Luis E. Baco-Sanchez, attorney from McDermott, Will & Emery law firm in Washington D.C.,  wrote the following letter regarding the use of the education technology appropriations for Super Teaching.

The EdTech funding announcement made by Secretary Paige is consistent with the language providing the education technology appropriations for FY 2002. The Education Appropriations Conference Report (Report No. 107-342) of December 19, 2001 provided as follows:

“Education Technology”

The conference agreement includes $700,500,000 for education technology state grants, instead of $1,000,000,000 as proposed by the House and $712,146,000 as proposed by the Senate. The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act consolidates several technology programs (including the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and Local Innovation Challenge Grants) into a State-based technology grant program that sends more money to schools. In doing so, it will facilitate comprehensive and integrated education technology strategies that target the specific needs of individual schools. Uses of funds include: (1) promoting innovative State and local initiatives using technology to increase academic achievement; (2) increasing access to technology, especially for high-need schools; and (3) improving and expanding teacher professional development technology.”

States are now able to apply for grants under this program, and the funding will be allocated to each state once its application is approved by the Department of Education (except for a $150,000 allocation per state which will be awarded immediately). Generally, the state’s application must include the following:

  • Goals for using advanced technology to improve student academic achievement, and how those goals are aligned with challenging state academic standards.* The long-term strategies for improving student academic achievement, through the effective use of technology in classrooms.
  • How the state will ensure that technology will be fully integrated into the curricula and instruction of the schools by December 31, 2006.
  • How the states address teacher preparation, professional development, and curriculum development to ensure that teachers and principals in the state are technologically literate.
  • The strategies the state will use to encourage the use of distance learning for the rigorous academic courses.
  • The steps the state will take to ensure that all students and teachers, particularly those in high-need schools, have increased access to technology.

Lastly, a state may use up to five percent of its allotment for state-level activities, and distribute the remainder of the funds on a formula or competitive basis to school districts or other eligible local organizations that have submitted applications.

Super Teaching is clearly consistent with the goals of the EdTech Program, which are to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary schools and secondary schools; assist students in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that they are technologically literate by the time they finish the eighth grade; and ensure that teachers are able to integrate technology into the curriculum to improve student achievement. A lot of emphasis is also given to the use of distance learning for the most rigorous academic courses.

States will have great flexibility in how to use their Federal EdTech allocations.

Respectfully Submitted,

Luis E. Baco-Sanchez
McDermott, Will & Emery
600 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-3096
Tel. 202-756-8095
Fax 202-756-8269