State Policy Network
State Policy Network recognizes innovative education solutions through 2021 Ed-Prize Awards

Parents, students, and schools across the country are still reeling from the impact the coronavirus has had on education. The pandemic has put parents’ concerns about education back in the spotlight, and they are eager for more transparency, accountability, and options.

To encourage state think tanks to advance innovative education solutions that will empower parents and students, SPN partnered with the  Arthur N Rupe Foundation in California to launch Ed-Prize in 2020. Through recognition and grant funding, Ed-Prize accelerates ambitious, creative approaches that advance flexible learning models, drive accountability through transparency, and improve student performance in K-12 education.  

As pandemic-related disruption continues to open doors for education reform, SPN and The Challenge Foundation partnered together in 2021 to award Ed-Prize to two organizations pioneering new solutions to prepare students for successful careers and fulfilling lives.

SPN is pleased to announce the 2021 Ed-Prize winners:

izzit.org will introduce Career & Technical education opportunities to students in Pennsylvania

izzit.org is the educational distribution arm of Free to Choose Network, an organization that uses accessible and entertaining media to build popular support for personal, economic, and political freedom. Izzit.org offers no-cost, high-quality educational materials to anyone interested in learning, including teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and grandparents. The website’s educational materials reach thousands of educators and students.

Izzit.org will use the Ed-Prize grant to bring a mobile classroom, izzit HERE, to schools in Western Pennsylvania. This mobile classroom will introduce students to Career & Technical Education (CTE) such as culinary arts, automotive technology, health sciences, construction, and business education. The project will also integrate local employers to present hands-on examples of their trades.

CTE programs prepare high school graduates for high-demand and high-wage careers, often without requiring a four-year degree. However, most public schools do not directly offer CTE programs but instead send students to a regional CTE center—which often serves several school districts and doesn’t educate students on potential CTE career opportunities.

The izzit HERE mobile classroom will be a literal vehicle giving students hands-on access to CTE education. By using a remodeled RV as a mobile teaching unit, izzit HERE will serve all students in all districts in Western Pennsylvania while strengthening ties between schools, local businesses, and community partners. izzit HERE will heighten awareness for CTE programs and careers in the trades to students who may not be considering a four-year college degree as a post-secondary career path.

MicroschoolingNV will expand innovative education option to families across the country

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the education space, parents are reconsidering traditional schooling and are looking for alternatives. One of those alternatives is microschools, or private organizations that offer teachers for hire to small groups of students.

MicroschoolingNV, an initiative of Nevada Action for School Options, is working to create a community of effective, affiliated microschools in Nevada. MicroschoolingNV’s flagship Nevada microschool, the Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy, produced unprecedented academic learning gains that surpassed those of local public schools at a fraction of Nevada’s per-pupil funding level.

Because of the high academic learning gains, low cost, and scalability, microschools are an attractive solution to over-sized and poorly managed public school districts.

MicroschoolingNV will use the Ed-Prize grant to establish at least two new microschools in Nevada and six additional partnership microschools around the nation.

MicroschoolingNV has already been working with municipalities, employers, and associations and is in the early development stages of building other partnership microschools in Southern Nevada. By expanding microschools, parents and their children will have access to another education option when they need it most.

Congratulations to the izzit.org and MicroscholingNV for working to ensure all children have access to the quality education options they need and deserve. SPN is awarding each organization a $75,000 grant to bring these proposals to life.  


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Policy Issues: K-12 Education
Organization: State Policy Network