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What could we do with $200 million?

By Hilary Goldmann 9/25/2014 Advocacy

Only 22 percent of U.S. teachers have access to enough technology to support true digital age learning. Imagine the impact $200 million in grants could make in schools across the nation that are struggling to catch up to the times.

But despite President Obama’s proposal for $200 million in new education technology funding — which ISTE vigorously supported — we will enter the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 without any dedicated federal funding for ed tech programs.

Instead of passing a series of bills to determine how much money federal discretionary (or non-entitlement) programs will get — a process that requires making difficult spending decisions about new and current programs — Congress passed a continuing resolution, which essentially puts the federal government on auto-pilot. In general, previously funded programs will continue at the same level while proposed programs remain unfunded.

Although Congress did manage to avoid a government shutdown like last year’s, the continuing resolution is not good news for educators — nor is it good governance for the country. It is a short-term measure that does not require Congress to address new and important priorities.

The continuing resolution, which passed the House and Senate and awaits the president’s signature, expires in mid-December. At that time, Congress must decide whether to continue on auto-pilot or fund programs that will give our students a competitive edge.

This is your chance as an advocate for ed tech to clearly and forcefully make the case for digital learning. We know that for our students to succeed in the 21st century global economy, educators must receive enough professional learning and technology access to provide every student with a high-quality, digitally rich education. Our elected officials need to understand this as well.

Will you take one small step and tell your members of Congress what needs to be done?

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