SIIA recently submitted its recommendations letter for the upcoming conference committee on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). A new ESEA is vital to our nation’s schools, students and educators, and this reauthorization has been many years in the making. SIIA commends both the Senate and House education committees who have worked diligently to move the reauthorization to this point – the closest in nearly a decade.
Digital literacy and technology are essential to enable both instructional and school improvement, as well as to engage and prepare students to compete in the knowledge-based, digital, global economy. SIIA views federal ESEA leadership for educational technologies and digital learning as critical to ensuring student academic preparedness and our national competitiveness.
The next ESEA should reflect these basic necessities by including strong supports for educational technology, including by:
- Maintaining the Senate bill’s Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizon’s (I-TECH) program to provide a separate, directed funding stream for improving education through technology and ensuring equitable access to technology and digital learning experiences.
- Ensuring evidence-based requirements do not limit innovation through unequal application of requirements as is done in the Senate bill.
- Providing teacher professional development to support digital literacy and effective data use to improve educational outcomes.
- Integrating educational technology broadly throughout ESEA’s programs and funding.
Technology in the classroom is no longer a luxury, and SIIA will work with the conference committee to ensure students and educators have the supports to fully integrate educational technologies to improve learning. SIIA's full letter on ESEA is available online here.