House Subcommittee Flat Funds EETT
Things are looking up for education technology funding in the United Sates House of Representatives. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) has approved an appropriations bill that would provide $272.25 million for Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2 or EETT), which had previously been recommended for zero-funding in the Bush administration's proposed 2008 budget.
Title II D of the No Child Left Behind Act, Enhancing Education Through Technology, includes an item called "Education Technology State Grants." It provides funding to states and school districts to support the deployment and integration of educational technology into classroom instruction and is the sole source of federal funding in NCLB specifically supporting these technologies. Back in February, the U.S. Department of Education released details of the Bush administrations proposed 2008 budget as it pertained to education, which included a complete elimination of E2T2 funding.
"After several years of threatening to eliminate this program, the House [has] validated the need and importance of education technology to improving schools and meeting the goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)," said Mary Ann Wolf, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). "However, states districts, and schools recognize that this number--$272 million, which is also our current funding--makes it very difficult to maximize the potential for students and teachers; and as a nation, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to improve education. We encourage the full committee and the Senate to respond by increasing EETT funding to previous levels so that education, like all industries, can effectively utilize technology to teach math, science, and reading in new ways. It is our responsibility to ensure that our students are work and college ready in the global economy."
Funding for EETT has declined over the years, from $696 million in 2004 down to its current level. The EETT funding approved by LHHS would keep the program level with the funding received over the last two years. For groups supporting education technology funding, the news isn't perfect; but, coupled with the ATTAIN bill proposed last month by U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Ron Kind (D-WI), the ed tech landscape doesn't appear to be quite as bleak as it seemed earlier this year.
Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), stated: "The Subcommittee's support for FY 2008 funding the Enhancing Education Through Technology program (EETT) , coupled with the recent introduction of HR 2449 to reauthorize EETT, shows that congressional leaders are beginning to see the importance of education technology to improving learning. Educators are indebted to the leadership of Chairman David Obey and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard."
The ATTAIN bill ("Achievement Through Technology and Innovation") provides for $1 billion to fund education technology initiates to improve student academic achievement and to support teaching technology through professional development programs.
The 2008 LHHS-approved budget for NCLB programs amounts to $25.64 billion, roughly $1 billion more than the Bush administration's proposed budget and $2 billion more than in 2007. The total 2008 LHHS-approved budget for the Department of Education is $61.71 billion, about $5.5 billion more than the administration's proposed DOE budget and $5.3 billion more than the 2007 DOE budget.
Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, stated: "The House Appropriations Subcommittee's approval of $272.5 million for FY08 spending on the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program is an important step, but only the first one, towards assuring that our nation's students have the technology skills and knowledge necessary to succeed academically and compete in the global economy. Today's action is heartening to the thousands of educators who have weighed-in with Congress this year in support of EETT. Moreover, it sends a strong message to the Administration, which has repeatedly sought to eliminate EETT."
Complete LHHS budget details and related information can be found through the links 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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