The Ford Foundation is launching a seven-year, $100 million effort to improve secondary education in disadvantaged urban schools in seven U.S. cities.
The initiative aims to close the achievement and opportunity gaps that exist in America's public education system by improving teaching quality, increasing learning time, boosting accountability and encouraging equitable school financing.
To improve teaching quality, the foundation will support efforts that encourage collaborative instruction and learning within a school, with the goal of sharing best practices across the institution.
The effort encourages high-quality education during a lengthened school day and year, particularly in poor school districts.
Calling standardized tests a "blunt tool," Ford say it will support reformers' efforts to uncover better ways of measuring progress and accountability.
And the foundation will promote policies designed to ensure adequate state funding is provided to all school districts, regardless of whether they are wealthy or poor.
"Improving our schools, and giving the most vulnerable young people real educational opportunities, benefits all of us," Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, says in a statement. "With this initiative we want to shake up the conversations surrounding school reform and help spur some truly imaginative thinking and partnerships."
The program will focus on schools in New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Denver.