Ed Tech Groups Support ATTAIN Bill
The introduction this week of the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) bill in the United States House of Representatives was met with enthusiasm by groups that support education technology. The bill seeks to revamp Part D of title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to enhance professional development for teachers, improve technical proficiency in students, and otherwise support technology in various ways to advance student achievement.
The bill, introduced by U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Ron Kind (D-WI), was developed with input from three major ed tech groups, including the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), as well as the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and other stakeholders.
"We are ecstatic that this well-crafted refinement of EETT is beginning to move," said Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education. "Teachers are our nation's most valuable resources and absolutely crucial to whether education technology implementations succeed. The ATTAIN Act's focus on technology professional development will help ensure that our investments in school hardware, software and infrastructure are leveraged for the benefit of our nation's students."
The bill cites the 2007 U.S. Department of Education study that measured student achievement in environments using specific education technologies and compared it with those who did not use them. That study found that student achievement was roughly equal among the two groups, possibly owing to inadequate professional development on the part of the teachers involved in the study. The bill states, "Increased professional development opportunities are needed if teachers are to be highly qualified and effective in a 21st century classroom with today’s digital native students, including in the use of learning technologies to deliver innovative instruction and curriculum and to use data to inform instruction."
Said Rep. Roybal-Allard, "When schools are properly equipped to meet the technology needs of students and when they have properly trained teachers, students are engaged, eager to learn, and are ultimately better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century."
With this in mind, the bill, as it stands, aims to improve support schools by ensuring teachers are using technology effectively. To this end, it aims to focus funds on professional development and systemic reform, prioritize funding to schools in need of improvement, and require states to assess whether students have attained technological literacy by the eighth grade.
"The introduction of the ATTAIN Act demonstrates that Representatives Roybal-Allard, Hinojosa, Biggert, and Kind understand the important role that education technology plays in meeting NCLB's goals and equipping our students with the skills necessary to succeed in the modern workforce," said Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking. "We hope that the House will follow their lead and move expeditiously to enact this bill, thereby giving a big shot in the arm to education technologists, students and companies across the country."
The four groups that provided input on the bill are calling for members to support it. SETDA, for example, has called on its members to reach out to representatives to urge passage of the bill. Some are also providing resources on the sites for those who want to lend their support or learn more about the bill. (See links below for more information.)
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