The bad news is that the Bush Administration has proposed zeroing ($0) the Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2) fund for next year. It isn’t the first time that our president has turned his back on modernizing schools in the United States, and we will hope, pray, and lobby Congress to reinstate a few hundred million dollars of the pathetically low original funding of the program.
This, when, in Saturday’s Weekly Radio Address, the president urged Congress to make his budget cuts permanent, while only weeks ago he signs a bill pushing the ceiling on the national debt to nearly $9 trillion. That’s more than $30,000 for every U.S. Citizen, and one in five of them haven’t reached the age of 15 yet.
OK, enough sport with mr. president. The good news is that 37 state governors reported in their state of the state addresses…
…that their state budgets were projected to be in balance or with a surplus, according to “The Governors Speak: 2006,” a report from the National Governors Association (NGA) summarizing the 2006 state-of-the-state addresses from the governors of 44 states and Puerto Rico. (Ascione)
If you haven’t already, read the April 11 story in eSchoolNews, “State funding to the rescue?“. It will lift to your spirits, especially if you live in Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Oklahoma, or several other states mentioned in the article for their intentions to invest in education technology.
So if money is beginning to grow again, what’s the case for educational technology. We know that it helps children learn. But lots of things help children learn, and its a hard sell, because it’s a complicated sell. I just don’t see legislators being interested in education strategy. My observations are that elected officials are interested in what’s in it for them and for their consituents. A few more computers, even if they are being carried into classrooms under the arms of every student, just doesn’t get there.
We need to sell a much larger vision of 21st century classrooms where students are learning twenty-first century skills and twenty-first century content, using twenty-first century tools. We need a simple, yet comprehensive picture of teaching, learning, and classrooms that inspires the imaginations of politicians and voters.
It’s a new story that leads to new goals of future citizens, future leaders, future prosperity — enthusiasm about a future so potent with possibilities that we just can’t wait.
OK, I’m getting kind’a carried away here. Tomorrow, I’ll post a slightly more practical examination of “The New Story”.
Ascione, Laura. “State Funding to the Rescue?.” eSchool News Online 11 Apr 2006. 17 Apr 2006 <http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStoryRSS.cfm?ArticleID=6258>.