With the release of a new national plan on December 15, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley challenged the nation to move to the next frontier in educational technology by ensuring all students have access to information technology, supporting effective teaching, equipping all students with technology and information literacy skills, conducting solid research and evaluation, and providing high-quality content.
In his introduction to "e-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of All Children," Riley said, "We've made remarkable progress. Due in large part to federal programs such as the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and the E-rate, many of the nation's teachers and students are beginning to reap the benefits of increased access to computers and the Internet. Our progress is a testament to the commitment of local communities, states, the private and non-profit sectors, educators, the federal government and others to integrate technology into America's schools."
"I am delighted with the release of the Administration's new educational technology plan," said President Clinton. "The report documents the amazing progress that we have made in reaching the goals of our original strategy to provide Internet access, teacher training, modern computers, and high-quality educational software. The report also highlights important new challenges that we have identified, such as making Internet access as widely available as the telephone, giving our children information literacy skills, and taking advantage of the technology to truly transform teaching and learning. I want to say a special word of thanks to Vice President Al Gore and Secretary Riley for their leadership on this critical issue."
The plan released today sets five national goals:
"Leadership is required to renew our commitment to the future," Riley said. "I invite Congress and the new administration to continue to support state and local education leaders in harnessing the best of the information age for education. This is an opportunity for our children that the country cannot afford to miss."
The Clinton Administration has invested $8 billion dollars in educational technology since 1995. Riley said that this investment has led to tremendous progress. Today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, classroom Internet access has grown from 3 percent to 63 percent and student computer ratios have improved dramatically; they have improved from the start of the decade when there was only one instructional computer for every 20 students to 1998 when there was one for every six students. This data, along with federal investment figures both nationally and by state, is available in a recent progress report.
Riley said that while progress has been made over the past several years, the new plan provides a roadmap to help keep the nation's students on the path toward success.
Source: From a U.S. Department of Education press release (12/15/00)
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