Friday, January 23, 2009

Where's The Tech? The Missing Link in The Education Agenda of America’s Most Tech-Savvy President




As the excitement of the election of an historic president fades and the work of change begins, innovative educators everywhere will want to know exactly what is on President Obama’s education agenda. As power quietly switched over from the Bush administration to Obama at the stroke of noon on Inauguration day, one of the first places the shift was apparent was on the Web. As MSNBC.com reported, “The Bush White House's Web site disappeared into the ether, replaced by an online portal jazzed up with blog posts, slideshows and front-page video.” There you can take a look at “The Agenda” of the new president where visitors can learn more about the Obama-Biden Administration's positions on everything from health care and the economy to alternative energy and foreign policy.


Of course innovative educators are interested in taking a peek into the education agenda. For early childhood, there is a focus on voluntary universal pre-school as well as expanding Head Start and providing affordable quality child care. For K-12 many educators will be pleased that there is a plan to reform and fund NCLB. There is also support for High-Quality Schools and a plan to Close Low-Performing Charter Schools. They plan to make Math and Science Education a National Priority. They will address the dropout crises which is as high as 50% in some cities. There is a plan to expand high-quality afterschool opportunities. There is also a plan to support college outreach programs and college credit initiatives. There will be support for transitional bilingual education and help for Limited English Proficient students. Finally on the agenda is recruitment, preparation, retention, and a reward structure developed collaboratively with teachers.


But where is instructional technology and the development of 21st Century skills? How about equity and access for our students to computers and internet access? Something that people like Nicholas Negroponte insist is the key to student success? I don’t see this here yet. I guess we'll have to find a way to ensure this is infused into this work going forward. Any ideas?


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