WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aug. 23, 2018 — The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is profoundly dismayed to learn that the U.S. Department of Education is considering using federal grant funds intended to create healthy, safe, and engaging learning experiences to instead be used to purchase firearms.
The proposed change, as reported by the New York Times, would dramatically undermine the intended purpose of education grant funds allocated by Congress for schools. As a nonprofit that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation, ISTE is a longtime advocate for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) funding. These funds are authorized for schools to use to provide educational services that support a safe and well-rounded school, such as instructional support for technology, STEM and computer science classes, and cyberbullying prevention.
“It is unconscionable that the secretary of education is considering using her authority to subsidize gun purchases in schools with funding that was congressionally authorized to buy computers for students and provide teacher professional development,” says Richard Culatta, CEO, ISTE, and a former senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. “We strongly urge Congress to inform the department that this action would be both irresponsible and should be illegal under the provisions of the law. Additionally, we urge the department to promote the use of these funds for the programs and services they were intended to support.”
ISTE recognizes the need for safe and healthy schools and is in full support of the intended SSAE program as authorized by a bipartisan Congress. Forcing schools to end programs in STEM and computer science in order to purchase firearms is a betrayal of the students and teachers the U.S. Department of Education was created to serve.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation. Our worldwide network believes in the potential technology holds to transform teaching and learning.
ISTE sets a bold vision for education transformation through the ISTE Standards, a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. ISTE hosts the annual ISTE Conference & Expo, one of the world’s most influential edtech events. The organization’s professional learning offerings include online courses, professional networks, year-round academies, peer-reviewed journals and other publications. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education. For more information or to become an ISTE member, visit iste.org. Subscribe to ISTE’s YouTube channel and connect with ISTE on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.