FY11 budget details: a mixed bag for education

A major federal educational technology program for states was eliminated in the FY11 budget deal.

Although Congress reached a budget deal for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year—avoiding a government shutdown in the process—the federal education budget did not escape unscathed, and some programs suffered notable cuts, including the elimination of the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program.

President Obama originally wanted to eliminate EETT in his 2011 budget, but he also proposed a new initiative that would focus on improving teaching and learning within three areas: literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and well-rounded education (arts, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, economics, financial literacy, and other subjects).

According to education officials, the new initiative was supposed to “include a focus on integrating technology into instruction and using technology to drive improvements in teaching and learning” throughout all three curricular areas. This new initiative didn’t make it into the final budget deal for the remainder of FY11, however.

Last month, educational technology advocates, including the International Society for Technology in Education, the Consortium for School Networking, the Software and Information Industry Association, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association, urged Congress to continue to fund EETT.

“We are deeply disappointed that despite many members’ understanding of the vital role technology plays in K-12 education in their states and districts, Congress is on the verge of eliminating funding for this critical program,” the groups said in a joint statement in March.

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Laura Ascione

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