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State Leaders Spotlight Educational Technology Trends, Innovations to Capitol Hill Audience

The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT/ESEA Title IID) Program Vital to Scaling Up Success, Sustaining School Reform Improvement and Momentum

May 25, 2010 (Washington, DC): In back-to-back Capitol Hill briefings hosted by Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA) and organized by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), last week state educational technology leaders from Alabama, Michigan and Virginia highlighted key trends from the recently released 2010 SETDA National Educational Technology Trends Report “Innovation through State Leadership,” and illustrated the crucial and catalytic role the current Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT/ESEA, Title IID) program plays in state and national school reform and improvement efforts. Panelists also discussed the need for sustaining the longstanding state-federal partnership in support of state and local educational technology leadership and capacity to ensure continued innovation and improvement in teaching and learning for all students.

The briefings, entitled “Fostering Excellence, Equity and Innovation in K-12 Education through Technology: A Successful State-Federal Partnership,” featured:

  • Dr. Melinda Maddox, Director Technology Initiatives, Alabama Department of Education. Dr. Maddox talked of Alabama’s successful efforts to increase equity of access to high quality courses and content to rural and high-need students – and their teachers – via two statewide initiatives: the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) and ACCESS Distance Learning. ALEX is an online resource designed to share instructional materials and content with educators, parents, and students. ALEX resources (including lesson plans, Web links, and interactive activities) are located, indexed, and aligned to Alabama standards by nationally board certified teachers. ACCESS Distance Learning is the state’s online learning program, which has put in place an infrastructure to provide equitable access to high quality instruction for all Alabama public high school students. ACCESS Distance Learning has more than 26,000 students enrolled in total, representing all 371 high schools across the state.
  • Mr. Bruce Umpstead, State Director, Educational Technology and Data Coordination, Office of Education Improvement and Innovation, Michigan Department of Education. Mr. Umpstead described Michigan’s efforts to prepare all students for college and 21st century careers by reducing the dropout rate, particularly in the state’s urban areas. His remarks focused on EETT-supported efforts to put in place a statewide data system to identify students off-track for high school graduation in time for early intervention and to train educators on its use, as well as on an innovative and successful online learning initiative to provide last chance opportunities to students who otherwise would have dropped out.
  • Mr. Lan Neugent, Assistant Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Career Education, Virginia Department of Education. Mr. Neugent spoke to the role of the EETT program in support of a range of educational technology efforts in the Commonwealth, including the administration of statewide online high-stakes assessments (just under 2 million of which were delivered this school year), innovative digital content initiatives designed to provide richer and more effective instructional resources than has been possible with traditional textbooks, and engaging STEM teaching and learning opportunities (such as by providing Virginia students access to scientific research facilities and equipment around the world via the Internet). In discussing these online learning opportunities, Mr. Neugent also highlighted Virginia’s commitment to internet safety education.“If we are serious about meeting the ambitious goals that the Obama Administration has set forth in their ESEA Blueprint for Reform – and we are – then we must build state and local capacity to break from the status quo and bring innovations like these to all students,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA Executive Director. “The EETT program is the primary source of support for state and local educational technology leadership and capacity. Elimination of the program – as has been proposed by the Obama Administration – would force schools to face 21st century challenges with 20th century tools. We can and must do better.”

Additional Information

  1. “Fostering Excellence, Equity and Innovation in K-12 Education through Technology: A Successful State-Federal Partnership,” Audio Recording and Power Point Presentation.
  2. eSchoolnews Article entitled, “Stakeholders Fight for Ed-Tech Funds: School technology leaders say continued funding of EETT is necessary for students’ 21st-century success.”
  3. 2010 SETDA National Educational Technology Trends Report, “Innovation through State Leadership.”
  4. Washington Post Ed-Tech Blog entitled, “Obama’s mistake with technology in ed reform.”


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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