Policy & Funding | News

Groups Call for Reinstatement of Federal Ed Tech Program

Education advocacy groups are once again leading the charge to reinstate the federal ed tech program known as Enhancing Education Through Technology, or EETT. Funding was eliminated for the program--the only dedicated federal funding for technology in education--in the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) characterized EETT as a crucial component for "helping to prepare students with the skills needed to help maintain and accelerate U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century and beyond."

"The chasm between the vision of out-educating and out-innovating our global economy and the reality of de-funding education technology is stark and deeply disturbing," said CoSN CEO Keith R. Krueger in a statement released Thursday. "We call on the Congress and the administration to rethink this misguided short-term decision and start investing in building education leadership capacity with technology."

EETT (Title II Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA) is the sole source of dedicated federal funding supporting education technologies. It's designed to support state, district, and school efforts to integrate technology into the classroom with the stated goal of improving student academic achievement.

In a separate statement, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) said the elimination of EETT will "turn back the clock on public education," "leave teachers in the lurch," "and threaten America's competitiveness." The group urged Congress to reinstate the EETT.

"Ensuring today's students have access to learning technologies in the classroom is a key education and workforce development issue," said SETDA Executive Director Douglas Levin in a statement released today. "By denying students access to these tools--and well trained and supported teachers--we are asking schools to win the future with one hand tied behind their backs. It is critical that Congress demonstrate leadership for the nation's future by ensuring students are ready for 21st century careers and college."

SETDA has posted resources in support of EETT, including profiles of EETT in action and a lengthy fact sheet on technology in education and the importance of federal funding to support it.

The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) also released a lengthy report called "Profiles in Innovation: How the Enhancing Education Through Technology Program is Improving Teaching and Learning in America’s Schools." It includes case studies detailing successful ed tech programs in K-12 schools made possible through EETT.

"We are pleased to share these important stories with policymakers at this important juncture in our debate about federal funding priorities, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)," said Mark Schneiderman, NCTET president and senior director of education policy with the Software & Information Industry Association, also in a prepared statement. "The technology learning initiatives in the NCTET profiles each leveraged critical federal investment to transform teaching and better prepare students for this digital age."

The NCTET report can be downloaded here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .