A Wake-Up Call for Ed Tech

Article excerpt

There is a lot of talk about trends these days. While it is interesting to hear of trends, what is important is to influence them through affecting their component mini-trends and events where possible. If enough people act on enough events, ultimately major trends can be influenced. But the events and mini-trends need to be identified in time to allow for action. This means, in short: Pay Attention!

To illustrate, let me point to two items: the proposed federal technology budgets from the House and Senate, and a press release from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). In the federal budget, there is the Educational Technology Block Grant and there are four smaller programs: Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (P[T.sup.3]), Star Schools, Community Technology Centers and State Data Program, which is new for 2004. The Ed Tech Block program is budgeted at approximately $695 million in both the House and the Senate--about the same as last year, but with a $5 million decrease from 2002 funding. The other four programs are eliminated in the House version. In the Senate, $80 million is provided for the new State Data Program, while the P[T.sup.3] grants are zeroed out and the other two programs are slated for cuts.

At the state level, SETDA did a survey of all the state directors of educational technology and found that state budget cuts averaged about $3.5 million per state in educational technology. In addition, more than half of the states responding to the SETDA survey reduced their staff members by an average of two. …