Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Make Ed Tech a Priority

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Make Ed Tech a Priority

Article excerpt

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT lately has been passing out lots of money through competitive programs by way of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Witness nearly $4 billion to states for the Race to the Top initiative; $650 million for the Investing in Innovation (i3) grants to educational consortia; $350 million for an assessment competition; and millions to broadband infrastructure that will affect districts in rural parts of the country.

Together, this represents a huge investment in education, while providing one more example of the golden rule: He who has the gold (the Obama administration) makes the rules (for winning the grant). In each case, grant winners have been able to show how their education-reform plans align with the administration's priorities.

What will those priorities be going forward? You can find out in a little-seen "notice of proposed priorities" (federalregister. gov/a/2010-19296) released in August by the US Department of Education. The document identifies 13 priority areas that can be used for any discretionary grant program in fiscal year 2011 and beyond. Grant applicants that address those areas usually receive extra points. Of the 13 priorities, only three relate to technology--one for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teaching, one for data-driven decision-making, and one for improving productivity, citing "innovative and sustainable uses of technology."

The other 10 priorities certainly are worthy goals, such as turning around low-achieving schools, but they do not reflect the targets of "A Blueprint for Reform," which the administration put out in March in preparation for discussions on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). …

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