Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Winner


February 2015  


Dr. Balfanz testifies before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee


Dr. Robert Balfanz, co-founder of Diplomas Now and a senior research scientist at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education Labor & Pensions on Tuesday, February 3. In his testimony at the hearing on Fixing No Child Left Behind: Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students, Dr. Balfanz discussed innovative programs, specifically Diplomas Now, that are improving student outcomes in the most-challenged schools and schools districts in the country. Read the full testimony here.


At the roundtable hearing, Dr. Balfanz talked about seeing success when innovation programs were paired with federal accountability, particularly from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). "This is an exciting time to be re-authorizing the ESEA. We know so much more now than we did 15 years ago and that can really help us create a much more impactful ESEA that really spurs the innovative spirits of our teachers and administrators but also focuses them to the biggest challenges and highest needs," said Dr. Balfanz. He also spoke about how the greatest opportunity in reauthorization comes in steering more federal resources toward evidence-based practices particularly for our most challenged schools working in high poverty contexts. A percentage of Title I expenditures must be earmarked for evidence-based practices, while continuing to expand the range of validated approaches through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program.


Also testifying were:

  • Ken Bradford, assistant superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Josh Davis, vice president, external affairs, Delta Health Alliance, Soneville, Miss.
  • Katie Duffy, CEO, Democracy Prep Public Schools, New York, NY
  • Dr. Susan Kessler, executive principal, Hunters Lane High School, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Dr. James McCintyre, Jr., superintendent, Knox County Schools, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Henriette Taylor, community school coordinator, The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School, Baltimore, Md.

View the video of the hearing here






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