The Kentucky Chamber is pleased to support the recently launched Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund).
Launched during a news conference at the Chamber’s headquarters in Frankfort, The Fund aims to encourage and support innovative new approaches in Kentucky classrooms.
Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson serves on the board of The Fund, which will also operate of the Chamber’s headquarters.
The Fund will start off by partnering with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to administer two recent grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation totaling nearly $3 million. The first grant will help establish teacher networks and forums so innovative teachers can more easily “connect” with other teachers around the state and share promising new ideas for improving student outcomes.
The second grant is aimed at bringing together teachers in the "core" subject areas, such as science and math, so they can collaborate on assignments for students. It is hoped that this collaboration will yield significant improvements in student achievement.
In addition to overseeing those grants over the next three years, The Fund will also raise additional finances to support other innovative projects, such as providing “venture capital” to individual teachers and schools that have promising new ideas but need additional resources to move forward.
“Those of us in business typically set aside funds for research and development,” said Billy Harper, a Paducah business leader who is Chairman of The Fund. “This R&D is what leads to improved products and services, sustains jobs, and gives us a competitive edge.”
“Overseeing the work sponsored by the Gates Foundation will obviously be our top priority for the next couple of years,” said Harper. “But looking further down the road, we will work to raise more money so we can provide an even bigger boost for innovative thinkers in schools. Although we have not set any long-term fundraising targets, we have received lots of encouragement from individuals, corporations, and foundations.”