National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)


Suggested Citation:"THE ROLE OFGOVERNMENT." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"THE ROLE OFGOVERNMENT." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 28

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Governments at 2000: Educate America Act, for example, is designed to lead the way in establishing “The main reasons the all levels will drive national education standards and provides President and the Vice grants to states and districts that imple- the reinvention of ment reform plans. In addition, the feder- President are so excited al government will influence the use of schools. The local level about information tech- technology in schools through the poli- is where reform will be im- nology is because they cies it adopts in developing the National plemented—classroom by class Information Infrastructure. believe it can fundamentally room, school by school, commu- Closely related to its policymaking role change the way we teach nity by community. Thorough reforms is the federal government’s regulation of ourselves and the way we cannot take root without a commitment telecommunications. The federal govern- at the local level. ment is now considering comprehensive teach our children.” The state level is where many reforms legislation that would reformulate telecom- — JACK GIBBONS, WHITE HOUSE will originate. Since the mid-1980s the munications regulations dating back to OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND governors have been leading the school the 1930s. These regulations, together with TECHNOLOGY POLICY reform movement, and many of the bold- those imposed by states, ensured universal est reforms are taking place on a statewide access to telephone service and widespread level. California is already teaching science public access to other forms of media. The to many of its middle school students using federal government and states now face multimedia systems. In Texas, teachers can the much greater challenge of ensuring get unlimited access to the Internet and access in a telecommunications system char- to local educational networks through the acterized by fierce competition among Texas Educational Network. companies and technologies and by con- The federal government, though it stant change. provides only 6 percent of the funding The government can have an impor- for K-12 education, will also play a critical tant influence on information technologies role. Through programs like the State- through its demonstrations of new capa- wide Systemic Initiatives supported by the bilities. In making its own vast stores of National Science Foundation, the federal information available electronically, for government can catalyze reform at the state example, the government can highlight the and local level. Also, through its policy- scope of information technologies, help making functions, the federal government Jack Gibbons helps set the educational agenda. The Goals THE ROLE OF 28 GOVERNMENT Roy Romer, Governor of Colorado, addresses the convocation through a satellite link. Bill Blakemore of ABC-TV, at the podi- “Technology is a tool which, if um, served as the con- properly applied, can help vocation’s interlocutor. transform our educational system so that our students can lead the world in math and science achievement rather than watching TV.” —E. BENJAMIN NELSON , GOVERNOR OF NEBRASKA

T he federal system of establish markets for new technologies, and can use new cognitive findings to further government in the shape standards that will allow different education. systems to communicate. Beyond research and development, United States creates a The government’s traditional sup- the federal government develops educa- shared responsibility for port for research and development tional technologies for its own purposes. the management of the will also influence education- The Department of Defense, al technology. Government- for example, spends hun- Nation’s schools. Great- “I have always believed supported work on advanced dreds of millions of dollars est responsibility for that no matter what the hardware, educational soft- each year developing train- education is vested at ware, networks, experimen- ing software and systems for technology, if we don’t tal testbeds, demonstration the armed services, much of the local level. Local leaders have a basic respect for projects, and other pioneer- which could be adapted for of education reform must learning and some sense ing endeavors can lead to public education. ensure that their school sys- both new kinds of devices Education has tradition- of why it is important to and new ways of using those ally been a local concern in tems adapt to change and us as a society, we cannot devices. The federal govern- the United States. But U.S. demand access to the tech- accomplish much.” ment also sponsors much of schools are now being chal- —NANCY KASSEBAUM , nologies they need for edu- the research into cognitive lenged by forces that are processes and how schools global in scope: changes in U.S. S ENATOR cational reform. national economies, changes In recent years leaders of in worldwide technologies, government at the state changes in culture and in the nature of societies. level have been a crucible for The reinvention of schools must occur educational reform and the at a local level. But institutions and indi- early applications of tech- viduals at all levels must begin working together to make change happen. The nology to connect services, nation cannot wait for the next generation libraries, universities, and of hardware, for the software now on the schools into networks. States drawing boards, or for the next generation of teachers. The tools are available. The will continue to lead in the time to act is now. use of technology in schools just as they do in educa- “Schools are ready to use tional reform. technology, but what they The federal government need are resources. They establishes national policy need to be freed of regula- through legislation, regulates tions. They need to have telecommunications, supports incentives. They need to research and demonstrates have support to make the technology useful to edu- kinds of changes that people cation, sponsors research on think are important.” learning itself and has vast —LINDA ROBERTS, DEPARTMENT information holdings impor- OF E DUCATION tant in education. All levels and functions of government must be brought together to make Though the federal gov- change happen in the 6% Federal ernment provides only 6 percent of the fund- nation’s schools. ing for public K-12 edu- cation, it plays a major role in precollege edu- 44% Local cation through its poli- 50% State cymaking, regulatory, and research and development activities. SOURCES FOR FUNDING FOR K-12 EDUCATION

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Today's children have grown up immersed in a world of computers and other information technologies. They play video games; they listen to music on digital compact disks; they help their families program the computerized controls of videocassette players. With all of the exciting innovations in computer technology, children have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving home. Schools by comparison can seem dull.

Education reformers have been developing new approaches for improving the way in which children learn and interact in the classroom. They now must consider the "technology gap" that exists between the technologically rich experiences children have outside the classroom and the comparatively low-tech, in-school environment. The aim is not just to outfit more classrooms with computers. Schools should be changed so that they encompass and guide out-of-school activities that already embrace technology.

Not only is this vision possible, it also is feasible, according to Reinventing Schools. This document, available only as an on-line publication, is based on a meeting at which hundreds of leaders -from government, education, and the entertainment and information technology industries-developed strategies for reinvigorating the K-12 educational process by integrating the school experience with the information technology that has captured children's imaginations.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Academy Industry Program of the National Research Council, Coca-Cola Endowment Fund of the National Research Council, and Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

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