USA Secretary DeVos Announces New Funding to Accelerate Education Innovation and Empower Teachers with Professional Development Options

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced $185 million in new grant funding for 28 school districts, institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations across the United States as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. These new grant awards will accelerate locally-driven innovation and improve academic achievement for high-needs students around the country.

This year’s funding supports a new, groundbreaking effort to empower teachers to personalize their professional development, rather than have it imposed on them by their state or school district. More than $72 million in new funding will help develop systems to enable teachers to select professional learning options that meet their personal development needs, without cost to the teachers and beyond the one-size-fits-all training typically offered by the school system.

“I have heard clearly from classroom teachers from around the country: teacher professional development is broken, and teachers know how to fix it,” said Secretary DeVos. “I am encouraged that these new grants will be used to empower teachers to choose their own professional learning and recognize that teachers should have the ability to choose the right direction for their professional growth. When you empower teachers to do what they know is best, teachers benefit—and so do students.”

In addition to promoting teacher empowerment, the 28 awards help realize other key Administration priorities, including:

  • over $79 million to grants serving rural areas,
  • over $66 million to grants focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education (including computer science), and
  • over $77 million to grants supporting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) projects.

The EIR program is authorized under Section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Its purpose is to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based innovation to improve student achievement. As with all the Department of Education’s grant competitions, applications undergo a blind evaluation by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and only the highest-scoring applications are funded. For additional information about the EIR competition, please visit

A complete list of awardees is below:

Name State Award Amount Project Type
University of Alaska Fairbanks AK $7,999,712 Social-Emotional Learning
WestEd CA $8,000,000 Social-Emotional Learning
New Teacher Center CA $7,998,782 Social-Emotional Learning
University of Southern California CA $7,998,815 Social-Emotional Learning
Orange County Superintendent of Schools CA $3,964,304 STEM
American Institutes for Research DC $7,999,777 Social-Emotional Learning
Digital Promise Global DC $3,996,372 STEM
Duval County Public Schools FL $3,502,713 STEM
School Board of Miami-Dade County FL $12,000,000 Teacher PD
North American Native Research and Education Foundation INC ID $3,568,382 STEM
Computer Science Teachers Association LLC IL $10,492,565 Teacher PD
Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative KY $3,999,633 STEM
YouthForce NOLA LA $3,996,263 STEM
Jobs for the Future, Inc. MA $4,000,000 STEM
Education Development Center, Inc. MA $3,999,826 STEM
The Johns Hopkins University MD $5,879,943 Social-Emotional Learning
The Curators of the University of Missouri Special Trust MO $3,932,204 STEM
Missouri State University MO $3,996,749 STEM
Appalachian State University NC $11,999,692 Teacher PD
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey NJ $4,000,000 STEM
Charleston County School District SC $11,932,890 Teacher PD
Voorhees College SC $5,822,638 Teacher PD
Niswonger Foundation TN $8,000,000 STEM
Texas A&M Research Foundation TX $7,999,563 STEM
Intercultural Development Research Association TX $3,898,640 STEM
Region 18 Education Service Center TX $9,053,450 Teacher PD
Virginia Advanced Study Strategies VA $10,864,212 Teacher PD
Educational Service District 105 WA $4,000,000 STEM