Ed-tech stakeholders protest budget cuts

She highlighted an EETT success story from her home state of Washington. The Yakima Public School District serves roughly 14,500 students, more than 80 percent of whom are eligible for free and reduced lunches, and 25 percent are English language learners.

Within the district, Wilson Middle School special-education teacher Kathy Schmidt used EETT funds to purchase and install a computer system and software that let her tailor her classroom instruction to meet her students’ varying needs more effectively.

After installing that computer program and in just one instructional year, the number of Schmidt’s students who passed a statewide assessment reportedly increased from 8 percent to 59 percent.

The district’s technology coordinator, Dan Matthews, discovered that nearly half of its classrooms weren’t integrating available technology as effectively as possible, Murray said. Using a $200,000 EETT grant, Matthews established the Classroom Connect program, which works with teachers to make sure they understand how to best use technology in their instruction. Last year, more than 200 teachers in 11 of the district’s lowest-income schools participated in the program.

“Unfortunately, as you may know, there are some people who believe we should eliminate this important program,” Murray said, referencing the recent FY11 budget agreement that eliminates EETT funding.

“I am going to keep fighting for it, though—because I know it works. And if we lose this funding stream, I am concerned we risk backtracking on the gains these programs have helped our schools make.”

Recently, Murray co-sponsored the ATTAIN Act, which reauthorizes, updates, and improves the EETT program. Murray said she will continue to fight for the program’s success.

Other EETT success stories

A statewide digital content repository in Iowa received a $3.2 million EETT grant that will help it push state-aligned digital core content to all of Iowa’s schools, offer extensive professional development, and also offer a standardized course credit recovery system.

Laura Ascione

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