UM System wins $12 million for educational program

Friday, August 6, 2010 | 2:07 p.m. CDT

 COLUMBIA – A University of Missouri System program has been selected to win more than $12 million in a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Teaching Strategies, or eMINTS, is one of 49 educational programs and institutions chosen to receive an Investing in Innovation Fund, or i3, grant. It was selected as a "highest rated applicant" out of almost 1,700 applicants vying for $650 million in grant money, according to a release from the department.

Before the 49 selected applicants can receive grant money, they have to raise some of their own. Each must raise 20 percent of the awarded amount from the private sector by Sept. 8. Programs can request to have the 20 percent match waived. A final list of i3 grantees will be issued in mid- to late-September.

The i3 grants are part of $10 billion dedicated to school reform by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The fund will support programs that attempt to close achievement gaps and help high-need students, the release said.

The department chose applicants that will operate in 42 states and two territories. 

More than half of the programs plan to work with students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency. Thirty-seven percent intend to work with rural school districts, according to the release.

Four programs with strong track records for success won up to $50 million in “scale up” grants. Fifteen growing programs with evidence of successes won up to $30 million in “validation” grants — eMINTS was one of these. Another 30 institutions with promising ideas won up to $5 million in “development” grants.

According to a summary of its grant application, the UM System Board of Curators requested a little more than $12 million in funding for the eMINTS Validation Project. A document on the U.S. Department of Education website shows that UM has secured its 20 percent match.

eMINTS aims to improve classroom learning by coupling high-quality teaching with technology. The money will be used to examine the effectiveness of the program by testing it in 60 school districts in rural Missouri with high-need middle school students.

The project will span five years and is expected to work with 10,500 students and 240 teachers in that time. Project goals include assessing and increasing seventh- and eighth-grade students’ mathematics and English language arts performance, as well as considering eMINTS’ affect on teaching practices.

The project will include professional development for educators, in-classroom coaching and outfitting classrooms interactive whiteboards, student computers and other technology.

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Mike Sykuta August 6, 2010 | 2:25 p.m.

While this sounds like an interesting program, what really caught my eye is that this award is supposedly "stimulus" (ARRA) money that was intended to jump start the economy in 2009/2010. Instead, it is just now getting close to being spent. When it is released, it will be spent over a five year period. So much for a "stimulus".

It is this kind of doling out of future generations' wealth (via the explosive deficits incurred) under the guise of "stimulus" that has not only proven the failure of big government fixes, but has put the current Administration and its Congressional allies on the chopping block this election season. Let's not let the ends (a possibly useful program) justify the means (something bordering on fraud against taxpayers and voters to the tune of $750 billion).

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