Educators Work on Real School Reform

By Cindy Long

The NEA Foundation wants to hear about your problems. Classroom problems, that is.

Maybe you’re wondering how to engage your students. Or you’re not sure how to introduce technology into the classroom. Or it could be that initiating cross-curricular activities has you stumped.

Whatever the problem, the NEA Foundation wants to know, and they’ll provide cash awards for the best responses as part of a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Education called the Challenge to Innovate (C2i).

The program was announced this week by the department’s Assistant Deputy Education Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton at this week’s Gov 2.0 summit, calling C2i an excellent example of how educators can use technology to collaborate and innovate.

(Read the positive reaction to the NEA-Department of Ed partnership on HuffingtonPost.)

“We’re excited to learn how networks of educators can come together to solve problems, and believe there is no better place to start than enabling teachers to make their voices heard — both in defining the problem and selecting the solutions,” he said.

To participate, educators register at the Department of Education’s Open Innovation Portal, select the NEA Foundation C2i challenge, post their problem ideas, and evaluate the responses of others through a scoring system.

The five best ideas, as evaluated by the open portal community, will receive $1000 each and may be selected for further development.

We believe that public school educators are most valuable as agents, not objects, of change,” says Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “The Challenge to Innovate provides incentives and creates a community of educators where they can identify, discuss, and solve their classroom problems peer-to-peer.”

By starting the conversation and by recognizing the best ideas, the NEA Foundation hopes to support and reward innovative educators, and, at the same time, develop new approaches that will change the way educators teach and students learn.

Find out how to get started by watching the C2i video.