Innovation Fund Attracts Wide Variety of Applications

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The first phase of applications for grants from the AFT Innovation Fund has attracted tremendous response, with more than 125 applications submitted. The grant proposals came from all parts of the country, from AFT locals of all sizes as well as several state federations. AFT affiliates submitted proposals with innovative ideas in every priority area, including developing high-quality public school options that address out-of-school learning factors; new professional pathways and compensation systems; and programs that cultivate effective teaching.

The AFT Innovation Fund is a $2.8 million joint venture to put the resources of both the AFT and some of the nation's largest foundations behind reforms designed by teachers and the unions that support them. Innovation Fund executive director Adam Urbanski, who updated leaders of the union's Teachers and PSRP program and policy councils at their recent meetings, says the project represents a "real attempt to tap into the collective wisdom" of teachers and other educators.

The grant proposals are now being evaluated, and some applicants will be invited to complete a more comprehensive proposal for the next phase of the grant process.

June 10, 2009