Federal

Who Will Be U.S. Ed-Tech Director?

July 09, 2009 1 min read

My Ed Week colleagues have a piece this week about some new high-level nominations at the Education Department, specifically for offices covering special education and vocational education.

But folks in the ed-tech world are still waiting to hear who will take over as director of the office of educational technology. Tim Magner headed that office from 2006 until early this year. Experts in the field are hoping the pick is someone with a passion for the potential of educational technologies, of course, but who can also leverage some influence in making ed tech a policy priority with some real money behind it.

Advocates are still trying to make sense of the Obama administration’s seeming enthusiasm for using technology as a driver for school improvement, on the one hand, and its proposed cuts to the federal EETT program on the other.

The EETT program won some $650 million in the economic stimulus package, money that is set to be released to states and districts beginning this month. But its funding in the regular budget could plummet by as much as 60 percent—from $269 million in fiscal 2009 to the $100 million in President Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget plan. Such a dramatic cut, advocates say, would force states and districts to use the stimulus money to supplant, rather than supplement, existing program budgets.

Key organizations on this issue, including CoSN and ISTE, have been urging their members to contact their lawmakers as the budget heads in to the markup stage. The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the budget July 23.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

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