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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 16:13:12 -0400
From: Kirk Winters <kwinters@inet.ed.gov>
To: Multiple recipients of list <edinfo@inet.ed.gov>
Subject: ED Report on Technology & Education

MESSAGE #2 -- EXCERPTS from "Getting America's Students Ready
for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge."
A Report to the Nation on Technology & Education.
U.S. Department of Education.  June 1996

What does the plan call for the federal government to do?

     The centerpiece of the federal effort is President's proposed
     Technology Literacy Challenge Fund.  It would "serve as a
     catalyst for states, local communities, companies,
     universities, and individuals to work together on a common set
     of goals.  The president has asked Congress to appropriate $2
     billion over five years for the fund.  For the fund to
     succeed, each federal dollar will have to be matched by
     dollars and in-kind contributions from state, local, and
     private-sector sources.  The president has included the first
     installment of this fund -- $250 million -- in his 1997

     "The fund would provide states with maximum flexibility.  To
     receive funds, states would have to meet only these basic

     *    Each state would develop a strategy for enabling every
          school in the state to meet the four technology goals.
          These state strategies would address the needs of all
          schools, from the suburbs to the inner cities to rural
          areas.  Strategies would include benchmarks and
          timetables for accomplishing the four goals, but these
          measures would be set by each state, not by the federal

     *    State strategies would include significant private-sector
          participation and commitments, matching at least the
          amount of federal support.  Commitments could be met by
          volunteer services, cost reductions, and discounts for
          connections under the expanded Universal Service Fund
          provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, among
          other ways.

     *    To ensure accountability, each state not only would have
          to set benchmarks, but also would be required to report
          publicly at the end of every school year the progress
          made in achieving its benchmarks, as well as how it would
          achieve the ultimate objectives of its strategies in the
          most cost-effective manner."

What kinds of activities would the Technology Literacy Fund

     "The technology literacy challenge fund would support a wide
     variety of innovative efforts.

     *    Districts and schools may provide funding for on-demand
          technical assistance to help technology-using teachers
          during the school day.
     *    Districts may link schools electronically to gather and
          maintain administrative data.
     *    States and districts may enter partnerships with the
          private sector and universities to develop software
          geared to challenging state academic standards.
     *    States and districts may build high-speed networks
          carrying voice, video, text, and graphics that connect
     *    Districts may provide incentive grants, awards, and
          salary increases to individual teachers who make a
          commitment to upgrade their  knowledge of computers and
     *    States may target funds to communities that are farthest
          behind in effective use of educational technology.
     *    States and districts may collaborate to find cost
          effective ways of purchasing and using hardware and

Are there other federal efforts that can help?

     Yes.  Here are just a few ways mentioned in the plan:

     "...the Telecommunications Act of 1996...ensures that schools
     and libraries have affordable access to advanced
     telecommunications service.  The law requires
     telecommunications carriers to provide service to schools and
     libraries at reduced rates."

     "Among the federal government's largest education and training
     programs are the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the School-
     to-Work Opportunities Act, Head Start, the Elementary and
     Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Perkins Vocational and
     Applied Technology Education Act, the Job Training Partnership
     Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
     Programs under these acts allow funds to be used for
     educational technology, including training teachers to
     incorporate technology into their classrooms, and purchasing
     software and hardware.  For example, according to one
     estimate, in 1995 schools invested about $450 million under
     Title I (formerly Chapter 1) of ESEA in educational technology
     in order to help students in low-income schools improve basic
     and advanced skills in the core academic subjects.

     . . .

     "To meet the nation's technology goals, President Clinton and
     Vice President Gore have challenged the private sector,
     retirees, and educators to work together in new ways to
     improve student learning through the use of technology.
     States, communities, businesses, and individuals around the
     nation have risen to meet this challenge.  For example:

     *    NetDay 96:  An electronic barnraising -- The president
          and vice president brought together telecommunications
          and computer industry leaders in September 1995 to kick-
          start a historic effort to connect California classrooms
          to the Internet.  On March 9, 1996, more than 20,000
          parents and volunteers and more than 200 businesses in
          California installed and tested about 6 million feet of
          wire to connect classrooms in 2,600 schools to the
          Internet.  Since California's successful "electronic
          barnraising," over 30 states have embarked on their own

     *    Tech Corps:  Volunteering expertise -- The Tech Corps,
          launched on October 10, 1995 as a private-sector response
          to the president's and vice president's national mission
          to make all children technologically literate by the dawn
          of the 21st century, is a national non-profit
          organization of private sector volunteers with
          technological expertise dedicated to helping improve K-12
          education at the local level.  Its mission is to recruit,
          place, and support volunteers from the private sector who
          advise and assist schools in using new technologies in
          the classroom to improve student learning.  Since
          October, leaders from industry and education have been
          working together to establish Tech Corps organizations in
          all 50 states.

     *    American Technology Honor Society:  Recognizing student
          expertise -- The American Technology Honor Society was
          formed on October 10, 1995.  This organization, sponsored
          by the National Association of Secondary School
          Principals and the Technology Student Association, is the
          school-based organization through which students with
          technology expertise can help expand their school's use
          of technology.  It will recognize and reward students who
          use their technological expertise to serve their schools.

     *    21st Century Teachers -- On May 29, 1996, a coalition of
          11 major education organizations, including both major
          teachers' unions, announced the creation of a voluntary
          corps to help more teachers learn how to use new
          technology to improve teaching and learning.  One hundred
          thousand teachers will each train five of their
          colleagues during the 1996-97 school year.  Teachers can
          sign up on a special World Wide Web site to participate
          in this effort."

What are some QUESTIONS schools & communities can ask as they
develop their own plans for using technology?

     "The use of technology requires planning, because without
     certain key ingredients (such as adequate professional
     development and technical support) technology's benefits will
     probably not be realized.  HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS to ask
     while planning for the use of technology.  There is no one
     best way to answer them, and the answers may change over time
     for schools and districts.

     *    HOW WILL THE TECHNOLOGY BE USED?  Will the uses be
          electronic mail, satellite-delivered instruction, access
          to electronic databases and libraries, multimedia
          software for instruction, "tool" software such as
          spreadsheets and word processors, access to resources for
          students with disabilities, or administrative uses such
          as record keeping, publishing, and communicating with

          THE SCHOOL WORKS?  How will the school adjust to make the
          best use of technology?  How can the technology be used
          after school and by community members in continuing
          education?  How can technology be used to improve all
          aspects of the school's or district's operation?

          these costs be minimized?  What features should be
          introduced into new buildings?

     *    HOW WILL TEACHERS' NEEDS BE MET?  Will teachers have
          adequate professional development and time to learn how
          to integrate new tools into their instructional
          practices?  Will teachers have access to enough ongoing
          technical support?  Should evaluation and certification
          criteria for teachers be changed to support the use of

          TECHNOLOGY IN THE SCHOOL?  How will members of the
          community be involved in the planning process?  How can
          resources such as cable and telephone companies and
          community organizations be utilized?

          BE?  Will the changes be worth the expense?  What
          research exists to support the plan?  How will educators
          know if the plan's objectives have been met?

          decisions be part of a larger education improvement plan
          in the district or school?  How long will the equipment
          purchased remain usable?  How will funds be allocated
          among hardware, software, training, and ongoing support?
          How will funding be distributed among schools?  Who can
          give you sound advice about technology purchases?

          students with disabilities benefit from the changes?  How
          can technology benefit gifted and talented students?  How
          can technology benefit students at risk of dropping out
          or who are not performing well?  Will there be a standard
          minimal technology base in all schools?

     "The planning process can be difficult, but it is also vital
     to success.  Key resources for planning include state and
     district technology coordinators, local telephone and cable
     companies, and the Department of Education's Regional
     Technology in Education Consortia...."

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Kirk Winters
Office of the Under Secretary
U.S. Department of Education

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