Heather Wolpert-Gawron

How to be an Ed Tech Advocate

By on March 7, 2009

OK, guys.  So I got it from the horse’s mouth at CUE.  According to the ISTE Director of Governmental Affairs, No Child Left Behind is not going away.  

In the weeks leading up to the election, the Obama administration talked the talk, proving that Educational Technology was on their radar, but if you’ve been listening, the silence on Ed Tech has since become deafening.  

You know when you own a house and the pipes are old and they start to break down and rust?  You’d invest in copper pipes, right?  Well Ed Tech is the copper pipes of education.  It might take money to invest in the future of the home, but it’s what you have to do if you’re looking towards the future, years down the line, if you want your home to have some value and to be able to compete in a future real estate market.  OK, so the metaphor went a little haywire, but you get the idea.

Just to give you a little background: the EETT (Enhancing Education Through Technology) Program dictated that a fraction of the education monies from Washington were to go specifically for Educational Technology. 

But in a world of words like “billions” and “trillions,”  EETT could only boast millions.  In fact, 2004 saw only $692 million dedicated to Ed Tech.  Under the Bush administration, that number was bled down to $276 million as of 2008.  

But this bloodletting of our students’ futures led to many grassroots battles from the classroom trenches.  And as a result, the new recovery package for 2010 is slated to bring the EETT back up $650 million.

Don’t celebrate.  Sure it is double of what it had become, but we shouldn’t cheer for having brought it back up to only INadequate levels.  

If you believe that technology integration must be included in the future of education, you can no longer “just be a teacher.”  You are now a member of a special interest group.  And that group must become more powerful, using our abilities (and, incidentally, the standards) to write persuasively, blog honestly, petition relentlessly, and not give in to those who believe Educational Technology is a fad or a ineffective strategy towards student achievement.

So here’s an easy method of lobbying that I just learned about:

1. Go to the EdTechActionNetwork website by clicking here.  

2. Type in your zip code and a list of your local or state representatives will appear.  

3. Scroll down where it says, “Take Action” and sign the letter.  Better yet, change the subject line or any of the text that you choose to personalize your letter.  

4. Select whether you want it sent via email or snail mail and submit.  

5. OR, you can click on my new widget in my sidebar.

ETAN takes care of the rest.  All you’ve done is made sure that your opinion is being counted.  Join and you’ll be sent an email reminder of different issues that come up as they arise in Washington.  

Help inundate the representatives who work for us with your opinions, bringing Ed Tech from the bottom of the priority list to the top.  They may not read them, but they are counted.  Our representatives want to make their constituents happy.  Show them just how unhappy some web-surfin’-teachers can be.  Politicians speak the language of the numbers of complaints.  Let your opinion be counted.

I’m on fire, guys.  And you should be too.


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