Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Education Technology got a bum deal in the Stimulus Bill

From Ed Week:

Advocates for school technology were disappointed that funding for the federal Enhancing Education Through Technology program was downsized by more than a third in the final bill from a proposed $1 billion. But they noted that the measure contains several other pots of money slated for technology, along with other money—though not earmarked for education technology...

Ed Tech got a bum deal in this stimulus package. There's no other way to put it. As we noted here before, the $650 million allotment means 20 bucks in tech ed for each of our K through 8 public school students. That doesn't even count high school.

Most of the folks on Capital Hill have no idea what Web 2.0 means, let alone do they understand how it is having and increasingly will have an impact on education. The fact that the biggest debate going on in public education in Washington right now has to do with what to rename NCLB demonstrates unequivocally that Republican and Democratic politicians alike just don't get it.

What really riles me up is that it's presented in such a way as if Ed Tech is just 'one more thing' or just 'the latest idea' in education.

Get this folks: unlike almost every single educational idea that's come down the pike since Dewey, this one was NOT rooted in educational theory. Ed Tech is not some theory that some egghead from MIT came up with. Culture itself has already transformed into the Digital Age. If anything, education is playing a game of 'catch-up' with culture.

When it comes to Ed Tech, there's no choice involved. The landscape has already changed. This isn't about buying pretty computers. This is about giving our children the opportunity to actively take part in the global 21st century world. If we do not let them take part; if we do not engage them with technology; if we do not become both efficient ourselves and facilitators for the next generation -- then we are headed for failure.

And as a culture we will be so far behind the curve, there will never be a chance again to catch up -- let alone lead.

Ed Tech Stimulus would not only create jobs by immediately filling IT positions in every public school in this country; it would not only encourage growth, accessibility, and Wi-Fi initiatives across our urban centers; it would not only create a new marketplace for ideas and innovation; it would fundamentally offer a new generation of students an authentic and fulfilling education. And sure-as-heck we're gonna need the next generation to be smart enough and wise enough and CONNECTED enough to fix all the problems that my generation and my parents' generation created.


  1. It is horrible that Ed tech got such a small amount. I can't agree more with you about Ed tech not being the next big thing in educational theory. It seems ridiculous to even suggest it. Our society becomes more and more dependent on technology everyday, how are students expected to be successful after school if they can't get the education required to work with the new technologies? My generation finds the idea of a paperless classroom strange and I'm not even out of college yet. If I am already so far behind I can't imagine what it is like to be in a high school using out of date computers or even worse no computers at all. The government needs to realize that this is not a trend or merely a new chapter in educational theory, Ed tech is needed to prepare students for the real world.

  2. This really upsets me that the government is ignoring just how important ed tech is to our technological society. It is sad that our schools and children are being deprived of new and important technologies as well as knowledge. Our children are the future and we need to prepare them as best we can for this ever-changing community. People are in denial of just how important technology is our world now and people need to help the schools of today out and keep them up to date with the technology of the era. Ed tech plays an extremely important role to our future and it needs to be taken into consideration instead of ignored.

  3. It is really horrible that something as important as teaching students how to use technology was past over in deciding how to spend all that money. There are so many tools for learning out there that kids are simple not able to access because of lack of funding. I am currently a college student in a paperless education tech class. It is brand new to me and I feel that it is something of value that needs to be pursued.

  4. I'm taking Computers in Education at college right now, and this section of the class is online. We are doing everything paperless, and this is the first paperless class that I have taken. I love the idea and hope to be able to run my future class at least mostly paperless. I'm bummed that there wasn't more funding for the project coming with the stimulus. I would love for more technology to be intigrated into classrooms before I start teaching in my own class.

  5. It is like the printing press has been invented yet school children are not taught to read...

  6. more than likely, the money is not set to be a small lump sum to each school; rather, the money will likely be set up to fund grants. hopefully the challenge grants fund some nice proposals that can help to improve schools all around the country.


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