Paige Touts Technology, E-Learning on His No Child Left Behind Tour Across America
DENVER, Colo. — U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today highlighted the importance of harnessing the power of technology to expand access to learning and make sure no child in America is left behind. Paige discussed technology and e-learning at the No Child Left Behind Forum on E-Learning at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
“By harnessing technology, we can expand access to learning and close the achievement gap in America. And that’s the critical mission of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These new education reforms say loud and clear: One size does not fit all when it comes to educating our children. We must challenge the old ways. We must be innovative and creative in our thinking. We must do whatever it takes to help ensure that every child is educated.”
The forum brought together experts from business, government and education to discuss how the Internet and information technology can be used to increase student achievement. As part of the forum, Paige and the other participants saw presentations of e-learning in action from students at the Jeffco Net Academy and the Colorado Virtual Academy.
Paige said e-learning is a powerful option for parents and schools.
“A click of a mouse button provides any student anywhere with unprecedented opportunities to learn,” Paige said. “So if a child in Grand Junction wants to master Japanese, it’s possible online. If a budding artist in Five Points wants to study the masterpieces of the Louvre, it’s possible online. If a future Stephen Hawking in La Junta wants to study Gravitational Entrophy with the man himself, it’s possible online. If military parents want continuity in their children’s education throughout frequent moves to serve our country, then it’s possible online.”
Paige highlighted the many attributes of e-learning, including:
E-learning promotes local control by expanding opportunities — even in rural and urban areas with limited resources — to tap a vast reservoir of knowledge and expertise online. Schools can increase their repertoire of courses for students, provide professional development for teachers or share their talented staff with other districts.
E-Learning increases flexibility for schools and for students so even a living room can be a classroom. And a classroom can be an archeological dig.
E-Learning promotes individual instruction to meet the needs of each student.
E-Learning empowers parents to make choices that will help their sons and daughters get the best education possible.
“This is the 21st century. Ours is a world of 24-hour-news cycles, global markets and instant messaging. And our education delivery system should reflect the times we’re living in. Computers are becoming for our children what chalk was for our parents — an essential teaching tool,” Paige said. “And all of us — parents, educators and those of us in public life — should be thinking about how we can use e-learning to meet the president’s goal of no child left behind.”
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, more than $700 million is available to states and schools in 2002 through the Enhancing Education through Technology program, along with $2.25 billion through the E-rate initiative. In addition, under the flexibility provisions of the law, states and schools can use more of their federal funds to make better use of technology.
Under the law, which President Bush signed in January, states and school districts will develop strong systems of accountability based upon student performance. The new law also gives states and school districts increased local control and flexibility, removing federal red tape and bureaucracy and putting decision making in the hands of those at the local and state levels.
Beginning this fall, parents of children from disadvantaged backgrounds will have options under the new law to participate in public school choice programs or obtain supplemental services such as tutoring. And, teachers around the country will be encouraged to use teaching methods based upon scientific research that show they have been proven to work.
Paige kicked off his tour in Albuquerque, N.M., in April 2002 to educate parents, educators, community and business leaders and other stakeholders about the most sweeping change in education policy in three decades — and to ask for their help in strengthening our schools and leaving no child behind.
Earlier this week, Paige visited Louisville, Ky., as part of his tour. He also made two stops in Florida to enlist the support of a national sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and to promote reading programs for Florida’s children. Other stops on the tour will be announced later.
For more information about the new law and Secretary Paige’s tour, visit http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/.