U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona this week announced $182 million in new grant awards to 30 school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations across the United States as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. These grants will support local efforts to develop, implement, and take to scale entrepreneurial and evidence-based projects that have the potential to improve academic achievement for underserved students.
“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,” said Secretary Cardona. “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 the field design, scale, and validate programs with the potential to solve education’s most pressing problems. Twenty six of the 30 grantees address at least one of the priorities included in the competition for responding to the impact of the pandemic or promoting equity in student access to high-quality educational resources and opportunities.
As a result, the EIR grantees are exploring innovations for potential models for how the nation can address the impact of school closures and lost instructional time resulting from 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 (SEL) instruction and enhanced family therapy and health services.
Within this cohort of grants, the EIR program is supporting:
- more than $46 million in grants to rural areas;
- more than $67 million in grants focused on STEM education (including computer science); and
- more than $73 million in grants supporting SEL projects.
A full list of selected grantees can be found at: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/innovation-early-learning/.
 Some grantees focus on both STEM education and rural areas, SEL and rural areas, or STEM education and SEL and are counted within each respective bullet.