90116 Federal Stimulus $ Draft

I made a number of calls Thursday to eLearning’s fabulous four (Consortium for School Networking – CoSN; International Society for Technology in Education – ISTE; Software & Information Industry Association – SIIA; State Educational Technology Directors Association –  SETDA ). They have been advising the Obama transition team as well as working congress. Mary Ann Wolf Executive Director of SETDA set me some breaking results from appropriations.house.gov on the Summary of American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill including Education for the 21st Century.

The following summary and plan of use assumes Arizona will receive approximately => 2% based on population. Arizona has approximately 1,000,000 out of the nations 50,000,000 students and special education serves approximately 10% of our students. The recommendations for use is based on eSATS and planning of others based on a statewide eLearning systems design. This design has as its nexus the teacher-student in the classroom and both physical and intellectual statewide supporting infrastructure.

It is bit complex to tease eLearning out of the many funding categories in the Summary, but here goes.

21st Century Classrooms

$14 B => $280 million for school construction including technology upgrades. Assuming $50 million for computers in the classroom at $500 per unit, 100,000 or 10% of Arizona 1 to 1 students to computer classroom needs could be satisfied. I would recommend that all these computers are used to create 2 to 1 classrooms that can later be upgraded to 1 to 1. When the 20% of the classrooms in Arizona are transformed into eLearning effective classrooms the tipping point for disruptive innovation will have been crossed.

$1 billion => $20 million for educational technology which gets back to prior years level of federal support. It includes computer and science labs and teacher technology training. Assuming that Arizona continues to move away from the ineffective computer lab model and uses school construction funding for computers then $5 million for science labs and $15 million for teacher professional development in use of eLearning could result. The 20% of teachers who are most eLearning savvy and are assigned the 2:1 classrooms will receive the $15 million in professional development. These 10,000 teachers would move from the current $100 per year professional development funding to $1500 over two years to transform their practice while in a rich eLearning environment. Schools in Arizona would have an average of 8 mentor-master eLearning teachers that will be the heart of full transformation to eLearning over the next eight years.

Higher Education

$16 billion => $320 million to support students with grants and loans should be aggressively promoted to enhance the quality and number of STEM and K-12 educator graduates of Arizona’s colleges and universities.

K-12 Education

$13 billion => $260 million for IDEA Special Education. With about 100,000 Arizona students served with a wide range of special education programs the average is $2600 per student. Many eLearning solutions are of critical benefit to special education.

$13 billion => $260 million for Title I for disadvantaged kids. I am not sure of the number of Title I students but assuming 20% then there is $1250 per student. For a classroom of 25 this $25,000 could provide a computer for every student, teacher professional development, full digital curriculum, teacher eLearning equipment and software for three years.

These Title I eLearning based 1:1 classrooms and 2:1 classrooms from the 21st Century School funding and Special Education eLearning could put Arizona approaching the 50% eLearning mark  within the next couple of years.

$250 million => $5 million Statewide Data Systems. Three years ago our legislature appropriated $2.5 million and garnered a $6 million federal grant for the Arizona Department of Education data warehouse and student information system. This system will be operational at the state level by the end of 2009. Another three years and $10 million are needed to support school district to classroom use of this decision support system. To achieve full potential eLearning students and teachers must have formative assessment data systems that provide real time coaching to both.

$300 million => $6 million for incentives for high performing teaching and administration and to address teacher shortages and modernized teaching work force. With $30 per teacher this is a drop in the bucket where $3000 per teacher is needed.

Transform our Economy with Science and Technology

$6 billion => $60 million to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural (what about schools! Ted the eD) and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy. The Arizona Telecommunications and Innovation Council, Government Information and Telecommunications Agency, Arizona Department of Education and Arizona Technology Council and many others have been working this issue for two decades. A $60 bump in funding would have a huge effect and set a number of well developed plans rolling. It may cost twice or three times as much in the long run but the private sector will be a significant player with this level of stimulus.


We at eSATS now need to align this draft data with the eSATS design needs and potential sources including state funding and resource provider organizations. The our legislative and governance leaders working on the budget need to factor in federal sources of funds.

Looks the light at the end of the tunnel may not be another train approaching on our track.


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