Policymakers throughout all educational levels are wrestling with the cold, hard fact that the first financing of new equipment and applications is the tip of the financing iceberg. In the ’80s we called this the “hidden costs.” In the’90s we had been so excited about all of the new gadgets that we forgot to be worried about anything else. In the new century, we’re wondering how we can manage to maintain the tools our administrators, teachers, parents, and pupils are finally putting to good use.
As the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) countries in their Total Cost of Ownership white paper, “While many private and government programs offer the way of getting the much-needed technology for universities, there are few provisions for the required ongoing support of those technologies. School districts, having installed a lot of the technology necessary for the classroom, community, and administrative communications functions, are quickly becoming aware of the service issues and will need to budget for the ongoing support costs.” These currencies are often the last priority of any school thing.
With the revolving threat of federal funding elimination for E-Rate and EETT (Enhancing Education Through Technology) funds, districts must find their own reliable and continuing funding sources, and state and national leadership would be wise to help compute and take under account the total cost of ownership. Seeing the big picture is a must.
General Budget Technology Funding
To compound the funding dilemma, many education leaders have yet to understand that technology is no longer another entity. Technology usage is an everyday occurrence in every school in every district, at one level or another. Unfortunately, many education policy leaders haven’t revised their overall budgets to support the proven ways technology boosts the work and goals of the local education agencies (LEAs). Leaders who believe technology a”black hole” (as one administrator once told me) are burying their heads in the sand and must be made aware or trained. Look for Chitta site and get a free quote today.
People who set the general fund budget ought to be informed of their successes from districts that have recreated education budgeting and work practices. These districts take advantage of technology to increase business efficiency and advance student learning, thus saving money and educating students while helping meet No Child Left Behind mandates:
Among the most powerful organizations of high performing school districts west of the Mississippi River is the Western States Benchmarking Consortium. These districts always score above the standard on tests, have high graduation rates, and have lower dropout rates in comparison with similar and dissimilar demographics. All these school districts were early adopters of technology and have used it to encourage teachers, pupils, and their business groups. Check out our business ideas for more information.
Assistant Superintendent John Q. Porter of Montgomery County Public Schools, an outstanding school district on the East Coast, said in the June issue of District Administration magazine, “Our enemy is time, and technology is the only way [to fight that]. Nonetheless, some do not understand the significance of technology because they fear it. One of the first things you realize in technology is that technology is a shift; individuals who fail in creating systems do not understand the dynamics of change.”
Two decades back, the Poway Unified School District will employ 32 new teachers. The technology department used its data warehousing tool to reveal district leaders that they had only 25 teachers. The direction followed their advice rather than following old tendencies, and their estimation proved right. The district saved roughly $350,000 in wages — more than the total cost of the data warehouse setup.
Student evaluations have changed. Trish Williams and Michael Kirst, in their essay”School Practices that Matter” (Leadership Magazine, March/April 2006), state high performing districts must have assessments that align with state standards and can rapidly inform teachers of outcomes. Online assessments give policymakers an option of how to properly assess students to encourage learning, with 24 hours or faster result reporting. This should be a frequent practice to support the pupils and meet NCLB mandates.
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All budgets, despite department or project, must be completely reviewed to determine how technology can support and create the end product more effective. Furthermore, policy leaders should continue to investigate what new inventions will be appearing in the not too distant future and examine how these new tools will influence education programs within their regional education agencies. We all must be in a continual learning mode and work together to imagine how we can help put students on a course to continual academic expansion. The following are a few steps to begin down the path toward correctly using general funds for the aid of technology.