Should technology be the driving force of educational reform?

Even though President Obama’s 2011 budget calls for an increase of $3.5 billion in education, he has proposed to eliminate the sole source of educational technology funding, EETT, which provides $100 million annually in direct funding for the use of technology in education. This has a lot of education groups concerned, for obvious reasons.

You may have been following the debate but here’s an infographic for those of you who need to a quick recap.

EdTech Funding

CoSN and ISTE Speak Out

CoSN and ISTE stress that the consolidation of the Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program strips our nation of the sole source of dedicated federal education technology funding. ISTE CEO Don Knezek urges that “education technology is the lifeblood of lasting school improvement” and technology should be “the backbone of school improvement”. The infusion of technology and education provides children with the necessary skills to become college and career ready and compete with their peers around the globe.

OSTP Retorts

In a document released February 1, 2001 “A New Foundation for 21st Century Learning: Education Technology Investments in the 2011 Budget” the Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) insists “The President strongly believes that technology, when used creatively and effectively, can transform education and training in the same way that it has transformed the private sector.” The document illustrates that the proposed elimination of EETT does not mean the end of federal commitment to educational technology.

Instead, educational technology will be integrated across a broad range of programs. Funds for technology-based interventions total over $22 billion. Programs rewarding non-intervention technology efforts such as Investing in Innovation and Cyber Learning Transformation Education will total $540 million. States and LEA will have stronger incentives to use funds for cost-effective technology strategies.

Finding Common Ground

Education groups and the executive office actually share the idea that the integration of technology in education will be the driving force to move American students from the middle of the pack to the top of the pack in the next decade. Education groups acknowledge the Administration’s commitment to technology, but urge the Administration and Congress to make the integration of technology funding meaningful and to support a separate, directed educational technology program, the ATTAIN Act, EETT’s proposed successor.

As teachers and parents, how do you think this debate will affect you and your children? Should technology even be the driving force of educational reform?

Read more in support of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

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