Supporting efforts to improve student achievement through the use of technology
Under current and prior incarnations of the the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), Congress granted the U.S. Department of Education specific responsibility to support states and school districts to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology. In 2010, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for the reauthorization of ESEA and in parallel ceased requesting federal budget support for educational technology programs in continuous operation since 1994. In that same year, the U.S. Department of Education made grants under the Race to the Top Assessment program to assist states in developing next generation assessments in grades 3 through 12 in mathematics and English language arts to be delivered online and administered via computer. The U.S. Department of Education continues to advocate for the effective use of technology in education through the Office of Educational Technology; as a priority in select competitive grant programs, including for students with disabilities; as a mechanism to collect and share data to inform decisionmaking; and in research and evaluation activities.
Select U.S. Department of Education Initiatives and Resources
- The Office of Educational Technology (OET), in the Office of the Secretary, provides leadership for transforming education through the power of technology.
- The Obama administration blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was released in March 2010.
- In September 2010, the Race to the Top Assessment Program provided initial funding to consortia of states to develop next generation assessments, including a requirement that states ‘use technology to its maximum extent to develop, administer, and score assessments and report assessment results.’
- The U.S. Department of Education’s national education technology plan, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology – which presents goals and recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders – was released by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the SETDA Leadership Summit in November 2010.
The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Program
The Enhancing Education Through Technology state educational technology grants program (Title II, Part D, of ESEA) was the U.S. Department of Education’s only program dedicated to the integration of educational technology in K-12 schools. At the request of the Obama Administration, Congress defunded the program beginning with federal fiscal year 2011.
EETT explicitly supported the broad goals of ESEA through the use of technology in schools and had three primary goals: (1) to improve student academic achievement in elementary and secondary schools through the use of educational technology; (2) to assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability; and (3) to encourage the effective integration of technology resources and systems with teacher training and curriculum development to establish research-based instructional methods that can be widely implemented as best practices by state education agencies and local education agencies.
SETDA and its members undertook the creation of annual reports from 2004-2012 on national trends in the use of funds appropriated to the program. The supplemental investment in the program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was covered in a special SETDA report, as well as in select case studies prepared by SETDA on the use and impact of funds drawn from 28 states.
For access to all of SETDA’s National Trends and related reports on the implementation of the EETT state educational technology grants program, visit the Resource section and filter by “Federal Program Implementation”.