So we have leadership change, and the money might be coming (sort of). We could be in big trouble!

I’ve seen numbers bandied around like $1,000,000,000 (that’s a billion dollars) for edtech in an Obama administration. Tom Hoffman dives in here. Wow, that should do it. We’ll all be swimming in tech!
WHAT? No, we won’t!?

No, that funding sounds adequate, but some have crunched the numbers and that funding level would not be adequate.

And that’s the point. We could get set-up here for another major fall. The problem as I see it is that a billion isn’t nearly enough, especially if it is spread around in some kind of “fair” manner so that every district and school gets its fair share. I know that seems like the right thing to do, but I’m not so sure.

See a billion is a lot of money AND it SOUNDS like a lot of money so in the publics’ mind edtech got all they money they could possibly need, so now we’ll really see if technology can and will make a difference in education. If they can’t get this to work with a billion then it just shows that technology integration and project-based, problem-based learning doesn’t work and teachers and school administrators are idiots and waste money … where’s the voucher and testing system? We need some accountability!!!!

One way it could help is if some model schools and districts were funded in an adequate manner by that money, bundled with vision and real leadership, and permission to REALLY try and do things differently. Not just tech integration and project-based activities, but also how assessment is done, what the day looks like, number of school days, field trip funding, cutting requirements to buy textbook programs, paying teachers to plan as part of their contract (ie – non-student days before, during and after the school year),  … I could go on. But then if these models are given the time to work and show that they work, funding will come for everyone else … well at least to some level. I think it is true that if the system works, the money will at least mostly follow.

If we just throw tech into basically the same system we have now? Well that’s what has been tried over and over … and failed miserably. And note that I haven’t even mentioned, well until now, the professional development that MUST happen before much of the tech shows up (and is that part of the billion? If so we need even more). This has to be thought through at every level or why bother?

I’d love to hear what others have to think about this. Am I way off here?

Learning is messy!

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9 Responses to So we have leadership change, and the money might be coming (sort of). We could be in big trouble!

  1. I’m just hoping it means that I won’t have to go begging every year for SLA laptops.

  2. Well as much as I would like to have some extra money to buy some accessories for my Promethean Board. I agree with you that by the time they spread the money around, teachers will get very little, individually, of it. Also, I have to agree that if the money would go to some model schools and they were given time, the country would see what we could do, and more funding would be found. I hope some changes are made with this adminstration, but I hope they don’t do more harm than good in the long run!

  3. I agree that the old system has failed miserably. In fact, I know of districts with money and technology(like mine) where there is plenty and yet it often is still not being used that innovatively as part of the school culture(as opposed to somewhere like SLA, Chris! )

    It takes a happy kismet of funding, leadership, buy in and school culture. Something that one would hope, as you mention Brian, that could be fostered along with this infusion of funds.

  4. Cathy Wolinsky says:

    If school means testing and data not creativity and innovation, then technology means online assessments, not multimedia projects and collaboration. What will we support?

  5. Looking forward to it funding a 1:1 program.

  6. I completely agree with part of your argument, Brian. It reminds me of Digital High School-funded computers gathering dust on classroom countertops. While a certain number of computers is essential, we need to invest equally in technology integration specialists, professional learning experiences, and curriculum development.

    I’m not sure that, in this day and age, a failure of technology funding to improve education would lead to the demise of ed tech. More likely, people would blame teachers instead ;-P

    Richard

  7. Bob says:

    What is the justification of spending 1¢ let alone $1 billion of federal tax dollars on education? The last time I read the Constitution, education was still not a right held to the federal government and the X Amendment reserved anything not specifically reserved to be a right of the states.

    The Supreme Court has even ruled that education is not a fundamental right, therefore not protected by the Constitution.

    Given that public education is not working properly, perhaps sorting out who is responsible would be a good place to begin before distributing $1 billion knowing it won’t get the job done.

  8. Brian says:

    Bob, short answer … What is the justification of spending 1c let alone trillions bailing out business? Where is that mentioned as a right protected by the constitution? Given that business is not working properly, perhaps sorting out who is responsible would be a great place to begin before distributing trillions of dollars knowing it won’t get the job done.

  9. Bob says:

    There is absolutely no justification for bailing out the businesses that have been getting money. I am in favor of letting banks, auto makers, etc. fend for themselves.

    None of that, however, has to do with education. Education is not a federal responsibility. That will improve both systems: education and government.

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