02.11.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Bill to Increase Student Achievement through Technology Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today introduced legislation to help schools, districts, and states transform learning systems by utilizing innovative technology. The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Act would support educators in using technology to increase college and career readiness, help school districts build a technology infrastructure to ensure schools take full advantage of what technology has to offer, and increase student learning by infusing technology into education while protecting student privacy and ensuring data security.

“Across the globe, students today experience a world that is more connected than ever. Yet in the United Sates, many classrooms, especially those in rural and remote areas, lack the rich technology that can connect them with the outside world,” said Baldwin. “I’m proud to introduce the Enhancing Education Through Technology Act to level the playing field and give schools the resources, infrastructure, hardware, software, and human capacity needed to prepare students for the 21st century global economy.” 

“Providing all students with technology-rich learning environments in which they can collaborate, create, and learn deeply is essential to creating citizens who can adapt and thrive in today's connected world,” said Donna Smith, Wisconsin Education Media and Technology Association President. “WEMTA is proud to support Senator Baldwin's EETT Act as a necessary component for teaching and learning in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S.”

Earlier this month, several organizations representing educators, state and local education leaders, and the high-tech industry sent a letter to the HELP Committee urging them to include a dedicated digital learning program within the final bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) writing, “Only a distinct commitment to supporting technology use in the classroom will ensure that all students, especially those in rural and remote areas, have access to the limitless educational opportunities available…For digital learning to become a reality nationwide, educators must receive ongoing, sustainable and scalable technology professional learning opportunities. That is only possible through a stand-alone, dedicated program like EETT.”

Joining Senator Baldwin in introducing the EETT Act were HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Angus King (I-ME).

Learn more about the EETT Act here

Support for the Enhancing Education Through Technology Act:

Alliance for Excellent Education

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Association of Educational Service Agencies

Common Sense Media

Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)

National Education Association (NEA)

National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition

The School Superintendents Association (AASA)

Software Information & Industry Association (SIIA)

State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA)

Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB)

Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators

Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC)

Wisconsin Education Media and Technology Association (WEMTA)

Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance

 “The Wisconsin Education Media and Technology Association (WEMTA) endorses Senator Baldwin's Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Act of 2015. Providing all students with technology-rich learning environments in which they can collaborate, create, and learn deeply is essential to creating citizens who can adapt and thrive in today's connected world. WEMTA is proud to support Senator Baldwin's EETT Act as a necessary component for teaching and learning in Wisconsin and throughout the US.”

-Donna Smith, WEMTA President

“As the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee continues negotiations on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it’s critical to remember that Congress established the law 50 years ago to ensure educational equity. Today, that means digital equity.

“With dedicated, sustained federal support for technology and related professional development, our schools will be better equipped to meet the demands of modern teaching and learning. In turn, disadvantaged students will benefit from the innovative instructional opportunities they need to prepare for postsecondary success and career advancement.

“On behalf of education technology leaders across America, we thank Senator Baldwin for championing the Enhancing Education through Technology Act and we urge the HELP Committee to include the program in the ESEA reauthorization legislation it will soon consider.”

-Keith Krueger, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) CEO

“Senator Baldwin’s legislation recognizes that access to high-speed broadband and current computing devices is now as vital a component of K-12 school infrastructure as electricity, air conditioning, and heating.  It demonstrates that Senator Baldwin is keenly aware that the same tools and resources that have transformed our personal, civic, and professional lives must be part of learning experiences intended to prepare today’s students for college and careers.   K-12, college students, and lifelong learners rely on technology for academic success and to improve personal productivity. In the workplace, everyone from business owners to mechanics to accountants to physicians depends on technology to conduct their work, grow their businesses, and collaborate with their colleagues – both locally and globally.  We need to prepare today’s students for the realities of this world.

“With easy access to reliable, robust, and cost-effective broadband and computing devices, we can ensure that each student’s school experience, mirrors evolving societal expectations for public education. Digital access will permits students in even our smallest, most rural schools to create engaging text and multimedia projects such as videos, collaboratively conduct research with others on the far side of the state or the world, take online courses not available locally, and talk directly with authors and experts.  Adequate technology infrastructure, including digital devices, adequate broadband and robust connectivity, will allow teachers and instructors to collaborate with colleagues, participate in professional development online, and immediately analyze results from online assessments to personalize instruction for each individual student. Indeed, the use of online assessments necessitates that schools have highly reliable and secure high-speed connections.

“Thanks to the proliferation of low-cost computing devices - such as laptops, tablets, eReaders, and smartphones – and the development of district high-access and 1-to-1 programs – teaching and learning is no longer limited to the confines of a school building or a school day or even a public library building.  In fact, out-of-school access to broadband by students and teachers is now arguably as important to the overall quality of the learning experience as access at school.  Assuring high-speed broadband is available to students and lifelong learners throughout the state, including in many rural areas where it is currently lacking or available only a great cost, is a great equalizer of opportunities.

“Recent changes to the federal eRate program, which move that program from one that helps to provide affordable broadband service to schools to one that will boost connectivity within schools so that more classrooms will have robust broadband capacity is an important step.  Senator Baldwin’s EETT Act update legislation is the next logical step in the same right direction for students and schools.  Senator Baldwin’s EETT Act legislation builds upon  the changes to the eRate program, to ensure that our schools have the technology resources they need to prepares students for the world of tomorrow, with the best tools of today.  It will also help ensure that teachers have the professional development in how to use technology tools to enhance student learning so that adding technology doesn’t simply moves instruction sideways but moves it forward.”

-Dan Rossmiller, WASB Government Relations Director