FRANKFORT, Ky. - With school districts across Kentucky dealing with tight budget limitations, leaders from the education and business communities say many bright ideas don’t get a chance to be implemented. A new foundation called The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky aims to change that.
“We all know that business must use research and development to develop better products and services. Education is no different. We cannot catch up with the rest of the world by doing what we’ve always done,” says Paducah businessman Billy Harper, who chair's The Fund’s board of directors.
Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson is also on the board. He says The Fund’s first project will work on connecting teachers who have unique classroom ideas with other colleagues.
“We want to create a situation where innovation, ideas that are occurring all throughout the state, we can have them shared, we can ultimately replicate the successful ones.”
Nearly $3 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped launch The Fund for Transforming Education. The organization plans to seek additional grants and establish a “venture capital” pool for teachers and schools.
“In effect, The Fund will pick up from where advocacy leaves off, providing extra resources to innovative schools, innovative teachers, and innovative school districts,” says Cindy Heine of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, which will have a seat on The Fund’s board.
Organizers say The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky is only the second program of its kind in the country, modeled after the Colorado Legacy Foundation.