A Busy Month for Education Policy!

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In the past couple of weeks, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) moved through the US House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama. Almost simultaneously, the National Educational Technology Plan was approved by the US Department of Education.

Both have big implications to MACUL members. It is clear that using technology in the classroom is a national priority.

The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) sets a national vision and plan for learning enabled by technology through building on the work of leading education researchers; district, school, and higher education leaders; classroom teachers; developers; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit organizations. The principles and examples provided in this document align to the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons (ITECH) program as authorized by Congress in December 2015 through the Every Child Achieves Act.

Both documents are lengthy and will take time to unpack and understand. Here are both documents in their entirety:

 

Student Technology Showcase at the Capitol a Success!

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The 15th annual AT&T/MACUL/MVU Student Technology Showcase at the Michigan State Capitol was held on December 2, 2015. This event allows lawmakers, business leaders and other citizens to see first-hand how technology is used in classrooms across Michigan.

K-12 student teams representing their schools from around the state demonstrate best practices of how technology can enhance teaching and learning for the success of Michigan students.

Last year, Governor Snyder helped kick off the event. This year, Lt Governor Calley participated in the opening ceremony. 65 legislators attended and met with student teams from across the state. The student teams did a fantastic job of advocating for technology in the classroom.

Michigan State Rep. Bradford Jacobsen (R-Oxford) and State Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) received Excellence in Education Awards. They are recognized for their dedication to improving the Michigan educational system.

Media coverage included channel 6, 10, 47, and multiple newspapers.

Many photos were taken at the event. Check out the photo slideshow!

US Senate Passed the ESEA

From the ISTE Advocacy Network:

The Senate has just passed the new ESEA, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), making President Obama’s signature the last stop for this historic piece of legislation becoming law. If signed by the President, ESSA would eliminate the most troublesome provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and return authority and flexibility over many educational issues to states. 

 As you may know, a major ed tech provision was included in the bill’s new flexible block grant (Title IV). Under this flex grant, each district will receive a poverty-based allocation, much of which can be spent on technology, blended learning and tech professional development. Indeed, if Title IV receives full funding, school districts will be able to use as much as $1 billion of this block grant for ed tech. Additionally, districts will be able to expend Title IV dollars on solutions to bridge the so-called “homework gap” – which describes the problem of students lacking any or adequate Internet connectivity in their homes.

 Securing the ed tech provisions in the updated education legislation is a monumental win for ISTE’s members and we are proud to have played a major  role in securing these provisions.  

 

CRAIG THIBAUDEAU

Chief External Relations Officer 

Arlington, VA