious challenges to America’s hopes for global
        leadership in mobile.

        For starters, although the potential of mobile broadband is limitless,
        its oxygen supply is not.

        Spectrum – our airwaves – really is the oxygen of mobile broadband
        service. Without sufficient spectrum, we will starve mobile broadband
        of the nourishment it needs to thrive as a platform for innovation, job
        creation and economic growth.

        And the fact is America is facing a looming spectrum crunch.

        As part of our broadband process the FCC received a letter from over a
        hundred companies – including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Intel,
        Microsoft, Motorola, and Verizon – entities representing billions in
        investment and millions of American jobs. These companies were united
        in telling the FCC [quote]: “Without more spectrum, America’s global
        leadership in innovation and technology is threatened.”

        Let’s look at some numbers.

        Mobile data usage is not just growing, it’s exploding.

        AT&T reports that its mobile data traffic is up 5,000% over the past
        three years.

        That’s not surprising when you consider that a typical smartphone
        generates 30 times the traffic of a traditional data-enabled phone—and
        a netbook generates 450 times more traffic.

        According to Cisco, North American wireless networks carried 17
        petabytes per month in 2009. By 2014, they are projected to carry 740
        petabytes per month.

        Now even if you think a petabyte is something that sends you to the
        emergency room, you know that that’s a game-changing trajectory.

        There is spectrum coming to market. Counting 2008’s 700 MHz auction,
        the FCC in recent years has authorized a 3-fold increase in commercial
        spectrum for mobile broadband. But that increase will not allow us to
        keep pace with an estimated 30-fold increase in traffic.

        While the spectrum crunch is a serious obstacle threatening the growth
        of mobile broadband, it is not the only one.

        Wireless providers also face red tape and needless barriers, which slow
        deployment and increase the costs of investment.

        The costs of obtaining permits and leasing pole attachments and rights
        of way can amount to 20 percent of fiber deployment, which is necessary
        for wireless networks as well as wired networks. With our tower-siting
        shot-clock order in November, the Commission has already begun taking
        action to cut red tape, lower the costs of investment, and accelerate
        network deployments – but more needs to be done.

        Another serious problem is that the mobile broadband revolution is not
        reaching all Americans.

        Many homes are technically passed by mobile broadband networks, but
        still cannot get a clear signal inside their home. And a mobile divide
        is an increasingly important part of the digital divide. In Alaska, for
        example, 23% of its population doesn’t have access to 3G mobile
        broadband. In West Virginia, at least 29% of its population lacks
        coverage. We also see disproportionately low adoption rates among
        certain populations, such as persons with disabilities.

        A final major issue: we are still way behind on communications
        interoperability for first responders, years after a call to action was
        issued by the 9/11 Commission. And the situation is even worse when it
        comes to mobile broadband for first responders. While a portion of the
        700 MHz spectrum has been allocated for public safety broadband use,
        our country still needs to build out that network.

        America’s 2020 Broadband Vision

        With our National Broadband Plan, the Commission will lay out its most
        dramatic actions yet to position America as a global leader in mobile
        broadband innovation.

        What are we going to do?

        The Broadband Plan will represent the first important step in what, my
        colleague, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, has urged us to
        pursue: “an ongoing strategic planning process on spectrum policy – to
        ensure that the agency’s stewardship of the public’s airwaves is smart,
        future-oriented, and serves as an ongoing engine of innovation and

        First, we are going to announce a gameplan to unleash more spectrum for
        mobile broadband.

        The National Broadband Plan will set a goal of freeing up 500 Megahertz
        of spectrum over the next decade. We will work closely with NTIA to do

        One of the best ways for us to achieve the right balance in the supply
        and demand of spectrum is to establish market-based mechanisms that
        enable spectrum intended for the commercial marketplace to flow to the
        uses the market values most.

        The Broadband Plan will recommend one such mechanism. It will propose
        a “Mobile Future Auction” -- an auction permitting existing spectrum
        licensees, such as television broadcasters in spectrum-starved markets,
        to voluntarily relinquish spectrum in exchange for a share of auction
        proceeds, and allow spectrum sharing and other spectrum efficiency

        Now, I’ve mentioned broadcast spectrum – so let me be clear: the
        recommendation is for a voluntary program.

        While overwhelmingly -- roughly 90% -- of Americans receive their
        broadcast TV programming in most major markets through cable wires or
        satellite signals, there are still millions of Americans who receive TV
        through over-the-air antenna TV. Broadcasters would be able to
        continue to serve their communities with free over-the-air local news,
        information, and entertainment; and they would be able to experiment
        mobile TV.

        The Mobile Future Auction would allow broadcasters to elect to
        participate in a mechanism that could save costs for broadcasters while
        also being a major part of the solution to one of our country’s most
        significant challenges.

        Why look at broadcast spectrum as a major part of our spectrum
        strategic planning?

        First, a broad range of analysts, companies and trade associations
        participating in our Broadband proceeding agree that a clear candidate
        for allocation is spectrum in the broadcast TV bands.

        They point to a massive amount of unlocked value in that spectrum,
        which has characteristics that make it particularly suitable for mobile
        broadband – one study suggests that as much as $50 billion in value
        could be unlocked if we adopted policies to convert some of the
        broadcast spectrum to mobile broadband. This suggests that there are
        inefficiencies in the current allocation.

        A second reason is that the highly valuable spectrum currently
        allocated for broadcast television is not being used efficiently –
        indeed, much is not being used at all.

        About 300 megahertz of spectrum have been set aside for broadcast TV.
        In markets with less than 1 million people, only 36 megahertz are
        typically used for broadcasting. In cities with more than 1 million
        people, on average about 100 megahertz are used. Even in our very
        largest cities, at most only about 150 megahertz out of 300 megahertz
        are used.

        This is true even after the recent reallocation for digital television,
        which freed up some spectrum for mobile broadband. New technologies
        allow – indeed, they require – new strategic planning to ensure the
        most efficient use of spectrum, a vital public resource, especially
        given our broadband needs.

        Because of the billions of dollars of unlocked value in broadcast
        spectrum, and because of the current inefficient spectrum allocation,
        the Mobile Future Auction is a win-win proposal: for broadcasters, who
        win more flexibility to pursue business models to serve their local
        communities; and for the public, which wins more innovation in mobile
        broadband services, continued free, over-the-air television, and the
        benefits of the proceeds of new and substantial auction revenues.

        One thing is clear. It typically takes quite some time from the
        beginning to end of a Commission strategic spectrum reallocation
        process. But the clock is ticking on our country’s mobile broadband
        leadership opportunity and our global competitiveness challenge, and we
        have to get started.

        Our Plan for mobile broadband will also recommend applying a flexible
        approach to other frequency bands, where our rules—technical rules,
        service rules—may be holding back the broadband potential of large
        swaths of spectrum. We need to bring our spectrum policies into the
        21st century.

        The Plan proposes resolving longstanding debates about how to maximize
        the value of spectrum in bands such as the Mobile Satellite Service
        (MSS) or Wireless Communications Service (WCS) by giving licensees the
        option of new flexibility to put the spectrum toward mobile broadband
        use—or the option of voluntarily transferring the license to someone
        else who will.

        Vital elements of the Commission’s charter are to ensure that, in
        exercising our responsibilities with respect to spectrum, we promote
        competition and ensure that spectrum use is in the public interest, and
        of course all spectrum policy decisions will be made with that in mind.

        In addition, our National Broadband Plan will encourage innovative ways
        of using of spectrum, including what some call “opportunistic” uses, to
        encourage the development of new technologies and new spectrum policy

        Unlicensed spectrum, for example, has been a proven testbed for
        emerging competition, injecting new investment and innovation into the
        marketplace, and spawning new services and devices from Bluetooth to
        WiFi technology. The market for WiFi network equipment alone is about
        $4 billion a year, and analysts project the market for WiFi-enabled
        health products will reach $5 billion by 2014. This is what people used
        to call the “junk band” until the FCC released it for unlicensed use
        and innovators got to work.

        In addition, new ideas such as databases that dynamically enable—or
        revoke—access to spectrum in particular times and places promise to
        change the way we think about spectrum.

        For example, entrepreneurs could create new types of devices and ad hoc
        networks, enabling innovative new uses of spectrum.

        And, spurred by the smart persistence of my colleague Commissioner
        Michael Copps, the Plan will include a recommendation that we invest a
        sufficient amount in R&D to ensure that the science underpinning
        spectrum use continues to advance

        To close the adoption gap, our Plan would propose the creation of a
        Mobility Fund, as part of broader reforms of the Universal Service
        Fund. Without increasing the overall size of universal service
        funding, the Plan will seek to provide one-time support for deployment
        of infrastructure enabling robust mobile broadband networks, to bring
        all states to a minimum level of mobile availability. Bringing all
        states up to a national standard will help enable Americans in unserved
        areas participate in the mobile revolution.

        Finally, and critically, to improve mobile communications for our first
        responders, we will develop the 700 MHz public safety broadband network
        to achieve long overdue interoperability.
        I will have more to say on public safety tomorrow, but let me just
        mention now that we will have a comprehensive public safety strategy in
        the National Broadband Plan.
        At a high level, our goals will be achieved through public-private
        partnerships between public safety and 700 MHz commercial providers,
        including, but not limited to, a commercial licensee of the “D block.”

        The plan will also recommend that we establish and fund an Emergency
        Response Interoperability Center (ERIC) within the FCC to develop
        common technical standards for interoperability on the public safety
        broadband network from the start, and to update these standards
        periodically as broadband technology evolves.

        These are all programs in an ambitious Plan to deliver the benefits of
        broadband service, both wireless and wired, to all Americans and to
        invest in and build a world-leading broadband infrastructure in the

        There is an enormous amount of work to be done.

        The National Broadband Plan will chart a clear path forward. And if we
        do not seize the moment, I fear for the opportunity we will have lost.

        I’d like to close with one last comparison to the Olympics. The
        Olympics are unique in sport because they only come every four years.
        When you get your chance, you better make it count, because you don’t
        know when, or if, you’ll get another shot. With this Plan, we have a
        special opportunity to lay a foundation for American leadership in the
        21st century.

        If we get it right, broadband will be an enduring engine for creating
        jobs and growing our economy, for spreading knowledge and enhancing
        civic engagement, for advancing a healthier, sustainable way of life.
        This is our moment. Let’s seize it.

        What does this mean to education? We would like your comments and
      • BBracey@aol.com
        Today, the Department announced the availability of the grant application for the highly anticipated Investing in Innovation (i3) program. These grants will
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 8, 2010
          Today, the Department announced the availability of the grant
          application for the highly anticipated Investing in Innovation (i3)
          program. These grants will support local districts and nonprofit
          organizations—working in partnership with several districts and/or
          several schools—as they seek to implement educational innovations with
          promising or demonstrated effective outcomes for students.

          Through this program, competitive grants will be awarded to applicants
          with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order
          to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative
          practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on:

          improving student achievement or student growth,
          closing achievement gaps,
          decreasing dropout rates,
          increasing high school graduation rates, or
          increasing college enrollment and completion rates.
          The notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and
          selection criteria (NFP) for the i3 program can be found here on
          ED.gov: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html In the
          coming days it will be published in the Federal Register. As you’ll
          note, there are three types of grants for which funding is available
          under the i3 program: Scale-up Grants, Validation Grants, and
          Development Grants. We advise interested local parties to carefully
          review the specifics regarding each of these grant types, as they look
          to determine which grant category is most suited to the specific
          progress level of their local activities.

          As many of you have expressed interest in the announcement of these
          grants, we wanted to make you immediately aware of their availability.
          Applicants will have 60 days to develop applications. We are including
          the press release below for your convenience.

          Our apologies if you are receiving this announcement more than once, as
          we are attempting to reach as many groups as possible with this

          The Communications and Outreach Team
          U.S. Department of Education

          U.S. Department of Education
          Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
          400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
          Washington, D.C. 20202

          FOR RELEASE
          March 8, 2010
          Contact: Sandra Abrevaya
          (202) 401-1576 or press@...


          WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today
          announced the Department of Education's final priorities and the grant
          application for the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The
          fund, which is part of the historic $5 billion investment in school
          reform in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will
          support the development of path-breaking new ideas, the validation of
          approaches that have demonstrated promise, and the scale-up of the
          nation’s most successful and proven education innovations.

          “Many of our generation’s greatest breakthroughs occur when
          people are willing to invest in small scale projects with big scale
          potential,” said Duncan. “We need to identify these pockets of promise
          in the education community and give them the resources they need to

          Individual school districts or groups of districts can apply
          for the i3 grants, and entrepreneurial nonprofits can join with school
          districts or a consortium of schools to submit applications. To qualify
          for the competitive grants, applicants will need to address one of the
          four areas that are driving the Obama administration’s school reform
          agenda: supporting effective teachers and principals; improving the use
          of data to accelerate student achievement; complementing the
          implementation of standards and assessments that prepare students for
          success in college and careers; and turning around persistently
          low-performing schools.

          Applicants will receive a competitive preference if their
          project addresses one or more of the following priorities: improving
          outcomes for young children; expanding students’ access to college and
          preparing them for success in college; addressing the unique needs of
          students with disabilities and of limited English proficient students;
          and serving schools in rural areas.

          Unlike other federal grant programs where evidence is a
          selection criterion, in the i3 program evidence is a formal eligibility
          requirement. The i3 regulations also include specific definitions for
          what constitutes strong evidence, moderate evidence and a reasonable
          hypothesis and will award three types of grants based on these three
          levels of evidence. Development grants will require a reasonable
          hypothesis and will be aimed at helping develop fresh ideas, Validation
          grants will require moderate evidence and will be aimed at validating
          and spreading promising programs to regional scale, and Scale Up grants
          will require strong evidence and will be aimed at bringing proven
          programs to national scale. The Department expects to make Development
          grants of up to $5 million each; Validation grants of up to $30 million
          each; Scale Up grants of up to $50 million each.

          “This fund awards three different grants to programs at three
          different stages of development that all share one thing in common-
          evidence of success,” said Duncan. “We will award modest grants for new
          ideas, more for programs with moderate levels of evidence and
          significant funds to those with the strongest track records of success.
          There is no argument for investment more powerful than a program that
          is making a difference in the lives of our kids.”

          Once identified as an award recipient, successful applicants
          will need to demonstrate how their programs will be sustainable after
          their federal grants are completed as well as find a 20 percent cash or
          in-kind match of the federal award from the private sector. To assist
          recipients in their efforts to find private matches and to serve the
          larger purpose of creating an innovation community, the Department of
          Education has launched an online community, the Open Innovation Portal.
          This is the first national forum within which entrepreneurs, education
          stakeholders of all types, and funders can partner to develop and fund
          innovative ideas in the education sector. Through this portal, the
          Department will hope to facilitate partnerships by convening
          like-minded individuals to accelerate the development, identification,
          and broad use of innovative products, practices, and processes to
          improve education in schools.

          Applications will be due in mid-May and grants will be awarded
          in September. In the coming weeks, officials from the Department’s
          Office of Innovation and Improvement will hold informational workshops
          in Atlanta, Baltimore and Denver that will be web-accessible. President
          Obama has proposed an additional $500 million of the i3 program in his
          fiscal 2011 budget.

          Applications available here:

          Forwarded by Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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