Education and Technology Industry Leaders Hail Introduction of ATTAIN Act

(from ISTE)

Education and Technology Industry Leaders Hail Introduction of ATTAIN Act New Bill Would Revamp No Child Left Behind Support for Instructional Technologies.

Washington, DC – May 24, 2007. A coalition of education and industry groups lauded today’s introduction by U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Ron Kind (D-WI) of HR 2449 the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act. The legislation will make significant
improvements to the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program as part of the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), better targeting the educational needs of today’s students through technology.

The ATTAIN Act is based upon input from education stakeholders, including the Consortium for School Networking, International Society for Technology in Education, Software & Information Industry Association, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

The ATTAIN Act would revamp EETT (Title II-D of NCLB), improving support for disadvantaged schools and students and ensuring that teachers are properly equipped to use the technology effectively. More specifically, it would focus funds on professional development and systemic reform that leverage 21st century technologies, prioritize funding to schools in need of improvement, and require states to assess whether students have attained technological literacy by the eighth grade.

“We are ecstatic that this well-crafted refinement of EETT is beginning to move,” said Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education. “Teachers are our nation’s most valuable resources and absolutely crucial to whether education technology
implementations succeed. The ATTAIN Act’s focus on technology professional development will help ensure that our investments in school hardware, software and infrastructure are leveraged for the benefit of our nation’s students.”

Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking, stated: “The introduction of the ATTAIN Act demonstrates that Representatives Roybal-Allard, Hinojosa, Biggert and Kind understand the important role that education technology plays in meeting NCLB’s goals and equipping our students with the skills necessary to succeed in the modern workforce. We hope that the House will follow their lead and move expeditiously to enact this bill, thereby giving a big shot in the arm to education technologists, students and companies across the country.”

“For many years, SETDA’s members have provided us with tangible examples of educational technology implementations that yield substantial academic gains; now, we will have the opportunity to bring many of them to scale,” said Mary Ann Wolf, Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association. “This legislation’s focus on research-based, systemic reform programs that maximize the benefits of technology is an important opportunity to transform our nation’s schools.”

“We do not want our students to fall behind in this era of innovation and global competition,” said Ken Wasch, President of the Software & Information Industry Association. “Technology is vital for providing students with a learning environment that prepares them for the world beyond the classroom. The ATTAIN Act will ensure our educational system adopts modern methods to remain effective in the digital, information economy. We thank Representatives Roybal-Allard, Hinojosa, Biggert and Kind for their leadership on this important legislation.”

Rep. Roybal-Allard stated: “When schools are properly equipped to meet the technology needs of students and when they have properly trained teachers, students are engaged, eager to learn, and are ultimately better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”

“One of the most effective ways we can sharpen America’s competitive edge is by investing in technology in the classroom,” said Rep. Hinojosa. “This bill will further the technological prowess of our nation’s schools and students and will ultimately increase our
economic prosperity and capacity for innovation.”

Rep. Ron Kind stated: “We cannot ignore education technology’s value in developing critical thinking skills and media literacy into this and future generations of students. We all want our students, and this country, to compete effectively and succeed in the global
marketplace. Education technology is a key component to achieving those goals.”

Specifically, the ATTAIN Act would update the existing EETT program by:

  • Increasing the share of state-to-local funding distributed by formula from 50% to 60% and adding a minimum grant size in order to assure that more school districts receive allocations of sufficient size to permit them to operate significant education technology programs.
  • Strengthening the program’s emphasis on teacher quality and technology skills by raising the portion of formula-grants set aside for professional development from 25% to 40%, while emphasizing the importance of timely and ongoing training.
  • Channeling the 40% of funds allocated for competitive grants, previously unrestricted, to schools and districts for systemic school reform built around the use of technology to redesign curriculum, instruction, assessment and data use.
  • More closely aligning the program with NCLB’s core mission by giving priority in competitive grant awards to schools identified as in need of improvement, including those with a large percentage of Limited English Proficient students and students with disabilities, as well as by focusing formula grants on students and subjects where proficiency is most lacking.
  • Renewing NCLB’s commitment to ensuring that students are technologically literate by the eighth grade through requiring states to assess student knowledge and skills, including through embedding assessment items in other state tests and performance-based assessments portfolios.
  • Drawing state, district and school attention to the age and functionality needs of school technology infrastructure, access and applications by requiring states to provide technical assistance and guidance to districts on updating these resources.

About CoSN, ISTE, SETDA and SIIA:

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is the country’s premier
voice in education technology leadership, serving K-12 technology
leaders who through their strategic use of technology, improve
teaching and learning.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a
nonprofit membership organization, provides leadership and service to
improve teaching and learning by advancing the effective use of
technology in PK–12 and teacher education. Home of the National
Educational Technology Standards (NETS) and National Educational
Computing Conference (NECC), ISTE represents more than 85,000
worldwide leaders in educational technology.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the
principal association for state directors of technology and their
staff members providing professional development and leadership
around the effective use to technology in education to enhance
competitiveness in the global workforce.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the
principal trade association for the software and digital content
industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations,
business development, corporate education and intellectual property
protection to more than 800 leading software and information
companies. Many SIIA members develop and deliver educational
software, digital curricula and related technologies and services for
use in education, while all SIIA members depend on the nation’s
schools to provide a skilled, high-tech workforce. SIIA and our
member companies have long collaborated with educators, policymakers
and other stakeholders to improve education through the use of
innovative learning technologies.

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