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Reforming Our Schools: The future of education technology funding

Another Recovery Act program, Investing in Innovation (i3) was officially released with a May 12, 2010 deadline. The $650 million program will provide competitive grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations in partnership with LEAs who have a record of improving student achievement. We anticipate seeing future funding under these stimulus programs as President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 includes additional funding for both the RTTT and i3 programs.

The annual program Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) may also see some changes as the proposed budget for FY11 suggests restructuring this title funding and consolidating it in a new initiative called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education. This new initiative would focus on improving teaching and learning within three areas: Literacy, STEM, and Well-Rounded Education.

There has been increasing controversy surrounding this proposed restructuring of how education technology will be funded in future years. Several state and national education groups, as well as high-tech companies, have been sending letters urging their lawmakers to continue funding the EETT block-grant program as it was in previous years.

Whether or not education technology continues to have its own dedicated funding stream, it is evident that future grant programs will involve projects that support the effective use of technology to improve instruction. Technology is a priority across multiple areas of the proposed education reform and those projects and strategies that use digital information and/or communications technology to further student achievement should stand to be most successful in future funding competitions.