February 12, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), along with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), has introduced legislation to help teachers, schools districts, and states transform learning systems by utilizing innovative technology. The Enhancing Education Through Technology Act (EETT) would support educators in using technology to increase college and career readiness, help school districts build a technology infrastructure to ensure schools take full advantage of what technology has to offer, and increase student learning by infusing technology into education while protecting student privacy and ensuring data security.
“In a world that is more interconnected and globally competitive than ever, it’s critical that we equip our students with the technology and the skills they need to achieve success,” Senator King said. “Fortunately, through MLTI and other initiatives, Maine has a strong tradition of supporting digital learning, and this bill will expand on that effort to help ensure that our teachers have the training and equipment they need to broaden their students' educational horizons. The support dedicated through this bill will also help prepare our schools for Maine's new online assessments by building on connectivity gains enabled by the modernized E-rate program, which has proven to be an invaluable resource for our rural schools and libraries.”
“In Maine, we support educators creating high quality learning experiences by leveraging classroom technology,” said Mike Muir, Policy Director for the Learning Through Technology Team at the Maine Department of Education. “Continued federal support would be vital to our helping teachers and school leaders transform practice, as they work to make sure learners are ready for the future.”
Thanks to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), a program created and spearheaded by then-Governor Angus King, Maine is at the forefront of equipping students and teachers across the state with personal learning technology. As a result, all 27,000 of Maine’s 7th and 8th grade students have access to a 1:1 device, along with students in more than half of Maine’s high schools and all teachers in grades 7-12.
Even so, across the country, many classrooms – particularly in rural and remote areas – lack the rich technology that permeates the world. In fact, most schools are behind the curve, lacking the resources, infrastructure, hardware, software, and human capacity needed to prepare students for the 21st century global economy. Dedicated federal funds for professional training and development are essential for educators to facilitate the kind of increased student engagement and learning that can happen with technology-infused education.
The Enhancing Education Through Technology Act reauthorizes a program originally created in 2002 which is in desperate need of an update and dedicated funding. This investment ensures all children have access to high-quality education where technology-capable educators leverage new technologies to increase achievement, build digital age skills, and keep the joy of learning alive. Specifically the legislation would:
Support teachers, principals, and district administrators in using technology to increase college and career readiness, close achievement gaps, and engage all students
Help school districts build a technology infrastructure to make sure schools take full advantage of what technology has to offer
Promote data driven education while protecting student privacy and ensuring data security
The legislation has been endorsed by: the Alliance for Excellent Education, American Federation of Teachers, Association of Educational Service Agencies, Common Sense Media, Consortium for School Networking, International Society for Technology in Education, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition, The School Superintendents Association, Software Information & Industry Association, and the State Education Technology Directors Association.