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There is a program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that was later amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act; it is called the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program. All state education agencies are able to apply for this grant, and it has the ability to help fund educational technology. It has a goal “To improve student’s academic achievement by increasing the capacity of States, local educational agencies, schools and local communities to: (1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; (2) improve school conditions for student learning; and (3) improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy for all students”.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides that a free and adequate public education is given to all families with disabled students. Specifically, the act states one of its purposes as,“to ensure that educators and parents have the necessary tools to improve educational results for children with disabilities by supporting system improvement activities; coordinated research and personnel preparation; coordinated technical assistance, dissemination, and support; and technology development and media services”.
With that being said, money that funds the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act could also be used to fund educational technology as students with disabilities are not exempt from the issue. Technology in education will ease the lives of students with disabilities after they have mastered how to use the devices. This act also provides for teachers who have been equipped with the knowledge of how to use the devices and abilities to teach students how to utilize them as well.
It states the ways technology could be used in education such as the following: communicating with parents, connecting with STEM professionals, providing mobile and assistive technology devices, along with providing devices that aid English as a Second Language (ESL) students in mastering English (cite).
There are a multitude of grants available to fund technology in schools. The grants must be applied to by the individual school or their district; however, they specifically provide money for technology in schools that need it. School districts are also allocated money to maintain the schools and their contents. The issue with that lies within the fact that sometimes schools have to prioritize things such as building maintenance before technology, and the fact that they have to choose between two necessities is another reason the gap is made bigger.
Schools are locally funded by property taxes paid by citizens in their city; however, this creates a cyclical issue. Locally funded schools in lower-income areas get less money because their property value isn’t high, and due to this the schools suffer. The conditions of schools have a correlation between the people and communities they serve. States should slowly begin to build their communities to become better not only for students, but for families as well. Doing this will not only contribute to better education, but lower crime rates as well. The areas in which these schools are built can greatly impact the quality of their education and for that reason we need to make sure that the communities are well taken care of too.
There is a billion dollar school lawsuit against the state of Arizona. A school system is suing because of decades of spending cuts that equal over $2 billion. The money would’ve been used for textbooks, buses, building maintenance, and technology. Governor Doug Ducey started his job in 2015, and walked into it with this lawsuit hanging over him. The schools claim that not enough money was given to them after the recession to cover inflation costs, which was required by voter-approved legislation. An Arizona judge ordered the state to pay upwards of $1.6 billion dollars over 5 years, and schools requested $1.3 billion in extra to cover inflation costs. Voters approved plan that will add $3.5 billion to education over next 10 years.
In his State of the State Address, he discusses the funding issue by presenting a plan that would bring $96.6 million for the Arizona schools. He presents a 0.4% raise for teachers and a one thousand dollar bonuses for those who sign contracts with low income schools, and $10 million full-day kindergarten programs for said low-income schools (Rau, 2017). He then discusses almost $40 million in additional spending for schools that are doing well academically; however, he is worried that the state will be ordered to pay money that is not able to be obtained immediately, and refuses to raise taxes to cover these costs. This is a plan that would happen gradually, but may be delayed by the current pending lawsuit.
Tim Hogan, the lawyer who successfully represented the schools in their first law suit, is preparing to do it again. He is defending the claim that the state legislature has been taking hundreds of millions of dollars away from Arizona schools districts. This money was to be used to buy new technology for students and update building infrastructure. Some school buildings have deteriorated to the point of needing to shut down and relocate their students; approximately 1,500 students have been moved. 'The situation just keeps getting worse and worse without school districts having capital funds to address deteriorating facilities and equipment,' Hogan said. (cite?) Districts have had to go to lengths such as requesting for voters to pass bonds that inherently require these districts to pay for things the state should be covering. There are some schools that have almost no source of income, and therefore don’t have the means to obtain bonds to get what they need.
The North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA) is suing 14 state officers. In a decision from 2008, the state was to pay NCSBA $747,833,074 to update technology in schools. The NCBSA was only given $18,133,251, which is 2.5% of the total, and they’re looking to extend the date in order to get all the money they need. The plaintiffs are also willing to work to create a payment plan. “As a state, we have two choices: Invest in technology and have our students compete with the best and the brightest on a level playing field, or stick with the status quo and have our students potentially watching from the sidelines,” Minnie Forte-Brown, president of NCSBA, said. The use of technology is becoming a necessity, and they currently do not have the means to keep up with the rest of the country. 20 out of 21 of the computers at George Watts’ High School are at least ten years old, and compared to typewriters by teachers employed in the high school. Democrats went against their promise to fund education in the past, and cut education spending by over $700 million in two years (cite).
In the 2008 decision the North Carolina courts found that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Transportation, Revenue and Commerce, Environmental Quality, Employment Security Commission and the University of North Carolina system were given money through fines and penalties paid by third parties (cite). This money was required to be given to the public schools to pay for a technology update and was instead kept for at least 10 years by these systems and departments. Over 20 schools joined together to refile a lawsuit as this decision was about to expire. There is $729.7 million that has yet to be given to the schools, and teachers and administrators are worried. As surrounding states and districts are moving forward technologically, they wish to do the same; however, they cannot compete if their budgets cannot compare (cite).
Students all over the country are heavily dependent on technology to complete schoolwork and advance skills they may not be able to fully develop within the classroom. When certain cities or districts are left behind due to the lack of money to update, it creates a technological ability gap called The Digital Divide. “The ratio of computers to students is absurd,” said English teacher Andrew Flaherty, a veteran educator who reports that many of his students cannot afford computers at home and don’t get enough time to use them at school. As a result, Bronzeville Scholastic students born into a digital era struggle with basic skills, such as saving work to a flash drive and setting margins in Microsoft Word (cite).
When technology was put in education, people thought it would close the gap between the rich and the poor by giving the less fortunate a way to access information; however, technology in education has actually made the gap worse (cite). In developed countries, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has increased drastically. In the developing world most communities don't have materials for proper traditional education, let alone internet access. Due to the increasing gap and students being left behind, people are urging to find solutions. The biggest solution is government policies that would be created to close the divide by making sure that lack of internet access doesn't set students back. If students are set too far back, there would be major societal consequences (cite). These policies should project ways to positively use technology and address the fact that cultures need to invest in providing families with low socioeconomic status with technologies. It should walk parents through strategies to teach their children to use educational technology in a productive and positive manner.
Not having technology for students essentially creates a loop of being stuck in that same place when they get older (Roberts, n.d.), as they did not learn how to use it when they were younger. Thus bringing down their chances of being able to compete with the millions of people who did learn and comprehend those abilities when it is time to apply to college. Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence says,
In education, we talk often about the need for our students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they will need to be successful in the world today. Clearly, many of those skills involve using technology. Whether that’s collaborating, problem solving, researching, creating new knowledge, publishing and sharing what they’ve learned—whatever it is that we think our students need to do, very often technology becomes the tool for that in the world outside of school. Think about it this way, how many people do you know who haven’t used technology just today to solve a problem? To communicate with someone else? To share an idea? So if that is the expectation when our students enter the workplace, then we need to think deeply about how to allow our students to experience that kind of work in a learning environment. We need to ask students to do the same things that will be expected of them when they get into college or the workplace (cite).
Those with lower education are not as likely to have technology in their homes, or move out of the area where technology in education isn’t adequate. Then there are kids who are stuck in the same cycle as their parents, and it is hard to break cycles. Part of the problem is not only that students are not receiving the technology they need, but they are not receiving the training needed to utilize what little technology they do have because the students from high poverty areas are being taught by teachers, likely from the same environment, who also were never trained on how to use technology (Herold, 2018). Our educators are the backbone of the education system. If we are lacking in some place, we need to make sure our educators are doing everything necessary before digging deeper into the issue.
It needs to be understood that as times are changing, our society needs to change with it in all aspects. Our society depends so heavily on technology, and incorporating it into education would be no different. Technology makes education convenient. You can learn from anywhere, submit an assignment from anywhere, and talk to your educators from anywhere. However, if everyone does not have that same access to our educational technology, they are being put at a disadvantage. The use of technology doesn't halt as soon as you receive your high school diploma, it is a part of everyday life and it is necessary in your adult life.
Jobs look for people who are technologically advanced and colleges look for those who can use simple programs like Microsoft Word. We know and understand the requirements of getting a job or going to college, but unless it affects us, we do not think about those who do not understand or do not meet the requirements. There is a major disconnect between knowing that there is a problem and fixing the problem known to exist. There is legislation, there are resources, and it is time to use them. With the major role technology plays at this point in time, not having it hinders success more than the public may think it does.
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