How ESSA will boost ed-tech funding

The Every Student Succeeds Act includes block grants intended for technology, among other uses. It also opens the door to new state testing systems

essa-ed-techEight years after the No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to expire, Congress finally passed a bill to replace it—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—that gives states more latitude in deciding how to close achievement gaps. The legislation also includes a sizeable state block-grant program intended for technology, among other uses.

Although it’s not the program that ed-tech advocates had hoped for, many expressed cautious optimism that a section of ESSA under Title IV (“21st Century Schools”) could help schools use technology tools to transform teaching and learning.

“We’re pleased that the federal government has renewed its commitment to funding educational technology,” said Lan Neugent, interim executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, in an interview. “It’s great to see that become a priority again.”…Read More

Ed-tech funding news: August 2012

Here are the top ed-tech funding stories from our latest digital edition.

In the latest digital edition of eSchool News, Grants & Funding columnist Deb Ward dispels five common grant-seeking myths, and we look at free cloud-based Office software from Microsoft. Plus, we shine a spotlight on seven ed-tech grant opportunities.

You can browse the full publication here, or click on any of the headlines below to read these highlights:

Dispelling five common grant-seeking myths…Read More

Last-minute funding for education jobs looks grim

A bill that could have saved thousands of teachers' jobs failed to pass in Congress.
A bill that could have saved thousands of teachers' jobs failed to pass in Congress.

The fate of additional funding that might save thousands of teachers’ jobs remains uncertain after a $10 billion education jobs bill failed to pass in Congress, leaving many schools in the lurch as districts determine how many teaching positions their recession-riddled budgets can support. But advocates of education technology are pleased that a Senate subcommittee has added $100 million in ed-tech funding to the Senate version of the 2011 education appropriations bill.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a war spending bill on July 1 that included $10 billion for teachers’ jobs, which supporters said would help prevent thousands of layoffs across the nation, as well as $5 billion to cover a shortfall in requests for Pell Grant loans for low-income college students.

The measure had trouble passing in the U.S. Senate, however, and the $15 billion for education ultimately was dropped from the bill.…Read More

Editorial: Ed-tech funds sit idle as California bickers

California is the home of Silicon Valley and the most sophisticated data systems in the world, yet it continues to rank near the bottom for student and teacher use of technology. That’s why it’s perplexing and discouraging that California has been unable to get $70.9 million in one-time federal stimulus dollars out of the door to local school districts for technology to improve learning in the classroom, according to the Sacramento Bee. The Obama administration announced these one-time funds (a supplement to regular Enhancing Education Through Technology grants) in July 2009. It came after California’s regular budget process had ended, yet other states managed to act in timely fashion. As of press time, California was the only state that had not distributed all the funds. Under pressure from school districts and the federal government, lawmakers in the past two weeks finally released half of the funds (using the current education code formula). But lawmakers continue to argue over the other half–more than $30 million…

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TCEA keynote: Educators must show determination, drive

Christopher Gardner's speech inspired an audience of ed-tech supporters.
Christopher Gardner's speech inspired an audience of ed-tech supporters.

Christopher Gardner, the man whose life experiences inspired The Pursuit of Happyness, his best-selling autobiography which later developed into a movie, welcomed attendees on the first day of the 30th annual Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference with two words of wisdom: “Life happens.”

Gardner detailed his ambition to create a meaningful life despite the obstacles thrown his way, and several themes emerged during his talk—themes that educators most certainly have in common with Gardner: determination, drive, and positive thinking.

“We have seen the creation of a whole new class of homeless people,” Gardner said. He calls that group “white collar homeless” and said that every day, countless professionals who have lost their homes as a result of the nation’s economic struggles go to work and do all they can to remain on their feet.…Read More