In the latest signal that policymakers are putting money behind the push to ensure students are equipped with grit and other non-cognitive skills, the U.S. Department of Education just announced that it is providing a special priority for programs to teach these skills in its new $75 million RFP for GEAR UP grants. Here’s how the department summed it up:
This year’s GEAR UP program also places a priority on helping to improve students’ non-cognitive skills and behaviors, including academic mindset, perseverance, motivation, and mastery of social and emotional skills that improve student success. The grants are part of the Department’s focus on increasing the equity of opportunity in America’s schools so that every child—no matter his or her zip code—has a clear path to the middle class. The nation’s schools, teachers, and students have made significant gains, but despite this solid progress, wide gaps of opportunity and achievement continue to hurt many minority, low-income, and other underserved students.
For those of us who have been working in this field, it’s an encouraging sign that the movement is beginning to mature from cutting edge research to mainstream practice. If you agree, I encourage you to consider pursuing the grant and confer with other members of the EduGuide Leaders Circle on our blog with your ideas or requests for help. Proposals are due July 7, 2014: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-75-million-gear-competition.
If you’re still getting up to speed on what non-cognitive skills are all about, you might want to check out the research and resources on our website. Or if you’re looking for a partner to help you do it, schedule a time to meet with our nonprofit and we’ll give you a tour: