One of the world’s biggest education charities is set to invest millions of dollars to support the delivery of a “high-quality curriculum” in US schools.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to award six to ten grants of up to $1 million each for partnerships to provide professional learning to teachers in the US.
The investment comes as the focus on curriculum in England's schools is increasing. Ofsted aims to put what is taught at the heart of its new inspection framework.
The new funding announced by the Gates’ foundation is part of a broader attempt by the charity to research curriculum design and provide “availability and awareness of high-quality curriculum and instructional tools”.
A report in the US publication Education Week says the new announcement is “likely to attract attention for inching closer to the perennially touchy issue of what students learn every day at school.”
Bob Hughes, an education director at the foundation, told Education Week that the grants will be used to help share approaches that work.
He said: “We want to identify the content-specific professional development services, products, and models that are working really well for young people, and also study the attributes of those solutions that make them effective so we can share that learning with the field.”
The foundation is inviting bids from partnerships that can meet the needs of middle or high schools with at least 50 per cent of pupils who are black, Latino, learning English or from a low-income background.
Successful bidders will need to support curriculum implementation in one of five areas: middle school maths; high school maths; middle school English language arts (ELA); high school ELA; or middle school science.
The foundation has said that it is particularly interested in bids from partnerships serving California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and North Carolina.
In its request for proposals, it said grants will be awarded to teams of organisations that can include curriculum authors, professional learning providers, school districts, and schools.
It said that research suggested that professional earning linked to curriculum and focused on teaching and learning specific content may have more promise for boosting student achievement.
However, it said that it can be costly to develop such PL (professional learning) content or build internal expertise on curriculum.