Miller, Wise Call for National Education Technology Plan

Technology has changed every facet of our everyday life, it seems — except education. According to US Representative George Miller (D – CA) and former governor of West Virginia Bob Wise, American schools remain at least ten years behind when it comes to future-proofing themselves, and it is vital that the education system takes steps to catch up before it gets left behind both economically and academically.

Although the world we live in is quite different from the one that existed 100 years ago, the schools have changed very little in that time according to Miller and Wise. To jump-start change, Miller and Wise, writing in Politico, call for the creation of a meaningful national approach to education technology. The promise of the digital future must be harnessed now to deliver improved and customized learning environment to every student regardless of skill and for a lower price, they say.

Ensuring the opportunity for all children, no matter their background, to access a good public education is a moral and economic imperative. By 2018, two-thirds of all U.S. jobs will require post-secondary education degrees or certificates, and projections show that America will be 3 million degrees short. But there remains a persistent achievement gap among our nation’s children. The United States has yet to realize the vision of an effective and equitable system of public education for all children. Children of color are still being left behind. Too many urban and rural school districts are woefully underfunded and have to deal with their own unique hurdles to educate their students.

The best place to start is to address the gaps that exist between the quality of education available to the most wealthy and well-positioned of our students and the ones who come from low-income families. According to Miller and Wise, the number of low-income families is growing in the United States and providing their children with quality education would be the best way to ensure that they don’t get stuck in cycle of poverty.

In Congress, the “Transforming Education through Technology Act,” introduced earlier this year, presents a critical step forward in meeting our federal obligations. This bill would update and modernize learning systems by supporting teachers and principals in the use of new technology to redesign curricula, incorporate technology into classrooms and provide assistance with real-time data and assessments. The bill also would seed the creation or expansion of new technologies that have the potential to transform teaching and learning the way the Internet, GPS and robotics have transformed commerce, travel and the way we live our daily lives.