Every student is a powerful learner. Their learning experiences should prepare and inspire them to create good lives, make positive change in their communities, and build a more equitable future for everyone.
Right now, our education system is struggling to make this vision a reality, particularly for Black and Latino students and students of all races experiencing poverty. This is a moment to significantly rethink how learning happens, for our youngest children to our young adults.
AERDF (pronounced AIR-dif) is a nonprofit initiative that funds and supports breakthrough outcomes through a model we refer to as Inclusive R&D. The AERDF team identifies compelling leaders with ambitious goals for improving student learning to serve as Program Directors. To reach those goals, Program Directors build on existing evidence from learning science to design multi-year Inclusive R&D programs to translate fundamental insights into more useful practices, approaches and tools.
We will continue to work with teachers, students, education leaders, researchers, and developers to identify problems and opportunities that can be tackled through Inclusive R&D programs in the coming years.
Research and development (R&D) bridges the gap between basic research on the one hand and professional practice and product development on the other. R&D converts research into capabilities — practices, methods, prototypes, tools — that can form the foundation of breakthrough innovations. The education sector, and PreK-12 in particular, lacks this type of robust R&D capacity. Other important sectors have much stronger R&D ecosystems, and often the innovations they spur have enormous impact on our everyday lives.
In our Inclusive R&D model, racially and ethnically diverse teams of educators, researchers, and developers working within various public school settings enter on equal footing and bring their particular perspectives and expertise to bear as we work together toward each program’s audacious goals.
AERDF is committed to ensuring the breakthroughs developed in its Inclusive R&D programs are made available to as many of our priority students as possible. For more information, please see our Global Access Commitment.
We issue awards to established organizations that have extensive experience working with and protecting student information (e.g., universities that mandate security standards). Adoption of ethical security and privacy standards is a critical consideration guiding decisions about which organizations we fund. We are currently finalizing shared policies and practices with funded teams to ensure all funded teams have the conservative and secure practices required to protect student information, and that these practices are clearly defined within our privacy terms. We intend to publish our full research privacy terms in early 2022.