Initiatives and Projects

A number of Department initiatives and projects are directly related to the work of the Office of Innovation and Improvement and our goal of accelerating the development and broad adoption of innovative programs, processes, and strategies. To deliver an excellent education to every child and to ensure U.S. global competitiveness, President Obama has set the goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Though ambitious, this goal is attainable through bold reform and innovation spanning the education pipeline from early learning to college. The following initiatives and projects are among those that exemplify the Department’s commitment to the innovation agenda. is a website developed by the Department of Education (ED) to share data about its grant programs and is part of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative. ED will use to publish data sets about its grant programs and performance and other data that it collects on an ongoing basis.

Early Learning

President Obama is committed to providing the support that our youngest children need to succeed later in school. The importance of the early years in a child’s life has been well documented. The Department of Education (ED) prioritizes improving the health, social, emotional, and educational outcomes for young children from birth through 3rd grade by enhancing the quality of early learning programs, and increasing the access to high quality early learning programs especially for young children at risk for school failure.

Increasing Educational Productivity

Expectations for students and school systems continue to rise while many states face the toughest financial challenges of recent history. These dual realities mean that policy makers and practitioners must do more with the resources they have during these difficult budget times. Though this "new normal" is certainly a steep challenge, it is one that presents opportunities for states, districts, and schools to innovate, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate reform.

Funding for innovation and research and development in education doesn’t come from just government; philanthropists, venture capitalists, and other private-sector organizations are also highly engaged in this work. The Department has recognized that, in addition to funding innovative work, it can play the role of catalyst and broker for innovation. By using its public voice, it can help innovators and funders find each other and make connections that can lead to more innovative projects being undertaken as well as increased capital formation in the education sector. This is the role of the Open Innovation Portal—to serve as a catalyst and broker of innovation.

Investing in Innovation

The Investing in Innovation (i3) program provides competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

Military Families and Veterans

Our country’s safety and prosperity relies on the everyday commitment and sacrifice of our nation’s military members and their families. That’s why the U.S. Department of Education is proud to join agencies across the government in participating in First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, which seeks to mobilize all sectors of society to better support service members and their families.

Office of Educational Technology

The Office of Educational Technology (OET) is located in and supports the Office of the Secretary (OS). OET provides leadership for powering education at all levels of learning with technology. OET develops national educational technology policy and ensures that Department programs take advantage of the productivity and learning opportunities technology can provide. OET supports the Department’s Mission and the President’s and Secretary’s priorities by leveraging the best modern technology to support: progress toward college and career-ready standards; the development of assessments that will improve both teaching and learning; better connections for teachers with the data, tools, resources, experts and peers to ensure all students have access to highly effective teaching; turnaround of low-performing schools; and improved student learning, teacher performance, and college and career readiness through enhanced data systems.

Promise Neighborhoods

Promise Neighborhoods provides funding to ensure that all children and youth growing up in Promise Neighborhoods have access to great schools and strong systems of family and community support that will prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and a career. The purpose of Promise Neighborhoods is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in our most distressed communities, and to transform those communities.

TEACH Campaign

The TEACH campaign is an initiative of the United States Department of Education designed to raise awareness of the teaching profession and get a new generation of teachers to join the ones who are already making a difference in the classroom. At you can learn what it’s really like to be a teacher and get the tools you need to launch your own career in education.