CCSSO: Kara Schlosser, [email protected]: 202-336-7034

SETDA: Sara Hall, [email protected]: 410-279-3368


State, Federal Policymakers Foresee the Increasing Importance
of Technology in K-12 Education Policy and Practice

National Educational Technology Plan and National Broadband Plan Highlight Obama Administration Vision for Educational Technology; Stress Opportunities, Challenges

March 15, 2010 (Washington, DC) – Smart and strategic federal and state investments in broadband and educational technology will help schools address longstanding educational challenges, drive innovations in teaching, learning and assessment, better prepare students for their future, and save money. These ideas and more were shared at an event hosted last week by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). The event, “The Future of Technology in K-12 Education Policy and Practice,” was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and featured the State Commissioner of Education and State Educational Technology Director from Maine, as well as senior Obama Administration officials from the US Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“We applaud the Administration for their vision of the foundational role that technology is and will continue to play in K-12 education and of the importance of a strong state-federal partnership,” said Douglas Levin, Executive Director of SETDA. “Together, we are charting a course to dramatically increasing educational opportunity for all students nationwide.”

Featured speaker, Karen Cator, the Director of Education Technology in the Office of the Secretary, US Department of Education provided an overview of the recommendations from a comprehensive Education Technology Plan released last week. The Plan, still considered a draft, is now open for public comment. “If we are serious – and we are – about getting many more kids over a much higher bar, we have to transform our schools and empower teachers and students with the best possible technology of the day,” said Cator. “Strong state leadership to ensure meaningful use at scale is vitally important. At the same time, we see technology offering unique opportunities to invigorate and inspire teachers and students.”

Featured speaker, Steve Midgley, the Education Director of the FCC’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative in the Office of Strategic Planning, provided the audience with a sneak peek into the education-focused recommendations they will share with Congress later this week in the National Broadband Plan. These recommendations include several ideas for strengthening the federal eRate program, which offers discounted broadband internet access for schools and libraries. Midgley said, “Teachers and students, in and out of school, will increasingly come to rely upon access to information and online learning opportunities via broadband. By upgrading the eRate program, we can improve today’s broadband infrastructure to ensure we don’t slow down progress in schools.”

Sue Gendron, Maine Commissioner of Education and President of CCSSO talked about the importance of states planning and implementing broadband strategies together with defined educational technology initiatives in support of student learning. “Technology in education cannot be assumed or it just won’t happen. In Maine, we aligned our educational goals with the technology – tools, training, access, and infrastructure – necessary to accomplish those goals. We set a minimum threshold for spending on educational technology and threaded together state and federal dollars to make it happen.”

Jeff Mao, Maine Learning Technology Policy Director and Vice Chair of SETDA added, “Without a strong vision from the state and dedicated funding, we would have a very difficult time accomplishing our educational goals for the students of Maine.”

For more information, including copies of the presentations delivered, photographs, and to view an archived webcast of the event, please visit

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing the technology leadership of state departments of education. The SETDA membership includes educational technology directors from the state departments of education of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Bureau of Indian Affairs, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands.

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