Governor Foster Proclaims January 27 - February 2, 2002 Louisiana Educational Technology Week

Contacts

Governor Foster declared the week of January 27 – February 2, 2002, as Louisiana Educational Technology Week.  The Governor’s proclamation provides a unique opportunity to call needed attention to the important role of instructional technology in Louisiana’s classrooms.

“Technology is a necessary tool in society and in commerce,” said State Superintendent of Education Cecil J. Picard.  “Technology is a necessary tool for teaching and learning.  It builds the fourth basic skill so needed in today’s world – information literacy.”

Five years ago a major education focus was the implementation of technology in school classrooms.  Funding was provided by the legislature through the Classroom Based Technology Fund.  Sabine Parish School District received $174,313 in 1997-98, $121,906 in 1998-99, $82,879, $12,385 in 2000-01 and $0 this year.

We urge educators, parents, and business community to contact and request legislators reinstate adequate funding for the Classroom Based Technology Fund (CBTF).  While Accountability, teacher pay, and K-3 initiatives are critical needs, districts no longer receive state funds for technology.  School Districts lack revenue sources to support the addition of new computers and network equipment, maintain and upgrade existing equipment, recurring cost and funds to provide much needed technology training for staff.  CBTF was implemented by the state in 1997-98 and provided the stimulus for placing computers in classrooms, training teachers, and building networks. Many of the computers funded through CBTF are now obsolete. 

Grants, Erate, and funding through federal programs have allowed the district to sustain status quo, but, without state support districts will see education technology digress.  The 2001 legislative session funded higher education with more than 28 million dollars for technology and none for K-12.

Sabine Parish School District

·         Sabine is recognized as a state technology leader; providing access and support for students and teachers to vast resources, equipment, and training.  

·         All staff must pass the Technology Proficiency Assessment to receive a network account.  A network account provides access to network resources – Internet, email, Teacher Intranet, virtual drive, and dialup privileges.

·         The Sabine District Web is recognized across Louisiana and the U.S.  The district web is accessed more than 2000 times a day.

·         Sabine was the first district to offer students online courses.  There are more than 55 students currently enrolled in virtual high school classes.  The district has begun to develop online training and classes for teacher technology training and professional development.

·         FACTS – 92% of Sabine classrooms have Internet access; more than 1100 classroom computers; 4:1 ratio of student to computer (state is 7.4:1)

·         State and federal unfunded mandates for supporting district technology include:  Internet filtering, virus protection, maintenance, obsolescence, training, network equipment, recurring dedicated line cost, and cost of Internet Service Provider.

“The role of instructional technology has become ever more important in Louisiana and throughout the nation as Internet access, multimedia resources, and distance learning play integral roles in the process of teaching and learning,” Picard continued. “Significant improvement has been made during the past five years in student-to-computer ratio and in Internet access in classrooms throughout Louisiana. Even with these major improvements, about one-third of all Louisiana classrooms do not have Internet access, and many of the two-thirds of Louisiana classrooms with Internet access have only one computer for all students.”  All classrooms need a sufficient number of computers with multimedia capability and Internet access to provide for effective integration of technology to support student learning, according to Picard. Computers are needed to allow students and teachers to make full use of technology-based materials that accompany textbooks.

Technology is also needed to support distance-learning opportunities that provide students with access to courses not offered at their schools but required by the TOPS scholarship program, and to provide courses for uncertified teachers. 

“Without continued funding, we will lose the ground we have gained,” said Paul Pastorek, president of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). “The student-to-computer ratio will worsen as aging computers cannot be replaced.  Sustained funding is needed to allow for proper planning in order to accomplish the goals and objectives of the state and district plans.”

Recommendation for Maintaining and Building our Classroom Technology Investment

Provide sustained funding for instructional technology at a level of $25 million per year for a minimum of 5 years.

Historical Perspective on Statewide Technology Funding

1997-98: $38.1 million   1998-99: $25million            1999-2000: $14 million   2000-2001: $2.5 million  2001-2002: $0

Accomplishments

·         Significant improvement in student to computer ratio – from 88:1 to 7.4: 1

·         Significant progress in wiring and networking – 94% of schools have internet access at the building level; 66% of classrooms have internet access

·         Development and implementation of staff development initiatives that have garnered national recognition – Louisiana INTECH, LEADTech, Making Connections

·         Leveraging of over $122.4 million in federal e-rate funds

Rationale for Funding Recommendation 

·                   Funding is needed to maintain momentum, complete the job that was begun, and provide for emerging needs – we will lose ground if funding is not available

·         Sustained funding is needed to allow for appropriate planning

·         Technology is needed to provide every child with a student-centered classroom where instruction is delivered according to the students’ needs

·         Technology is an integral part of our society and commerce and, as such, must be recognized as an integral and necessary part of teaching and learning

·         Technology addresses the fourth BASIC SKILL: Information Literacy

With technology, teachers can provide students with multiple representations of information/content.

With technology, students are provided with multiple and flexible means of expression.

Technology provides multiple or modifiable means of motivating and engaging students.

·         Technology supports the new teacher assistance and assessment program requirement that teachers demonstrate competency in the integration of technology in instruction in order to maintain certification;

·         Technology is needed to provide every teacher with access to current instructional resources and professional development.

Unfinished Business

·         Provide all instructional rooms with appropriate number of computers with access to internet resources

About 1/3 of current classrooms (15,000 rooms) have no internet access.

Of the 2/3 with internet access, most rooms have only one computer.

All classrooms (45,000+) need a sufficient number of computers to allow for the effective use of technology in the student learning process.

·         Provide technology that will support expanding distance learning needs

All Louisiana students with access to courses required for TOPS.

All instructors with courses to become certified.

·         Provide technology and software tools that support district and school leadership initiatives, as well as communication and training needs of all instructional staff

·         Provide technology that will allow all students and teachers to make full use of textbook materials that are technology-rich

Commitment

100% of all classroom-based technology funds to impact instructional rooms, facilitate school and district improvement efforts, and support student learning and achievement