Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is beginning to announce details of the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund that Jim Shelton is leading for the Department, and there are some promising signs including the wise decision to divide the fund up into three different buckets that focus on, at one end, scaling up proven innovations with larger grants to, at the other end, funding out of the box ideas that have not yet been proven with smaller grants.

This article in eSchool News has a good summary but also highlights something that excites us quite a bit for its focus on disruptive innovations in education. The below is all from the article:

“Duncan pointed to virtual schools as one tool that can help students succeed where they otherwise might have fallen behind.

‘Online courses and supplementation are catching on fast, but we’ve made only limited investments in understanding online instruction,’ he said.

Online courses can expand access to high-level courses, especially in rural areas where 21st-century learning opportunities might be limited owing to distance, lack of funds, or lack of qualified instructors to teach specialized subjects.

‘An effective teacher is the single biggest factor in determining student progress,’ Duncan said. Tools are available today that weren’t available just a decade ago, he added–including formative assessment and real-time data to inform instruction.

‘We want to provide powerful incentives to districts and nonprofits to build the next generation of education reform,’ Duncan said. ‘Successful innovations, we know, are disruptive–we not only understand that, we welcome it.’”

– Michael B. Horn


  • Michael B. Horn
    Michael B. Horn

    Michael B. Horn is Co-Founder, Distinguished Fellow, and Chairman at the Christensen Institute.