Putting Ideas Into Action

Department of Education Awards $182M in Innovation and Research Grants

Funds Will Support Recipients' Model Projects Aimed at Improving Achievement for Underserved Students

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has announced $182 million in new grant awards to 30 school districts, colleges, and nonprofits across the United States as part of the Education Innovation and Research program. The grants will support recipients’ efforts to develop, implement, and expand entrepreneurial projects that show promise in improving academic achievement for underserved students, according to a Department of Education news release.

"Especially as students, educators, and school communities continue to heal and recover from the pandemic, we must invest in programs that are innovative and backed by evidence of what works to ensure that our education system can fully and effectively address the academic and social-emotional needs of our children," Cardona said. "These grants will help to offer rich opportunities to accelerate students' learning and nurture their development. I look forward to seeing how Education Innovation and Research Grants help take promising practices to scale."

The EIR program helps education researchers and planners to design, scale, and validate programs aimed at solving education's most pressing problems. Twenty six of the 30 grantees address at least one of the grant competition’s priorities: responding to the impact of the pandemic or promoting equitable student access to high-quality educational resources and opportunities.

With the influx of funds, EIR grantees can further explore their own models for addressing the impact of school closures during the pandemic, including:

  • Increasing student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) by providing tools to support a school-based tutoring program with volunteer tutors;
  • Utilizing a literacy intervention for kindergarten through third grade that delivers research-based one-on-one tutoring and family engagement;
  • Supporting second-graders' literacy learning recovery among underserved and rural populations;
  • Increasing the number of students who feel they belong, demonstrate resilience, and build positive relationships through social emotional learning instruction and enhanced family therapy and health services.

Included in the new round of grants is more than $46 million to recipients serving rural areas; more than $67 million to recipients focused on STEM education (including computer science); and more than $73 million to recipients supporting SEL projects.

A full list of selected grantees can be found at the EIR website.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].