Moving Technology Dollars in New Directions
May 5, 2005
- Ed-Tech Policy Chart: NCLB Technology FundsUnder the Enhancing Education Through Technology program, the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to states for educational technology. States can keep up to 5 percent of the grants they receive for administrative purposes, but must allocate half the remaining funds to districts through a formula, and the other half through competitive grants. Funding for this program, a part of the No Child Left Behind Act, was cut by 28 percent in fiscal 2005.Classroom Technology Chart: Cyber SchoolsSchools in which instruction takes place over the Internet, rather than in a traditional classroom setting, are becoming increasingly prevalent across the United States. More than half the states currently have a state-established virtual school or at least one cyber charter school.Ed-Tech Policy Chart: E-Rate AllocationsThe federal E-rate program provides discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections, with priority given to schools and libraries that serve low-income students or are located in rural areas. Since the program began in 1998, a total of $14.3 billion has been awarded, including more than $1.7 billion allocated so far during the 2004-05 school year.School & District Management Big-District PrioritiesAt the same time, big districts are using a mix of financial resources to maintain—and, in some cases, increase—the amount of money they are devoting to educational technology in general. But some officials in those districts say President Bush’s proposed cuts in federal aid for educational technology could derail future spending.Education Charts: Tech SavvyA majority of states have standards for what students and teachers should know about technology. But just three states assess students’ knowledge of technology, and only 20 require teachers to demonstrate technology proficiency before receiving an initial license, either by completing coursework or passing a test.Education WashingtonWashington state has a small pot of money to aid educational technology, and it is mainly allocated between two major initiatives: the nine educational technology support centers the state runs and a K-20 telecommunications network that serves K-12 schools and colleges and universities in the state.Education TexasWhile a budget shortfall forced the Texas legislature to eliminate two of the state’s three major funding sources for educational technology for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years, state education officials are cautiously optimistic that this year’s biennial session will bring an increase in funding.Education Rhode IslandRhode Island continues to stress professional development in its push to infuse technology into its classrooms. For the past several years, the state department of education has organized a series of two-week summer seminars for educators interested in tapping the potential of technology to improve their teaching.Education PennsylvaniaPennsylvania’s approach and priority for educational technology can be summed up in the name of its major technology initiative: Getting to One. The state is working toward having technology fully integrated not only into classroom life, but also into the operation of schools and districts.Education MissouriMissouri’s educational technology efforts, once fueled by $15 million to $20 million a year in state funding, have been running on fumes from the state for the past three years, according to Deborah K. Sutton, the instructional technology director for the Missouri education department.Education MississippiAs the money flows, so goes school technology in Mississippi. For the 2004-05 school year, the legislature approved only a small increase in overall K-12 funding, which forced many of the state’s 147 school districts to make budget cuts in a number of areas, including educational technology.