Education technology stakeholders and advocacy groups applauded the legislation’s mention of technology and digital learning.
“ESEA has been in need of revision for many years, as the education landscape has evolved dramatically since it was last updated 15 years ago,” said Mark MacCarthy, SIIA senior vice president of public policy, in a statement.
“This legislation represents a renewed, long-awaited commitment to digital equity. It will strengthen the technology competencies of educators, including their data privacy know-how, and give more students the tools needed for success in college and career preparation,” CoSN CEO Keith Krueger said.
“Far too many educators lack the 21st century training to enhance teaching and learning through technology. Innovations and educational practices have simply outpaced federal law and investment, leaving poor communities behind the digital curve.”
The National Governors Association issued a full endorsement of the bill–a move it has not taken in almost 20 years.
“This is a significant step in the right direction in our work to ensure state control of education policy. This bill reinforces that accountability and responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states,” said NGA Chair Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert in a statement.
In a joint statement, American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Leslie Preddy and American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman expressed their appreciation that the legislation recognizes the role school libraries play in students’ success.
“School libraries are learning hubs where students become motivated readers and actively engage with technologies and the latest information resources, preparing them to succeed in our global, competitive economy and the ever-evolving workplace. School librarians are instructional leaders and essential partners with all teachers, collaborating to meet diverse needs, strengthen student learning, and facilitate deeper understanding of print and digital materials,” they said.
“Students have suffered long enough under the broken system of test and punish created by the No Child Left Behind Act,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said.
“In particular, the bill includes student and school supports in state accountability plans to create an opportunity ‘dashboard’; reduces the amount of standardized testing in schools and decouples high-stakes decision making and statewide standardized tests; and ensures that educators’ voices are part of decision making at the federal, state and local levels.”
A final version of the bill was released on Nov. 30. Congress is expected to vote on the bill in the coming weeks, and President Obama is likely to sign it by the end of the year.