Q&A: Inside Politics with David Byer: The President of the Nonpartisan National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training Gives Us His Expert Analysis on the Candidates

By Poftak, Amy | Technology & Learning, August 2004 | Go to article overview

Q&A: Inside Politics with David Byer: The President of the Nonpartisan National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training Gives Us His Expert Analysis on the Candidates


Poftak, Amy, Technology & Learning


Q. We already know something about Bush's stance on education technology because of No Child Left Behind. What about Kerry?

A. Kerry's campaign hasn't made any specific pronouncements just yet, but historically he's been a strong supporter of ed tech. For example, as head of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee in the late 90s he organized two major Capitol Hill events showcasing the uses of technology in learning. He's always understood the value of technology in education. How that translates into a cogent policy response is not clear yet.

Q. How would you characterize Kerry's approach to assessment compared to Bush's?

A. Kerry's calling for us to look at a whole range of measures that are both inputs--for instance, are basic resource needs being provided? Are kids graduating from school?--and outputs--did they pass the test? Are they meeting standards? He's not saying roll hack NCLB. He's saying there should be reasonable expectations that account for a balance of input and output measures. The Bush administration, on the other hand, tends to believe the inputs will take care of themselves if we focus on outcomes. They want schools to set outcomes before they start prescribing inputs.

Q. Is it fair to say Bush is more focused on using technology for assessment and accountability purposes than Kerry?

A. It's not as black and white as saying "Kerry believes the best use of technology is in curriculum, while Bush believes it's in testing." Bush came into office understanding technology has a lot of promise, which is why his administration has aggressively pursued revising the National Education Technology Plan. …

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