Washington, D.C. — More than 120 advocates from 34 states gathered in Washington. DC, this week for the Washington Education Technology Policy Summit and spent time on Capitol Hill educating Congress on the value of technology to improve teaching and learning at the K-12 level. These educators and technology proponents met with the congressional delegations from their respective states to promote the need for more funding for education technology programs, particularly Title IID/Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), as well as the E-Rate program. These efforts were particularly timely as Congress begins considering NCLB reauthorization.
The Summit was hosted by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN, www.cosn.org); the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, www.iste.org); the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL, www.nacol.org); and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA, www.sedta.org). Keynote addresses included remarks by Carl Cannon of the National Journal and presentations from key congressional staff. Following these updates and presentations, attendees met with Senators, Representatives and congressional staff from their states to advocate for education technology programs and funding.
Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) was honored for his exemplary support for education technology in Wisconsin and across the nation. Congressman Kind has been a leading advocate in support of full funding for the EETT program, recognizing that "students need technology skills and knowledge to compete in the 21st century economy."
Clark County (Nevada) School District Chief Technology Officer, Philip J. Brody, called the Summit experience "enlightening and worth my time." Also a first advocate on the Hill, Brody said it was "very interesting to see the amount of preparation a person or an organization needs to do" to be effective. "Most of the folks I met were interested and interesting," Brody said of his Hill visits. "I felt I was part of the process — not just casting my vote."
"Policymakers make bad decisions when they don´t hear from their constituents. Conversely, when education champions stand up and tell their stories about the exciting things they are doing with technology, public officials listen," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN,
"Competitiveness is a huge issue," said ISTE CEO Don Knezek. "We´re thrilled that more than 120 education technology advocates converged on Capitol Hill to share their vital message with Members of Congress. We know constituent voices have a real impact."
"The Summit provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss what is working in our schools with state, district, and school-level educators," said Mary Ann Wolf, executive director of SETDA. "And that discussion allows us to build upon programs that are improving student achievement. It is critical that policy reflects practice. Education technology advocates ensure that those in Congress know what makes a real difference for kids."
"The leadership Summit explored how to best communicate the positive uses of technology to improve student achievement and help policymakers understand what works on the ground to provide a 21st century education with today´s students," said Susan Patrick, CEO of NACOL. "Online learning is a proven, practical method to enhance the learning experience of all students."
The event was made possible by underwriting from Atomic Learning and eChalk.