[Library Media] Alliance for Excellent Education Launches Major Effort to Inform School District Leaders About Decisions Affecting the Future of Education

Juan Lee jtlee at utah.gov
Thu Nov 15 11:28:00 MST 2012


November 15, 2012


Jason Amos

(202) 828-0828

jamos at all4ed.org

*Alliance for Excellent Education Launches Major Effort to Inform School
District Leaders About Decisions Affecting the Future of Education*

“If you’re a school or district leader who is considering using education
technology and digital learning in your schools, STOP—and go no
further—until you have a comprehensive plan,” says Gov. Bob Wise.

Washington, DC – While the U.S. Congress must confront crucial economic
issues this month, every school, district, and state leader must make
critical decisions in the next two years involving digital learning that
will shape education for decades, according to a new report from the
Alliance for Excellent Education. The report, The Nation’s Schools Are
Stepping Up to Higher Standards, identifies four key challenges that public
school district leaders must systemically address in the next two years and
outlines the essential elements for developing a comprehensive digital

The report and the webinar accompanying its release are the first steps in
a major effort by the Alliance to help district leaders make smart,
far-reaching decisions about implementing education technology that support
teachers and improve student outcomes in K–12 public schools.

“As I travel across the United States talking to district leaders from
large urban city centers to the most rural areas of the country, I hear the
same thing: ‘We’ve come a long way, but we have so far to go in effectively
using technology to benefit student learning,’” said Bob Wise, president of
the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.
“If you’re a school or district leader who is considering using education
technology and digital learning in your schools, STOP—and go no
further—until you have a comprehensive plan that addresses your district’s
specific challenges and learning goals for all students.”

The four key challenges identified in the report that all school district
leaders need to face include: (1) graduating all students college and
career ready; (2) managing shrinking budgets; (3) training and supporting
teachers; and (4) dealing with the growing technology needs of society and
individual students, especially low-income students and students of color
who are most at-risk of being left behind. By employing effective
educational strategies that link and improve the “three Ts”—teaching,
technology, and use of time—district leaders can create the conditions for
whole-school reform and effective instruction, the report finds.

According to Wise and the Alliance, many school districts have already
stepped up to address these challenges by developing comprehensive plans
for digital learning strategies and will serve as examples to others in the
next two years, while other districts are in the process of implementing
aspects of digital learning. On the other hand, far too many districts have
yet to begin preparation.

“Whatever stage a district is in,” Wise said, “there is real value in
taking a self assessment to make sure your district’s technology strategies
meet its educational needs, including changing curriculum and instruction.”

The major force driving the need to change is the move by all states to
raise academic expectations by requiring students to graduate from high
school ready for college and a career. For forty-six states and the
District of Columbia, adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) also
requires using technology to prepare students for computer-administered
assessments in the 2014–15 school year.

If schools and districts adopt a comprehensive digital learning strategy,
the effective application of technology assists in the implementation of
the CCSS by supporting profound changes to teaching and learning.
Technology also plays a critical role guiding educational, administrative,
budgetary, and policy decisions by providing constant data about student
and school performance to educators, parents, students, and policymakers.

The Alliance, which will be partnering with national membership
organizations on this initiative, has identified a framework that will
provide education leaders in states and school districts with tools to make
good decisions about how technology aligns with the goals and vision for
their students. This growing effort, which includes access to a team of
experts, a self assessment tool, and other resources, will help districts
through a comprehensive planning process around seven interconnected areas
within the education system where technology and digital learning can
maximize the impact on student achievement:

   - academic supports;
   - budget and resources;
   - curriculum and instruction;
   - data systems and online assessments;
   - professional learning;
   - technology and infrastructure; and
   - use of time.

*On Thursday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. (ET), the Alliance will hold a free
webinar *featuring early digital learning adopters who will discuss the
need for states and school districts to develop plans that incorporate the
use of technology in school improvement efforts. State and district leaders
are encouraged to view and participate in this important webinar discussion
of the tools and resources district leaders will need to address
technology’s role in the successful implementation of the CCSS in K–12
public schools. Registration for the webinar is available at

“The next two years will see unprecedented developments in K–12 public
education as states set fundamentally higher-than-ever standards for
students of all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Wise. “Technology can play
a vital role in supporting teachers and helping public schools and
districts meet these challenges, but technology by itself is not the
answer; simply slapping a netbook on top of a textbook is not enough. But
when districts develop a plan to pair technology with effective teaching
and more efficient use of time, technology can accelerate the pace of
improvement and boost student outcomes.”

The complete report is available at


*The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national
policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal
policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and
graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and
citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the
Alliance for Excellent Education, please visi*t http://www.all4ed.org


Juan T. Lee, State Data Coordinator/Consultant
Utah State Library Division
250 N 1950 W Suite A
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-715-6769  |  800-662-9150
jtlee at utah.gov

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