- An amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, which passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions last week in a 22-0 vote, would set aside funding for ed tech.
- Under the Innovative Technology Expands Childrens' Horizons amendment, competitive grants would be available to states for implementing ed tech professional development, expanding ed tech resources to schools in rural and underserved communities, and offering online courses for advanced students.
- The amendment would also require schools applying for the grants to verify that they had completed a technology readiness survey, which EdSurge postulates could potentially be the U.S. Department of Education's Future Ready District Assessment.
One notable feature of the proposed federal grant program: It doesn't seem to come with additional strings attached — at least not yet. A major source of criticism in another big K-12 competitive grant program, President Barack Obama's Race to the Top, has been the added requirements for applicants to adopt certain standards, like Common Core, and implement teacher evaluations tied to student tests. Of course, should this rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act pass, such requirements would become moot as states regained a greater share of authority over schools.
That said, the ITECH amendment offers states an opportunity to address a number of concerns regarding ed tech. The funding for professional development is a big one, as tech deployments lacking adequate training for educators have been problematic for some time. Additionally, funding resource expansions makes sense, too, as it would further the White House's ConnectED initiative goals of leveling the tech playing field among all schools. Along with letting the federal government know how ready a district is for various tech, the attached survey could also serve to determine how big of a grant is needed to get it there.
Though it has yet to be debated before the full Senate, the Every Child Achieves Act thus far seems to have something for everyone and may have the best chance yet of replacing 2002's outdated No Child Left Behind.