Funding Innovation In Ohio Education

Most state and federal grant money seems to go to entities that can afford professional “grant writers.” Sometimes it seems as though people with really good ideas – but without the time and specialized expertise to jump through all the hoops of applying for government money – get overlooked.

That need not be the case with a plan to encourage innovation in Ohio schools, mostly because of the amount of money available: $250 million.

Gov. John Kasich’s administration has established the Straight A Fund, with plans to hand that much money out. The idea is to reward and encourage innovative programs to help students learn.

Grants of as much as $5 million each are available to school districts, joint vocational districts, charter schools and specialized science, technology, engineering and mathematics schools. If they find ways to partner with colleges and universities, the grants can go up to $15 million.

Five million dollars is a lot of money – enough to accomplish some real good.

Innovation – or, perhaps, great educational ideas that have not been pursued because of financial constraints – is alive and well in some East Ohio schools. Teachers and administrators there should give serious consideration to applying for Straight A Fund grants through the state Department of Education (the deadline for applications is Oct. 4).

Who knows? A truly groundbreaking idea in education may be lying dormant in an East Ohio classroom. A $5 million grant could just make it happen.