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5/24/2007
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No Child Left Behind Could Get Boost For Tech

New legislation would invest in classroom technology to prepare U.S. students for work in the information economy.

U.S. lawmakers have moved to make sure no child is left behind when it comes to technology instruction.

U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, Judy Biggert, R-Ill., and Ron Kind, D-Wisc., introduced the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act. The bill would require states to assess students' technology literacy by eighth grade.

It would add support for the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program for disadvantaged schools and children, funding professional development, equipment, and reform. It places a priority on schools that need improvement, including those with a high percentage of students with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.

"One of the most effective ways we can sharpen America's competitive edge is by investing in technology in the classroom," Hinojosa said in a prepared statement. "This bill will further the technological prowess of our nation's schools and students and will ultimately increase our economic prosperity and capacity for innovation."

The Consortium for School Networking, the International Society for Technology in Education, the Software & Information Industry Association, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association, have backed the bill, which is proposed as part of the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.

"Teachers are our nation's most valuable resources and absolutely crucial to whether education technology implementations succeed," Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, said in a prepared statement. "The ATTAIN Act's focus on technology professional development will help ensure that our investments in school hardware, software, and infrastructure are leveraged for the benefit of our nation's students."

Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking, said the Act reflects lawmakers' understanding that technology plays an important role in meeting standards set by No Child Left Behind. Ken Wasch, president of the Software & Information Industry Association, agreed.

"Technology is vital for providing students with a learning environment that prepares them for the world beyond the classroom," Wasch said in a prepared statement. "The ATTAIN Act will ensure our educational system adopts modern methods to remain effective in the digital, information economy."

The bill would increase the share of state-to-local funding distributed by formula from 50% to 60%. It would raise the portion of formula grants for professional development from 25% to 40%. It also would direct 40% of previously unrestricted funds for competitive grants to schools and districts for improving technology to redesign curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data use.

"We cannot ignore education technology's value in developing critical thinking skills and media literacy into this and future generations of students," Rep. Kind said in a prepared statement. "We all want our students, and this country, to compete effectively and succeed in the global marketplace. Education technology is a key component to achieving those goals."

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