- The NewSchools Venture Fund has announced a $7 million grant program to support innovative new schools, technology tools that support learning and efforts to diversify the school administrator pipeline.
- In announcing the funding, the investment company said teams in the planning phase of developing new schools can receive $100,000 to $200,000 to prepare to launch, and teams that are ready to go can get $200,000 to $700,000 to support their first few years of operations.
- The organization is looking for entrepreneurs developing personalized learning tools to help English language learners, specifically, and it will support ideas around attracting, recruiting, developing, retaining and placing black and Latino individuals in senior leadership positions in schools, education nonprofits and education technology companies.
NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that invests much like a venture capital firm, but it raises money in the form of charitable donations. Its focus on supporting tools for English language learners stems from the fact that innovation has lagged around the needs of this group, which is the fastest-growing population in U.S. schools.
Support from the federal government has also stagnated while this population has grown. When No Child Left Behind was passed, more programs that served English Language Learners had access to funding so, while the dollar amount supporting this group grew substantially, the per-student support plummeted. Through the rest of the Bush administration and the entirety of Obama’s, support for English language learners has remained largely flat and ELL advocates say passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act was a missed opportunity to rectify the problem.
When it comes to diversifying the leadership pipeline, NewSchools aims to change the face of administrators to better reflect the student population. The teaching force, too, needs attention as predominantly white, English-speaking women continue to teach students who are increasingly brown and bilingual.