Roybal-Allard presses for technology skills

Emphasizing the importance of using technology in the classroom to help students perform better in school, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34) introduced legislation this week in the U.S. House of Representatives to assist students who attend economically disadvantaged schools obtain critical technological skills."Technology skills are more critical than ever if America's children are going to compete in today's world economy," said Roybal-Allard, who serves on the appropriations subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, which has federal funding jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Education and federal education programs. "Whether students are preparing for college or planning to go straight into the workforce, we must provide them with the high tech skills employers increasingly demand to meet the challenges of the 21st Century." The congresswoman's legislation, titled the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act (HR 558), amends the current "Enhancing Education Through Technology" program in the No Child Left Behind Act, which is expected to be reauthorized by the U.S. House of Representatives in the near future. ATTAIN would better target federal education technology resources toward technology professional development and systemic reform initiatives in struggling schools. ATTAIN does this by providing federal funding to help schools that serve disadvantaged and low-income students purchase computers, software and other technology. The measure ensures teachers are properly trained to effectively teach the newest technology and puts in place standards to ensure all students are technologically literate by the 8th grade. The bill also requires that states provide guidance to districts on how to ensure that schools have access to the most up-to-date computers and software. Finally, the ATTAIN Act calls for research initiatives to determine the effectiveness of the new technology program at the state and national levels. "In this era of ever shrinking school budgets, overcrowded schools and overextended teachers, studies show technology can have a tremendous impact on student learning," Roybal-Allard said. "I am confident that the final passage of ATTAIN will help to ensure that our students who attend struggling schools will become more engaged, eager to learn, and ultimately better prepared to meet the challenges of today's high-tech and competitive, global workforce." Joining Congresswoman Roybal-Allard as original cosponsors of the ATTAIN Act are: Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Competitiveness, and Lifelong Learning; Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), and Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL). In recognition of the congresswoman's work to enhance the use of technology in the classroom and promote student achievement, the State Educational Technology Directors Association presented her with its prestigious Federal Policy Maker Award. In addition, the Computer Using Educators named Congresswoman Roybal-Allard its 2008 Legislator of the Year. ********** Published: January 23, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 40