As you may have seen in eSchoolNews today, we are pleased to share with you the latest news from President Elect Obama’s speech yesterday on the economic recovery package he is developing. As you know, SETDA has been working closely with the Obama-Biden transition team and responding to many questions regarding costs of implementing technology rich classrooms, including hardware, software, content, professional development, and IT support. We have continued to work closely with CoSN, ISTE, and SIIA during this process. Today, in his speech, President Elect Obama stated:
"To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that's never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. We'll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future."
This is very exciting information, and now Congress has to figure out how to make it happen. SETDA has been asked by Congress to provide language on how EETT can be the vehicle for potential stimulus funding. We have also been able to share data and research on why this will both stimulate the economy and accelerate transformation in schools.
What Can YOU Do To Help?
Do you have champion educators (teachers, principals, Superintendents, etc) who would make a call to their Congressional staffers letting them know how pleased they are to see Instructional Technology included in the Stimulus package? If so, please contact them today and ask them to make the call as soon as possible. Ask them to make sure to stress how this kind of investment would impact the local district (Congressmen) or state (Senators). Some brief talking points are provided below that may be useful. Because of the many changes in Senate and House offices, we recommend that you call the office and ask for the education staffer:
Congressional Talking Points
- I’m calling to reinforce President Elect Obama’s support for educational technology. In his speech on Thursday, he said, “To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that's never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. We'll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.”
- Such an economic recovery plan will allow states and communities to create a 21st century learning environment that leverages technology and the Internet to modernize and improve teaching and learning. This stimulus funding would create education and related IT jobs, foster a more college and workforce ready student population, and provide economic growth in a technology sector that will be better able to serve the growing global education market.
- To ensure such an investment can be distributed efficiently and effectively, the existing NCLB II-D, Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program should be leveraged, thus maintaining a consistent mechanism to distribute funds and assuring educational and fiscal accountability.
- Although the costs are significant, the systemically implementing the technology rich classrooms with professional development to ensure that teachers are prepared to maximize the potential of technology for student achievement will accelerate transformation in the schools.
- State leadership is key in implementation of the high-quality, systemic program and to expedite the implementation process for both purchasing and professional development.
- This package is both a stimulus and also a true investment in the education of our students to ensure that they are prepared for the 21st Century.