Groups Respond to Proposed EETT Cuts

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2/5/2007—The United States Department of Education today posted details on the Bush administration's proposed FY 2008 budget as it pertains to education. The proposed budget calls for a number of program eliminations, including the elimination of the sole funding supporting Title II D of the No Child Left Behind Act, Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT). The information comes on the day the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released its findings on the effectiveness of EETT in its 2007 National Trends Report. SETDA responded to the proposed cuts immediately with a call for direct action from its members. The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) also released a statement on the proposed cuts.

Included in the list of proposed eliminations in the 2008 budget proposed by the Bush administration is an item called "Education Technology State Grants," totaling $273.1 million in cuts. As explained in the DoE 2008 budget summary, this "provides funding to States and school districts to support the deployment and integration of educational technology into classroom instruction. Schools today offer a greater level of technology infrastructure than just a few years ago, and there is no longer a significant need for a State formula grant program targeted specifically on (and limited to) the effective integration of technology into schools and classrooms. Districts seeking funds to integrate technology into teaching and learning can use other Federal program funds such as Improving Teacher Quality State Grants and Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies." (See link below for more.)

"It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the administration has yet again recommended zeroing out the only technology funding in NCLB," said Geoff Fletcher, editorial director of THE Journal. "It is ironic that the cut in the budget for technology funding falls on the same day that the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released a report documenting numerous case studies showing the positive effects that EETT funding has had in states and school districts across the country. However, contrary to the rationale provided in the President's budget for cutting EETT, the job of integrating technology into the classroom is not done. As I talk to technology coordinators and review survey after survey of their top concerns, it is clear that the job is not done. We have been stalled at a 3.8 to 1 student to computer ratio for at least three years, and technology coordinators acknowledge teachers' desire for and need for more professional development. Fortunately, wiser heads and hearts in Congress have prevailed in the past and restored at least some of the EETT funding, and I hope that Congress will not only maintain, but increase this critically important program. It is hard to imagine how anyone can walk into most schools today and believe that there has been sufficient support to ensure our students are prepared to enter the information technology-based work-force that we have in the 21st century."

Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN, released a statement on the proposed cuts: "Once again the Administration has foolishly proposed eliminating education technology funding under No Child Left Behind Act. CoSN believes the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program is a prerequisite to innovation and individualized instruction--two concepts that can make a real difference for improved learning and 21st Century competitiveness. By proposing to eliminate EETT, the Administration's FY08 budget erects barriers to advance low-income, minority and rural students that rely on their schools for the technology and Internet access that they lack in their homes. We hope that Congress recognizes the importance of EETT and increases our investment in our children's future."

In a letter to its membership today, SETDA said, "Notably, it is the largest program being slated for elimination and the only program dedicated specifically to education technology for our schools. As in the past, Congress now has the opportunity to develop its own budget in response to the President’s proposed version. SETDA plans to work diligently to share how EETT is increasing student achievement and improving teacher quality to decision makers on Capitol Hill. Although this is disappointing in light of the President’s focus on competitiveness and the Administration's flawed assertion that the work is done, we believe the tide has turned for education technology with the new Congress. We are hopeful that funding will be allocated for the leadership and innovative approaches being developed through the current EETT in the future...."

SETDA is asking its members to take direct action with congressional representatives, state superintendents and corporate partners.

The news, which, according to SETDA, was not unexpected, comes on the same day on which the organization released its 2007 National Trends Report. The report covers technology in education and includes six major findings, cited below from an executive summary of the report:

  • Finding 1: States are increasingly sophisticated in their use of a range of effective professional development models designed to advance the NCLB II D program goals.
  • Finding 2: The type of evidence documenting the impact of NCLB II D programs in advancing the stated goals and purposes varies widely across states. Most states are conducting descriptive evaluations, and despite the lack of NCLB II D funds for this purpose, some states are conducting research studies to document the impact of NCLB II D on student learning.
  • Finding 3: States are setting priorities for the NCLB II D competitive grants that are evidence-based and tightly aligned to the NCLB goals.
  • Finding 4: States report more targeted priorities for competitive programs resulting in substantive NCLB II D programs in the academics, especially in the priority areas of literacy and mathematics. This impact is limited somewhat by federal decreases to funding in FY05.
  • Finding 5: NCLB II D formula grants are used for technology and infrastructure improvements at significantly higher rates than in the NCLB II D competitive grants.
  • Finding 6: While nationally the NCLB II D program continues to be a primary source of dedicated funding for educational technology, states share that responsibility through both dedicated and optional state funding sources for LEA educational technology.

The executive summary and a PDF of the complete report can be found at the link below.

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About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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