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Begich Introduces “Investing in Innovation” Education Bill

Legislation supports local programs with proven success

With the goal of supporting successful local education programs and improving student success, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has introduced the Investing in Innovation for Education Act. Also known as the "i3" bill, the legislation promotes innovations proposed by school districts and organizations who can show a record of improved student achievement.

"We know one of the best ways to improve education is to support innovative ideas, especially those that come from local educators and organizations who know their communities and students best," Begich said. "The i3 bill continues a national competitive program with an emphasis on giving rural areas a chance to fairly compete."

Begich's bill is co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy, Joe Lieberman and Kirsten Gillibrand.

It makes permanent a Department of Education program created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act giving school districts, with a special focus on rural areas, the opportunity to boost innovative teaching and learning programs through competitive grants. Specifically, the bill supports school districts, groups of schools, educational services agencies and community organizations in their efforts to improve student outcomes, increase high school graduation rates, and improve college enrollment and completion.

The bill requires 25 percent of the funds awarded go to grantees from rural areas via:

·         A grantee may be a local educational agency in a distant or remote town or rural area;

·         A grantee may be an educational service agency or nonprofit organization with demonstrated expertise in serving students from rural areas;

·         A majority of the schools to be served by the project with these funds must be designated as fringe, distant, or remote rural schools.

"It can be difficult to compete for grants when you live in a small, rural area - like many in Alaska - and don't have the capacity to support the grant process through significant local funds. The key changes to the current program I've proposed level the playing field and give students no matter where they live, the chance to benefit from innovative ideas and programs," Begich added.

Recognizing the No Child Left Behind Act does not work in Alaska, Sen.  Begich has been working with his colleagues on federal education reform and has also introduced

The Effective STEM Teaching and Learning Act (STEM) which focuses on educational programs supporting science, technology, engineering and math.

FACT SHEET

Office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich Alaska :: Spring 2011

Official website :: http://begich.senate.gov

Investing in Innovation for Education
Purpose of the Investing in Innovation Program

The Investing in Innovation (i3) fund is a U.S. Department of Education initiative to support school districts, groups of schools, educational service agencies, and community organizations in their efforts to improve student achievement, increase high school graduation rates and improve college enrollment and completion. Under the i3 bill, competitive grants will support promising, innovative ideas to improve student outcomes. Applicants are required, unless waived, to secure a private or nonprofit match, currently set at 20 percent.

This legislation will move the i3 program into permanent law. The President’s Budget for FY2012 includes $300 million for i3.

The i3 bill promotes flexibility and ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas
  •  Priority for grant awards will go to applicants proposing to:
  •  Improve early learning outcomes
  •  Support college access and success
  •  Support family and community engagement
  •  Address the unique learning needs of students with disabilities or English learners
  •  Support the effective use of education technology to improve teaching and learning
  •  Improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects
  •  Serve schools in rural communities Focus includes teacher and principal training, improved schools
  •  The program focuses on these topic areas:
  •  Increasing teacher and principal effectiveness
  •  Turning around low-performing schools
  •  Making standards and assessments more practical, and improving data systems

The i3 bill includes dedicated funds for rural schools
  •  25 percent of the funds awarded must be to grantees from rural areas, as follows:
  •  A grantee of these funds may be a local educational agency in a distant or remote town, or a fringe, distant, or remote rural area (National Center for Education Services locale codes 32, 33, 41, 42, 43).
  •  A grantee of these funds may be an educational service agency or a nonprofit organization with demonstrated expertise in serving students from rural areas.
  •  A majority of the schools to be served by the project with these funds must be designated as fringe, distant, or remote rural schools (NCES locale codes 41, 42, 43).

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