EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
YOUTH AND FAMILIES
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN NEWARK, DELAWARE, APRIL 12, 1999
Serial No. 106-19
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education
and the Workforce
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS *
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MICHAEL CASTLE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC *
OPENING STATEMENT OF RANKING MEMBER DALE KILDEE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC *
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS CARPER, GOVERNOR, STATE OF DELAWARE; ACCOMPANIED BY IRIS METTS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, STATE OF DELAWARE, DOVER DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF DR. ORLANDO GEORGE, JR., PRESIDENT, DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE, DOVER, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF DR. WAYNE HARTSCHUH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DELAWARE CENTER ON EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, DOVER, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF MR. TOM SLOAN, STATE LIBRARIAN, DELAWARE DIVISION OF LIBRARIES, DOVER, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF DR. NICHOLAS FISCHER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CHRISTINA SCHOOL DISTRICT, NEWARK, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT SMITH, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, MILFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT, MILFORD, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF MS. SALLIE REISSMAN, TEACHER, LOMBARDY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES AMMANN, TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS SPECIALIST, CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, DOVER, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF MR. RODNEY RIVERA, FORMER STUDENT, GLASGOW HIGH SCHOOL, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, BEAR, DELAWARE *
STATEMENT OF MR. MARK SCHONBACH, STUDENT, THE CHARTER SCHOOL OF WILMINGTON, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE *
EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ELEMENTARY
AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT
MONDAY, APRIL 12, 1999
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
YOUTH AND FAMILIES,
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., Glasgow High School, 1901 S. College Avenue, Newark, Delaware, Hon. Michael N. Castle [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Castle and Kildee.
Staff Present: Mary Clagett, Professional Staff Member, and Alex Nock, Minority Staff Associate/Education.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MICHAEL CASTLE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC
Chairman Castle. Let me welcome everybody here and everybody who is on television hooked in at Newark and Christina High School to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families field hearings. This, by the way, is an official hearing of this Subcommittee. It is called a field hearing, and we are doing it here. The format, at least initially, is that I will speak first and then Mr. Kildee who, by the way, is a distinguished Congressman from the State of Michigan, who has come all the way to be here today.
We are on our way back to Washington. We are voting later this afternoon. We are going to talk about time limits in a minute here or two because of that. But Mr. Kildee has probably been as involved in education as anybody in the Congress in the United States over the last few decades, and does, I think, an exceptional job. He cares greatly about the kids, the educational system, and I am honored to have him here today and to join us at this session.
He told me this once, but I think he has the longest consecutive voting record without missing a vote in Congress. We don't want him to be late. I can be a little bit late in getting back to the Hill because mine is not quite as long as his.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to this morning's hearing. I do look forward to discussing an issue that is very important to all of us, which of course is the education of our children. We are specifically going to examine how technology can be used to expand educational opportunities and improve student achievement for all.
I would like to express my appreciation obviously to Mr. Kildee, which I have already done, because his service has really been tremendous in the interest of children. I would also like to thank the administration, teachers, and the students of Glasgow High School and the Christina School District for hosting this morning's hearing.
And next, obviously, I want to welcome our Governor, Tom Carper, and our distinguished witnesses who are here to provide us with testimony about how Delaware is incorporating technology into its educational reform efforts and into the classroom as we see here. It has been through Governor Carper's leadership that Delaware has become one of the first states in the Nation to wire all of its schools to the Internet and to put technology at the heart of the State's reform efforts.
We are the first State in the Union, so we are always talking about first state things here. You need to know that. I look forward to receiving your testimony, all of you, and learning more about innovative programs and strategies that will lead our schools into the next millennium.
This morning's hearing is one in a series of hearings that our Committee will hold in preparation for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better know as ESEA, and well-known to educators. We hope to come away from this morning's hearing with an understanding of how Delaware is using technology to improve education.
We also hope to take some recommendations back to Washington D.C. on how the Federal Government can better assist state and local communities that use technology in improving America's schools.
In recent years, funding for education technology programs has dramatically increased at the Federal level. In fact, Federal funding for education technology programs authorized under title III of ESEA alone has increased from $52.6 million dollars in fiscal year 1995 to $698 million in fiscal year 1999. However, as part of the growing support so many programs have sprung up that we are faced with a situation where there is little to no coordination among the programs at the Federal level.
This forces schools and administrators to waste hours of time and money, in some cases, to hire consultants to fill out applications for Federal education technology funds. The U.S. General Accounting Office, you might know it as GAO, has reported that there are over 27 Federal programs administered by five different Federal agencies, which provide funding for education technology to K through 12 schools and to libraries.
Federal assistance ranges from grants to states and local school districts for education technology authorized under ESEA, to tax incentives for corporate donations of computer technology for elementary and secondary education, to establishment of the E rate. The primary education technology programs that are under the jurisdiction of our Committee, however, are those authorized in Title III of ESEA, including one, the national challenge grants for technology and education, which are awarded on a competitive basis to consortia of school districts and other partners for activities such as integrating technology directly into curriculum and providing professional development for teachers.
Two, the technology literacy challenge fund, the major State grant program intended to connect all K through 12 programs in the United States to the Internet, provide teachers with training and support, provide teachers and students access to technology, and ensure that effective software and on-line resources will be available for use with the curriculum.
And three, Star Schools, a program that promotes distance learning projects linking teachers and students over large distances using telecommunications technologies such as satellites and fiber-optic networks. We must look beyond just the programs authorized under the technology title of ESEA in order to continue a successful integration of technology in the classroom.
We must find a way to consolidate or at the very least to allow states and local school districts to integrate the different funding streams that are available for technology in ways that allow for a truly coordinated and cohesive education technology effort. Support for education technology must lead to increased academic performance, not just the presence of new computers in the classroom or access to the Internet.
Recent studies have found that education technology has a positive impact on student achievement, but only when used by well-trained teachers. In fact, studies on the use of technology in the classroom stress the need for improved teacher training, the integration of technology into the education process, including curriculum development that effectively integrates technology, adequate access to technology, and careful planning.
While we are still in the process of determining what exactly we will do in the area of education technology as part of our consideration in the ESEA legislation in this Congress, you can expect technology will be a major focus of any reform. The question is, what is the best way to support successful technology efforts at the State and local level?
It is essential that any reforms in Federal education legislation get funding into the hands of local educators in the most efficient manner so that they can determine the priorities and needs of their students. I invite you to work with us in development of the legislation to reauthorize ESEA and, particularly, on that portion of the legislation dealing with education technology.
I look forward to your testimony. I know that it will be most helpful to all of us in our efforts, and now I will turn to Mr. Kildee for his opening statement.
WRITTEN OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MICHAEL CASTLE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC – SEE APPENDIX A
OPENING STATEMENT OF RANKING MEMBER DALE KILDEE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In real life I was a schoolteacher. So it is good to be back in a high school this morning. I am really pleased to join Chairman Castle in Delaware today at this hearing on education technology and its focus on our elementary and secondary programs.
As I am sure all of you know, Governor Castle took over the chairmanship of this Subcommittee several months ago, but he has quickly established himself as the true leader in search of bipartisan education reform. If we had more Mike Castles in the Congress, we could get a lot more. I also know we appreciate him on our side of the aisle. I know he is appreciated on the other side of the aisle.
It has been a pleasure to work with Chairman Castle. I look forward to our continuing work in this Congress. I also want to welcome my former colleague in the Congress of the United States and now governor of this great state, Governor Carper. You have been a very valuable friend of education, both in the Congress and as a governor of this great State.
Technology in our classroom and increasing access to all children, especially disadvantaged children, is an essential component in raising the educational achievement of our nation's students. A perfect example of technology's impact upon student achievement is evidenced by the recently issued long-term study of the West Virginia Basic Skills Computer Education program.
That study showed that technology was an important factor in helping students make significant gains in basic educational skills and to achieve high standards. And, importantly, the study found that West Virginia's technology program made its biggest impact on low-income and rural children who do not have computers at home. These disadvantaged students showed the largest gains in student achievement, and this study found that the education technology resources provided in schools was a major factor in accomplishing this feat.
Coupled with the needs to place technology in our classrooms is ensuring that teachers have the knowledge and skills to integrate technology into every day instruction and teaching.
When I was teaching, and when I was at the University of Michigan learning how to teach, which is a great school, I believe the level of technological sophistication we encountered was learning how to thread the projector and to change the ink in the mimeograph. Of course, that was a long time ago. However, I really think that our teacher training institutions have to be an integral part, an essential part, of making sure that technology in the schools works.
As Chairman Castle and I look at the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including title III programs and others that have a technology focus, I am interested in finding ways to better target technology to disadvantaged children and to coordinate existing ESEA programs to make them even more effective. Since we have such a distinguished panel of experts at today's hearing, I am interested in learning from your experiences and applying this knowledge to the work that our Subcommittee will do in Congress.
Again I thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing. I look forward to the testimony of all of our witnesses.
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much, Dale. We appreciate again your being here. We know it is difficult to move from state to state when you represent one part of a state, and your being here shows your belief and interest in education.
At this time I would like to introduce a good friend and a strong leader in the area of education, Governor Tom Carper, the Governor of Delaware.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, it has been through Governor Carper's leadership that Delaware has become one of the first states in the Nation to wire not only all of its schools but all its classrooms to the Internet.
Governor Carper has put technology at the heart of Delaware's education reform efforts, and in his role as Chairman of the National Governors' Association this year, he has chosen education, including the goal of harnessing technology and education, as a primary focus for the Nation's Governors.
The governor is accompanied this morning by Dr. Iris Metts, who is the Secretary of Education for the State of Delaware. We would like to welcome both of them. Now for just a couple of ground rules.
First of all, when you have a Governor here, there are no ground rules. He does whatever he wants. So don't go by what he does. But generally speaking, for the next two panels, we try to ask our witnesses to take no more than 5 minutes. So some of you may want to edit your comments. That may be an exception with Dr. Orlando George. Lonnie, I think, may take a little bit longer. He has a special presentation to make.
If you have any other particular concerns, I know Lonnie has to leave a little bit early, it would be helpful for us to know that as well. And I believe, Governor, that you are going to testify and Secretary Metts is not, but will be here to answer questions. We want to hear from her, however, before it is all said and done. However you want to run it is fine by us. We turn it over to you.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS CARPER, GOVERNOR, STATE OF DELAWARE; ACCOMPANIED BY IRIS METTS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, STATE OF DELAWARE, DOVER DELAWARE
Governor Carper. Thank you so much for giving Dr. Metts, myself, and others here the opportunity to provide some input to your Subcommittee's deliberations as you approach the reauthorization of the ESEA.
I just want to say to you, thank you for your leadership, not only of our State, but for the great job you are doing in Congress. We are proud of you and especially appreciative of your work on the educational front. To Dale Kildee, how long has it been since you missed a vote?
Mr. Kildee. The last vote I missed was in March of 1985. I was in the hospital then.
Governor Carper. I joined Congressman Kildee and the Congress in 1983, and that was a long time ago. He has gone longer without missing a vote than I served in the Congress. It was great to be with you then, and it is wonderful of you to be here today. We thank you for your presence and for your true stewardship over the years. Dr. Metts is here to answer the tough questions. This is a home game for her. She was the predecessor to Nick Fischer, who is out in the background, who is the Superintendent of this school district, Christina.
I am going to slip off in a little bit to go over to a school that is being accredited here today as a school for our juvenile delinquents, and it was a school that used to be a badge of shame for the State. It is now a badge of pride, and I want to be there in a little bit to accept that accreditation and to celebrate with them.
Let me say over the next several minutes, that first of all, we won a big lawsuit a couple of years ago. It was a lawsuit that was launched during Mike Castle's term as Governor, and it was one that we won early during my tenure, and one that the Congress and our Congressional delegation, Mike, Bill Rock, and Joe Biden fought very hard to preserve.
We won about $200 million in that lawsuit with New York State. We elected to take about $25, $30 million of it to use to wire all of our schools and to do the infrastructure work of 180 public schools. Legislation that I signed in 1993 in Delaware called for Bell Atlantic to take the Internet to, literally, the front door of a school and we used as part of our settlement with New York State, funds to go ahead and wire every single public school classroom in the State. That is about 6,000 classrooms.
We completed that work this past fall, and now we have not only Internet access to every school but to every public school classroom in our State. And I think as we look around the Country, you find a lot of states that are beginning to do that, and are moving toward developing the infrastructure which they see in part as a state responsibility that in some cases is shared with the local school districts. We have done that.
The second piece with that, the infrastructure work that we undertook, was to try to make sure there was something to plug into the walls, and we need computers that work, and hopefully pretty good computers. Congress and the President provided companies that donated a computer within no more than 2 years old a tax credit. That is very helpful in encouraging companies to donate computers. We will probably provide this month anywhere from 100 to 200 computers to schools throughout our state that have been donated, in some cases by companies and other cases by public entities like the State of Delaware. We have a terrific program and we use Americorps to train the vocational-tech high school students to rehab and upgrade the computers, so that they might be introduced into our schools.
We are going to take that a step further and take the same kind of training program into our prisons; we will be announcing something along those lines later this Spring. But the tax credit is actually quite helpful in getting the businesses to be willing to donate computers that are usable.
We have also provided, I think, an appropriation of about $13 million, for our school districts to use over the next couple of years to go along with their other monies that they have and that they get from the State to buy computers. So from those different sources, we feel that the wiring is done, a lot of computers have been purchased and a lot more are either being donated, upgraded, or purchased with the State and local share.
The third piece in our approach to technology is to try to make sure the teachers know how to use the technology. It is all well and good that the wiring is done, it is great we have the computer to plug into the wall, but if you don't have a teacher that is comfortable with using the technology, who knows how to use that technology in the classroom to make the learning come alive, and to be relevant to the students in the classroom, it is a waste of time and money.
A whole lot of folks in our State are working to try to make sure that the teachers are comfortable with using the technology. We have some school districts that have literally given every teacher their own computer. We have school districts that have trained every teacher on how to use their own computer on their desk in the classroom.
Del Tech, who is represented here today by President Lonnie George, will be speaking to this later. I am sure they provide terrific training to our teachers in all three counties, I believe now, to hundreds of teachers to enable them to become comfortable with the technology and the computers, and able to use them effectively in the classroom.
We are providing as a State about $300 to $350 this year in training for teachers that can be used, among other things, for education technology, and we are partnering with the folks like Delaware Technical and Community College as well as the school districts.
We talked about wiring the schools. We talked about having something to plug into the wires -- the computers. The third piece is training the teachers to use the stuff effectively.
The fourth piece is for us to try to make sure that the systems work. It is great that you have the wiring guns, it is terrific you have the computer that is there, and it is wonderful to have a teacher that knows how to use it. But if the stuff breaks, you need to have somebody to fix it and keep it working. Again, we are not using our money very effectively.
Some of our school districts have taken different approaches. I think one of the more innovative approaches is one that they are using down in the Milford School District, which is in the Southern part of our State. It is one of our smaller school districts, but they have gone out and actually purchased better computers, Dell computers.
They are one of the school districts that literally put a computer on every teacher's desk. They have trained the teachers to use them. They also have a maintenance contract that is part of their deal with Dell. When the computers go down, they can get somebody there lickity-split to fix them and get them working again. Different school districts are using different approaches, but that approach seems to me to make a lot of sense.
The last point I want to mention is a little initiative that is being tried in, I guess, about 15 schools around our State. They are mostly elementary schools, and it is one that is headed by an outfit called Lightspan, which is a technology consortium which you may have heard of. What they have done is work with schools, particularly with kids in schools that are trailing some of their own classmates who need a little bit of extra help, and they have gone into the homes of these kids and they have transformed, with technology, the the televisions within those homes to computers.
They have trained the parents of those children how to use the technology to be able to extend the school day for that kid, to reduce the amount of time the kid is watching junk on TV, be involved in the education of their child, and also to -- you find out when the kids go to bed at night oftentimes the parents will turn the TV back on not to watch Leno or Letterman -- literally use the education technology to improve their own skills.
That is an exciting concept, and one that has actually demonstrated very, very encouraging results in some of the elementary schools where it has been introduced.
The last thing I would mention is -- we in the National Governors' Association like to think of ourselves as 50 laboratories of democracy, and we are all out there experimenting, trying to figure out what works -- we actually set up within the NGA something called the Center for Best Practices, and the idea is to figure out what is working, and to share that information with everybody.
There are a whole lot of people to share it with, and therefore, one of the things I would ask you to consider as you go forward with the ESEA reauthorization is how to use the Federal Government better as a clearinghouse for good ideas, not just simply passing laws and putting regulations in place, but also acting effectively as the clearinghouse to help us to know what is working well and to disseminate that information throughout the country to encourage others to replicate what is working and to not replicate what is not working.
Those are just a couple of thoughts for me, a former Congressman, who has a lot of respect for both of you and the work that you are doing, and just a real deep appreciation for the chance to be here this morning to join Iris Metts in the beginning of this hearing. Thank you so much.
Chairman Castle. We appreciate your expression of respect for Congress. Not everybody has the same respect.
Iris, do you want to add anything before we take the questions?
Governor Carper. Or take away.
Chairman Castle. What is your schedule? It is 10:28, and I know you have a fairly tight schedule?
Governor Carper. We are supposed to be at Ferris at 10:45. So I am going to leave in about 5 minutes, if that is okay.
Chairman Castle. 5 minutes. Why don't we ask the governor questions, Iris, then we will hear from you when he leaves, if you don't mind?
Secretary Metts. Sure.
Chairman Castle. Actually, I couldn't agree with you more. With the last statement you threw me off because I was thinking about computers. You said something that I feel very strongly about, and that is, how to use the Federal Government better to develop good ideas and to put them together to replicate them to send them back out to the States and to eliminate those things which are not working. We never eliminate anything in Congress. And I will just leave that at that, but that drives me crazy.
Let me ask this question of you. I worry about -- and you touched on this and I think you handled it well -- the training of teachers. I worry that most of these kids, we are going to hear from a couple of them today, are far more advanced than a lot of the teachers that are teaching them in terms of the use of computers. I am not particularly computer knowledgeable and I am worried a lot of teachers are not.
Are we resisting this to some degree? So it is fine if we wire all the classrooms and provide everybody with the computers, but are we really able to take advantage of that? In other words, are we just doing something that it is there, but it isn't really truly helping in terms of improving the education of our young people? I would be interested in hearing any comment you have along these lines of making sure that these computers are advancing education.
Governor Carper. I have always seen the primary role of the Federal Government in education is to level the playing field. Just imagine a football game, and one side of the field is higher than the other, and you know, normally in a football game you change sides of the field at the end of a quarter. For some kids, they are playing in a field that is always uphill, they never change sides at the end of a quarter, they are always going up a hill and playing against the wind.
The role of the Federal Government, as I see it, is to level the playing field for those kids. And you do it in a lot of different ways. You do it with programs where healthy kids are born, and when these kids walk into school in kindergarten, they are not already hopelessly behind. You need to make sure there are feeding programs, to make sure we have Head Start funding, and that we have Title I programs here to help kids, particularly with reading, etc.
With respect to technology, one of the great roles that the Federal Government can play is to help in providing, particularly in the schools and the school districts where there is a fairly high incidence of poverty, where the State is not providing the funds, or where the local school districts simply don't have the funds to provide, in some cases, the infrastructure, the technology, and the training for the teachers, you have got a lot of – in our State, as our Congressman knows, the State provides about 70 percent of the funding for our schools. We are, I think, number six on a per capita basis on where we fund, and we over-fund for school districts on the operating side. We over-fund for school districts on the capital side. Lonnie George, who is now the President of Del Tech, was once a Representative and Speaker of the House and chaired the Joint Finance, which helped create the laws that provide for the equalization of funding in our schools. We think we do a pretty good job, a lot of states do not.
I think that technology can be a wonderful equalizer for kids. It can really help us level the playing field for the kids. To the extent that you have school districts where there is not a reasonable amount of money being made available from the State or from the local taxes to help on the technology, those kids are really getting shortchanged. So I would encourage you to keep that in mind as you go forward with the reauthorization with the focus on technology.
Chairman Castle. I will ask you one more brief question. I want to give Dale a chance to ask you whatever he wishes.
The last program you mentioned, the initiative which is mostly for the elementary schools where you go into the homes and attach TVs to the computers, does that help the low income problem of kids not having computers; is it primarily aimed at that?
Governor Carper. It is. And the technology is such that you can put a computer in a kid's home or you can have the technology actually to turn a TV set into a computer without much difficulty.
Chairman Castle. Good. Dale.
Mr. Kildee. Governor, my experience has been that many teacher training institutions are not doing an adequate job of training their teachers to really be knowledgeable about technology so they can rintegrate it into their curriculum when they teach, either in pre-service or in-service education.
What are your teacher training institutions doing here in Delaware to really emphasize teaching technology to the teachers so they can really know more than the students when they get into the classroom?
Governor Carper. Well, you put your finger on a big issue, and the issue is teacher quality. If kids don't have good teachers in the classroom, we can have all the technology in the world, and the kids aren't going to learn. We have to ask for and expect more of our colleges and universities that are turning out teachers. Either brand newly admitted teachers or teachers that have gone back to school to be reeducated and become accredited or certified as a teacher.
I am encouraged by the work that is going on in our colleges and universities in Delaware today with respect to education technology. For the most part, we are finding that the teachers that are coming out of those colleges and universities, whether it is University of Delaware or Delaware State University or Wilmington College, and others, that those teachers actually have the technology skills as they are going into the classrooms.
And while there are a lot of those new teachers that are being mentored by other teachers on classroom management and curriculum preparation and so forth, those new teachers are actually able to train the veteran teachers on how to use the technology. So I think we are beginning to do a much better job at the college and university level, getting new teachers prepared to go into the classroom.
One area that I am not going to admit we are doing a good enough job is with respect to the classroom management. How do you go into a classroom where you have disruptive students, kids who are behind, well behind, acting out in class. We are still not doing a good enough job there. But with respect to technology, I am encouraged by the kind of work that is going on in our colleges and universities.
Mr. Kildee. Do you have much in-service training for teachers who have been in the field, say 10, 15 years?
Governor Carper. Oh, yes, we do. We have invested a lot of money, and we have some good partners, including Delaware Technical Community College, whose president you will hear from in a little bit.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you.
Chairman Castle. Governor, thank you. I think people are getting edgy here. I don't know how you are going to get to Ferris School in 10 minutes unless you have a helicopter out there.
Governor Carper. We are going to crank it up. Thank you so much.
Chairman Castle. We want the kids to hear about this some day. We appreciate you being here, we know you have got a busy schedule, and all you are doing in education. Thanks for all you are doing in education.
Governor Carper. Thank you.
Chairman Castle. Thank you, Governor.
Mr. Kildee. I had the occasion to meet Secretary Metts in Washington a while ago and was very, very impressed with your up-to-date knowledge of education. We appreciated all of your wisdom there.
Chairman Castle. Secretary, would you like to say something to us before we ask you a question or two?
Secretary Metts. First of all, I would like to thank you for holding this hearing. Often we get legislation and vouchers from the Federal Government, and there isn't a lot of input, and perhaps this will give you a little bit of insight into some of the progress that we are making in Delaware and perhaps help structure the legislation somewhat.
I really do appreciate the fact that we have a Congressman who would take the time to come out and listen to what we are doing, and then to go back and structure legislation to fit what this State is doing, as well as to help those states who are not as far along as Delaware.
I also appreciate the fact that we have a Congressman who is not from Delaware who would come in and take the time to listen to what we are doing. So we are very appreciative of your time this morning.
And in having said that, I would like to answer questions or propose to you a vision of where actually technology is going in Delaware in the next few years, whatever you would like me to do.
Chairman Castle. Let me ask a question then because -- maybe you don't know the answer to this. But it was in my opening statement, and it is sort of a common theme you hear about this, and it is sort of common to the Federal Government. But I mentioned the number of Federal programs that exist out there and lack of coordination. As you know, I mean in a time where we are starting to balance the budget we put huge new monetary resources into technology, as I think we should, I don't have a problem with that, but in terms of running an education department, is this creating any problems or confusion, or is this not something you deal with on a daily basis?
Secretary Metts. Oh, yes. I want to say to Congressman Kildee that this is probably going to sound like a broken record to him because this is the same thing I said when I testified before. The two elements that you are pursuing in Congress right now are very important, flexibility and accountability. And I think what other reauthorization comes out of this, if we can maintain an understanding of the importance of flexibility and accountability, in looking at technology and the concerns that are there, I think we are going to be much better off to pursue individual goals.
Right now you just simply don't have the flexibility with the categorical funds that are there. You have to write a specific proposal that is aimed at a specific goal, and then I am not sure you are getting the accountability that you expect, because, if in fact the accountability is to look at student achievement, just as you said in the beginning Representative Castle, if you do not have a holistic plan that a state can propose to you for the use of that money, whether it is in technology or whether it is in Title I or wherever that money is being centered, if you do not have some evidence of student achievement, then you cannot be sure that you have maximized the effect of the Federal monies.
So the opportunity to be flexible, but to relate it to an accountability plan as proposed by the State of Delaware or some other state, is significantly important in getting to the final goal of student achievement. And I see Congress, at least under the leadership of the two people that are here, moving in that direction to recognize that it is being important.
Chairman Castle. Just as an aside, we just handled one bill on flexibility, which the Governor is very involved in, and you were too. And now there is discussion in the ESEA of a super Ed-Flex bill, although I think it will probably change names when it is all said and done. There is more discussion in Washington of not categorizing sums of money in particular programs, but to give more flexibility to the States.
George Miller in particular has made an argument for more accountability, which I happen to fundamentally agree with. And if we can bring it together, I think we can get both parties together on that issue. So it is an important issue.
It is a little bit aside from the technology thing, but it applies to almost everything we look at in the Federal Government.
Secretary Metts. I can really tie the accountability question very closely to technology. I think it is something that we haven't thought about quite as clearly, but we are thinking about it in Delaware. When you think of standards, content standards, there are hundreds, how do you make sure that all students are performing at a maximum rate and achieving those standards? How do you do that? If you give a teacher a stack of papers and say go mark down every time a child reaches a standard, you make a pencil or a pen recording of that, you are going to have a lot of paper and you are not going to have a good system.
But in Delaware, we are using something called an instructional management system, which is software geared to looking at Delaware standards, putting them in a technology system on a website, and connecting them on a website to test scores so that not only can we look at the mastery of various content standards, but we also can look at whether or not students are reaching those goals in achievement by comparing the test data to the actual standards.
And going a step further, it is our hope that we can share this with parents, that with the specific codes they can go into that website and see exactly what the students are doing and whether they are meeting standards and relate the assessment scores to the individual students.
Chairman Castle. Thank you, Secretary. I am going to turn to Mr. Kildee for questions. I have to step outside and straighten out the TV cameras for a minute.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will take over the chair while you are gone.
Chairman Castle. It is all yours.
Mr. Kildee. [Presiding.] You know, when I was a student and when I was teaching school, I taught for 10 years in Flint, Michigan -- I taught Latin back in those days -- every August or early September people would acquire school supplies. Back then the school supplies generally consisted of a pen, pencil, notebook, and ruler. The Supreme Court has since ruled that the school has to supply these items. But in those days, we supplied these items ourselves, and that is basically what the school supplies were. But school supplies are much more complicated than that now.
Do you have any idea what percentage of Delaware's students do not have a computer in their home?
Secretary Metts. Well, I would say it probably mirrors the national comparison, it may be about 20 percent accessibility in homes in Delaware of students who would have computers. The interesting statistic is that 1 in 5 students in this school, this is Christina School District, and I am sure the superintendent will relate that, has accessibility to a computer. So we are getting to a point where more and more students can use computers in schools, but it doesn't really solve the problem of having your own computer.
I see a future where a computer could really replace, particularly a laptop, could replace a textbook. If you look at what is going on in Bosnia right now and Yugoslavia, teachers are scrambling just to figure out what the political situation is and how to teach that information from Kosovo, because it changes every day. Can you imagine what a laptop in the hands of a student would do in terms of searching the Internet worldwide and getting up-to-date information? Whether that is at school or at home, it is essential to have that availability. In the future, I do see textbooks being replaced by laptops.
Mr. Kildee. The West Virginia study has indicated that the students who gain the most were the educationally disadvantaged students or poorer students who did not have a computer at home. What I am concerned about is that through the years, especially since, as we have in Title I, we have tried to close the gap of opportunity and educational gains for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the other students, that if we do not do something rather significant to make sure that students have in their home what other students have, our efforts will have been in vain.
Secretary Metts. There are two products on the market right now that would say that you could give a student whose family may not be able to afford a computer, a low-end computer that that student could take home, that could be used to access the Internet, and do some other things. You could code it so that if it is stolen it just shuts down after a certain period.
It has to be retooled. You can actually program that computer so that it is safe to take it home, which has always been the problem. If you take it home, do you lose it? The technology is growing so rapidly to ensure the safety of that computer when you take it home. It is just like checking out a library book in essence. I think the power of allowing a student to actually take that laptop home, irregardless of the socioeconomic conditions, is one of the most equalizing things that you can do to help a student move forward in school.
I certainly hope that Congress would investigate best practice and new technology, to look at the rate of theft in laptops and in exchange programs in models that have worked quite well, where there has been a very low cost in terms of damage from theft or from other entities, and that those models in the end help those students who did not have that computer available in the home to have that technology.
I think there are models out there that are working and should be investigated and districts should be given the flexibility to pursue those models.
Mr. Kildee. Just quickly, when I was in junior high school, I lived in a poor section of Flint, the east side of Flint. But even during the 1930’s and early 1940’s, my dad could always afford a newspaper. The teacher would ask us to cut clippings and bring clippings in to school. She assumed that everyone had access to a newspaper, but they didn't. For instance, my friend Bob's parents could not afford newspapers, so he would come over to my house to borrow our paper after I had cut all the good stuff out so he could take his clippings to school.
And that just maybe gives us some insight into the fact that some have advantages over others, and we should try to look at those advantages, and I think it can be helpful.
Secretary Metts. One of the interesting experiments was done down in Union City, New Jersey, in which the parents and the students used the computer to communicate with the school in Spanish. These were people who had just come from Cuba, as a matter of fact, who were put in a special newcomers arrangement of class. And for the first time, they could communicate by computer to the principal and not feel ashamed that they didn't understand the language. They would communicate in the Spanish language, and the principal would communicate it back to them. In that experiment, which was sponsored by Bell Atlantic, and I use that as a commercial not to promote Bell Atlantic, but to say that they did institute that model, those computers were not stolen.
I think the biggest fear of making this transition into the home to make sure that poor people do borrow or use extended property is the fear that the equipment is going to be stolen at some point. When you look at the relative cost of replacing computers and how fast technology becomes outmoded, you think that it might be cost effective if you do lose some units, because you are going to have to replace them very shortly anyway.
So I think we need to rethink what we share in terms of technology, particularly to struggling households, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Madam Secretary.
Chairman Castle. [Presiding.] Thank you. And thank you very much, Madam Secretary. We appreciate you being here.
Secretary Metts. If I may excuse myself, too, so the distinguished panel in back of me can be front and center.
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much. We appreciate all you do.
That concludes our first panel. We have three panels. The second panel I believe is going to move up here, the name tags will be put into place, and I think as they start to move into position I will read a little bit of their bios just to speed things along.
We are going to start with Dr. George, because he has to leave here shortly. The Governor has already introduced Lonnie in a sense, but he is the President of the Delaware Technical Community College and will testify about the importance of professional development in the use of education technology. Dr. George will describe his college's involvement in the Educational Technology Certificate program, which teaches teachers how to integrate technology into new and existing course curricula in lesson plans. That is all it says here, but he has obviously had a distinguished career in government before he got into this position.
Dr. Wayne Hartschuh will be the next witness. He is the Executive Director of the Center on Education Technology and will testify about how the Delaware Center on Educational Technology has led efforts to wire Delaware schools to the Internet. Dr. Hartschuh will also talk about what the future holds for education technology in Delaware.
I have Tom Sloan next. Tom Sloan, who is the State Librarian in the Delaware Division of Libraries will describe his involvement in the national project called ICONnect, working with teachers and young people on the use of technology and its incorporation into the curriculum.
And Dr. Nicholas Fischer, who is the superintendent of schools right here in the Christina School District, will testify how the school district has integrated technology into the classroom. Obviously, Dr. Fischer, we would like to take the opportunity to thank you very much for hosting today's hearing, and for all you have supplied. I know your administration, staff, and other people have put a lot of effort into this. We appreciate that and all the students of Glasgow.
Finally, our last witness in this panel will be Dr. Robert Smith, who is the Superintendent of Schools in the Milford School District, and I think that incorporates both a little bit of Kent and Sussex Counties, which is important. We have three counties here, Dale, so it is very important we have everybody represented. But he will testify about how the Milford School District has incorporated the use of technology into its schools. Milford has been the recipient of both technology grant and technology grant funding under Title III of the ESEA.
We appreciate all of you being here. We know Dr. George may take a little bit longer, but we hope you can keep your comments about 5 minutes. As you saw, we will ask a few questions and try to keep things moving.
We will start with you, Lonnie.
STATEMENT OF DR. ORLANDO GEORGE, JR., PRESIDENT, DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE, DOVER, DELAWARE
Mr. George. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to our friend from Michigan, a warm welcome to Delaware. To Mike, congratulations to you, sir, not only for your appointment as the Chairman and for your efforts in this area, but also for that wonderful article that appeared about a week ago in the News Journal, a very richly deserved piece on your career in elective office in Delaware.
Chairman Castle. Don't ever say that, they will get me next time.
Mr. George. Mr. Chairman, the only thing that would cause me to leave the good graces of this Committee would be a group of students I had made a commitment to speak to, so we will see how it goes.
I am very appreciative of the opportunity to appear before you and offer my testimony on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This morning my testimony will focus on the benefits of collaborative partnerships in educational technology and the role that the community college can play as a facilitator in the development of a technology-based learning community.
I might add, Mr. Chairman, this presentation, although much longer, was recognized at a national meeting of the Association of Community Colleges as a model program for the country. I have obviously taken it and tried to collapse it into about 7 minutes.
The business of education is about communicating information. All the hardware, software and infrastructure that we have come to call educational technology has the potential of really making a difference in student learning. But how do we make this potential a reality? And most importantly, how can we leverage our resources to deliver technology education in a cost-effective manner?
As you know, many different groups of individuals come through the doors of our community colleges. In fulfilling our mission as a community college, we are cognizant of meeting the needs of many diverse groups. At Delaware Tech, we looked for ways to develop a technology-based learning community to meet the needs of the seven stakeholder groups that you see on the slide.
We have recognized that a plan which would meet the needs of our students, the college students, the college faculty, may be applicable to a larger group of educators and, in turn, meet the needs of a broader community. We wanted to take a leadership role in facilitating a collaborative partnership for technology training.
What resulted from our efforts in Delaware was a statewide learning community in educational technology. Now there are several key components to the solution of this learning community.
The first key to the program's success was an advisory board comprised of representatives from the school districts who worked with college faculty to define the terminal competencies in educational technology that are needed by all teachers. Then the next key component was the Secretary of Education, Iris Metts, approved these educational technology courses for K through 12 teacher lane advancement, so that locked in the professional development component.
And then, in addition, legislative approval was received for state tuition reimbursement for teachers in the program. And the third successful part of this particular learning community was that our Ed Tech program was offered at all four campus locations within an easy drive of every Delaware teacher. Any campus can contract with a local school district to train groups of teachers, either at our campus or on the school site.
Not everyone recognizes the importance of hardware, software and infrastructure, which we call technology. And it is being more evident that any effort in educational technology requires competent technical support staff. The missing link here is training, teacher training for teachers. In fact -- I am sorry, technology training for teachers.
In fact, the Delaware Business Public Education Council issued a report last year called the Missing Link, citing the need for such training.
In response to all of those stakeholders that you saw earlier, Delaware Tech created the educational technology certificate program for faculty development. The program has two levels, a four-credit introductory certificate for those with limited knowledge of technology, and an 18 credit advanced certificate which progressively develops the ability to integrate technology into teaching and learning.
The program was developed from the 70 terminal competencies identified by the advisory committee, some of which are listed on the slide. The ones on the left come from the basic certificate, the ones on the right part of the slide come from the advanced certificate.
Since the program began last summer, we have enrolled over 400 participants. The response has been very positive, and I would like to have one ETC student, which is one of our public schoolteachers, share with you her thoughts on the program.
What better way to show off the impact of the program than to show student products. In the segments of these two PowerPoint projects, you will see regardless of grade level, faculty can learn technology side by side. Now, you are only going to see a very small part of their presentations. But I would like to share them with you. First, Judie Wharton used technology to guide special education elementary students in a science experiment from caterpillars to butterflies. She demonstrated her word processing skills by creating homework sheets for the experiment.
And at the ninth grade level, Linda George's presentation facilitates her students' social studies research probabilities about Africa. The assignment objectives and expectations are clearly outlined for the students in a visually appealing format.
I want to just add at this point, the one thing the instruction that I gave to our advisory committee in terms of putting these terminal competencies together is come up with a program that will allow teachers to develop lesson plans that they can take right into the classroom. What I didn't want to hear was a teacher saying, boy, that was a great course, you know, but now that school has started, I don't have time to do anything with it.
Lesson plans that they develop were approved for their terminal competence which then drove their grade. Benefits that have been realized within the learning community, first and foremost, we increased student access to technology, enabling them to develop skills required in today's work force. Through a core of technology competent faculty, we are changing the way instruction is delivered in Delaware.
We are helping teachers make effective use of that hardware/software and infrastructure. We have watched this core faculty at all levels serve as role models and mentors for their colleagues.
One public schoolteacher who was enrolled in our advanced certificate program was able to convince her entire school to sign up for the introduction TRI certificate. We, in turn, had the flexibility to hire her to teach the course with one of our instructors. What a powerful message that sent to everyone involved.
If I could leave you with a message today, it would be the following two recommendations: One, financial incentives should be provided for school districts to develop and implement integrated educational technology plans, which include all three of the links, technology, technical support, and training. And the second recommendation is that the act should specify that funding proposals for educational technology training include the community colleges as a partner.
The community colleges are where the majority of your teachers are going to learn how to get comfortable with this technology.
In closing, let us remember that our focus is on students, present and future, who will benefit from the ever-changing technology. We must be committed to using technology to improve student learning. And we must be committed to the basic tenets of good teaching. Teaching with technology is like teaching with new eyes. Envision with me learning environments that use technology to make connections and meaning, environments that allow our students to really understand, communicate and apply knowledge.
What will we have given our students if we make these environments a reality? Well, as John Snyder points out in Teaching with New Eyes, we have given them treasure that will be measured in lives transformed by insight. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Mr. George follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. ORLANDO GEORGE, JR., PRESIDENT, DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE, DOVER, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX B
Chairman Castle. Thank you, Lonnie. We appreciate that, and I think you are going to have to leave almost immediately, but I understand there are people here from--
Mr. George. Dr. Susan Zawisklak and Charles Poplos, who probably know more than I do about this.
Chairman Castle. Maybe they could come to the table and answer questions. Thank you, we really appreciate your testimony here.
Next we will go to Dr. Wayne Hartschuh. I hope his necktie will show up on television. Is it the Roger Neilson's coach of the Philadelphia Flyers who wears these wild ties and they are always sending him ties? I think after seeing these Internet ties, they will send you ties for everybody to see. We appreciate you being here.
STATEMENT OF DR. WAYNE HARTSCHUH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DELAWARE CENTER ON EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, DOVER, DELAWARE
Mr. Hartschuh. I thought that this would be an appropriate tie for this situation.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this hearing on educational technology in Delaware's schools. As you said, I am Wayne Hartschuh. I am the Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Educational Technology, or DCET, as we call it here in Delaware.
Let me start by giving a brief overview of DCET. As Governor Carper alluded to, he did sign legislation that created the Delaware Center for Educational Technology with the purpose of creating a modern educational technology infrastructure in Delaware's public schools to enable students, through the use of educational technology, to meet academic standards set by the State Board of Education and to develop the skills needed by a world-class workforce.
As a public education entity in the State of Delaware, working closely with the Delaware Department of Education, the Office of Information Services and the districts, DCET embarked on a three-year project to wire every public classroom in the State. For the record, we didn't just put a data drop in every classroom, we installed at least one data line, a telephone line, a coaxial cable for video and two strands of fiber.
At this point in time the project is complete, and we are proud to point out that the project was completed on time and within budget. Another point we are proud to make is Delaware is the first state in the Nation to have network access in every public schools classroom in the State.
The reason for installing the infrastructure and wiring every classroom is reflected in the vision statement, and this is the First State coming back to you: The First State in Education: Every Classroom, Every Teacher, Every Child, is the DCET vision.
The vision of DCET reflects an absolute commitment to the principal of equity, ensuring every teacher and every child in each of our public schools and classrooms is provided with an equal classroom to utilize technology in the educational process. This vision also reflects a fundamental belief that technology in education is critical to the creation of a competitive 21st century work force and that a competitive work force is a major contributing factor to strengthening and maintaining Delaware's economic viability.
The efforts of DCET have been nationally recognized. We have received a Computerworld Smithsonian Award for our classroom networking project. The project is part of the 1998 information technological innovation collection that was formally presented to the Smithsonian Institution last April. A brief description of all of the award recipients, including DCET, is currently on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Although the telecommunications infrastructure is now in place, we have a high-speed network connection in every school. We have every classroom wired to the Delaware Educational Network, including the Internet, and we have received a very prestigious award. I really don't get too excited about the wires in the walls. What I do get excited about are the educational activities that can be enhanced because of those wires in the wall.
The excitement lies within the schools where teachers and students are utilizing the Delaware Education Network and the Internet. In Milford, the middle school students are creating a website connecting their school with the community and communicating with students with other cities and towns across the country named Milford. In Appoquinimink, teachers and students are participating in a collaborative project on Monarch butterflies.
Numerous teachers across the State, from Brandywine in the north to Delmar in the south, are creating Web Quests, instructional activities, designed as Web pages to allow the students to find and synthesize information on the Internet. In addition, UDLibSearch, a resource provided through the University of Delaware, and I am sure something Tom will talk about later, it provides on-line access to research material to all of our high schools and middle schools.
Now these activities I have just discussed are directly related to the network and the Internet. I always like to mention that there are equally effective educational technology tools that are not connected to our network such as graphing calculators and word processing devices. In other words, there are more to technology than just computers.
I always strive to tell people that we need to match the technology to the situation. The U.S. DOE has stated that we should strive for a ratio of students to computers to be 5 to 1. In Delaware, we have stayed 5 computers per classroom. Basically the same with an average class size of 25 students. In many cases, a ratio of 5 to 1 or 5 computers in a classroom will suffice, especially at the elementary school level.
But in other cases, rather than computers, we might want to have a classroom set of word processing devices for an English class or classroom set of graphing calculators for a math class, more effective technology for the situation and roughly at the same cost.
In Delaware, I envision at least one computer in every classroom for, at a minimum, administrative uses of the teacher. This is in support of the DOE integrative pupil accounting and curriculum management initiative that will standardize these administrative functions across the State. Iris Metts has briefly just talked about this earlier.
The first step is pupil accounting and we have taken we-are-all-in-this-together approach. DOE is putting the system in place. DCET is supporting the operation of the system with servers and the districts are responsible for the end user computers, with the intent being every teacher having access to the system in their classroom.
An excellent decision was made by the State to lay the groundwork for growth by installing and supporting the telecommunications infrastructure to every classroom. Across the State, we are currently addressing the growth and the effective implementation of technology-related activities in the classroom. I am proud to say that we are making steady progress forward.
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. WAYNE HARTSCHUH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DELAWARE CENTER ON EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, DOVER, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX C
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much, Dr. Harschuh, we appreciate it. Now we will turn to Tom Sloan, who is our State Librarian. I worked with Tom on a couple of occasions in terms of some announcements we have made in our libraries, and I can tell you that he has a very interesting story to tell, and they are very advanced from a technological point of view. So we appreciate Tom being here. Mr. Sloan.
STATEMENT OF MR. TOM SLOAN, STATE LIBRARIAN, DELAWARE DIVISION OF LIBRARIES, DOVER, DELAWARE
Mr. Sloan. Thank you very much, and I want to add to the welcome to Delaware and the Glasgow High School Library. You honor the libraries of this State and this Nation by selecting a school library as a site for this important hearing on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Your presence recognizes that the school library media center is essential to learning and is the information hub of 21st century schools. To that end, the reauthorization of ESEA should ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. It is the school library program that provides the intellectual and physical access to learning materials in all formats.
It is a school library media staff that provides instruction to foster literacy and stimulates interest in reading, viewing and using information. It is a successful school library program that is able to work with teachers and students and parents to design learning strategies to meet the needs of individual students.
ESEA could provide incentives to establish, maintain and expand school library media programs that improve student achievement, as research studies have shown. In Delaware we use ESEA title VI to acquire sufficient school library materials to provide school library media specialists to work with students and teachers and to incorporate new technologies into the curriculum and into learning.
Why should Federal funds be spent to support school library media programs? Because the quality of a school library media program is critical to student achievement. The findings of two major studies have concluded that strong school library programs are predictors of key student success.
A federally-funded study documents the positive impact of school library media programs on the academic achievement of 221 Colorado public schools. The 1993 Colorado Department of Education study shows that when school library media expenditures on staff and collections are high, student achievement is high. Specifically the study shows that where school libraries are better funded, regardless of the school being in a rich or a poor community, regardless of the community having adults who are well or poorly educated, student achievement is higher.
The study also found that better funding for school libraries fosters academic achievement by providing students access to more library staff and larger and varied collections. Additionally, students whose library media specialists participate in the instruction process and teachers who use the instructions center of the media library program result in higher test scores. The report found that among predictors of academic achievement, the size of the school library media program staff and collection is second only to the absence of at-risk conditions.
The second report, titled "The Power of Reading", reviewed hundreds of research studies conducted in the 19th and 20th centuries that explored the power of free voluntary reading; that is, reading that a young person is not assigned to do but rather chooses to do. Results show that free voluntary reading is the very best predictor of reading comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling ability, grammatical usage and writing style.
The results also show that the best way to promote student reading achievement is by creating print rich environments, providing large library collections, reading aloud and using sustained silent reading, promoting positive reading habits and modeling reading by parents, teachers and friends.
These two national studies showed that well-funded school library media programs are essential to successful teaching and learning outcomes. Today, library and information technologies are keys to providing a successful school. A national model technology initiative is ICONnect. ICONnect is sponsored by the American Association of School librarians and is designed to engage students, school library media staff and teachers in using the Internet.
ICONnect resources help students develop information and visual literacy skills. The project promotes school library media specialists and teachers with training in effectively navigating the Internet. ICONnect very importantly develops Internet connections for teachers and students in support of curriculum and learning. And also important, it assists parents in guiding their children to using appropriate Internet resources.
ICONnect has attracted private sector support from such information and technology firms as Microsoft Corporation and EBSCO publishing. This support has allowed the successful demonstration of ICONnect; however, additional funding is required to implement ICONnect technology projects in schools throughout the Nation.
Immediately after this hearing, we invite you to a demonstration of the ICONnect project. Allison Kaplan is here today, who is coordinator of the school library media specialist program at the University of Delaware, and she is also a member of the National ICONnect Committee. She will provide an ICONnect demonstration out in the main part of the library.
In Delaware, a very successful library and information technology project for schools is UDLib/SEARCH, and you will see a banner of the program up on the wall. This is a joint project of the University of Delaware Library and the Delaware Department of Education. The UDLib/SEARCH project provides all Delaware public high schools and middle junior high schools with on-line access to full text magazines, journals and encyclopedias.
The University of Delaware Library negotiates contracts with database vendors, ensuring a very advantageous cost per school ratio. Equally important, University of Delaware Library staff provide training sessions for teachers, school librarians and other school staff on using the on-line resources.
Following the hearing, Dr. Sandra Millard, an assistant director of the University of Delaware Library, and Ms. Suzanne Smith, the school library media specialist here at Glasgow High School, will provide a demonstration for you of the UDLib/SEARCH project.
To conclude, I ask that you reauthorize ESEA to provide targeted incentives to establish, maintain and expand school library media programs. As we do in Delaware, ESEA should assist in funding school library materials in all types of formats. ESEA should assist in funding qualified school library media specialists to work with students and teachers. And importantly, ESEA should assist in funding new library technologies that connect the curriculum to the resources needed for learning.
Thomas Jefferson stated in the 19th century that a democratic society depends upon an informed and educated citizenry. America's school libraries are at the forefront of creating literate, informed and lifelong learners. Our school libraries must succeed if we are to be a 21st century democracy.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak on these important matters. And please do join us after the hearing for demonstrations of the national ICONnect project and the Delaware UDLib/SEARCH technology project. Thank you.
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. TOM SLOAN, STATE LIBRARIAN, DELAWARE DIVISION OF LIBRARIES, DOVER, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX D
Chairman Castle. Thank you, Tom. I hope we will have time after the hearing for that. We will have to see when that time comes.
Let me next turn to Dr. Fischer, and thank you very much again for hosting us in your school district today. And if you will excuse me for a minute, I have to run outside for one second. But we look forward to your testimony, and I will be right back.
STATEMENT OF DR. NICHOLAS FISCHER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CHRISTINA SCHOOL DISTRICT, NEWARK, DELAWARE
Mr. Fischer. Thank you all for coming here today. On behalf of the Christina Board of Education, our staff, students, parents and the communities, I want to welcome you to Delaware's largest public school district, where we are proud of our diversity, we are proud of what we have done, and we are proud of what we are doing to improve. We believe that we can and we will improve student achievement.
It is fitting that you have come to Glasgow High School where technology supports instruction and the administration of the school. Federal funds have made a distinctive contribution to science education here through the National Science Foundation's funding of $750,000 for the Mesocosm project in environmental studies. Federal funds of $247,000 from Goals 2000, the Goals 2000 technology challenge grant have also been extremely helpful by supporting our efforts to improve instruction through planning and monitoring student performance at Brader Elementary School.
At our other schools, we have one computer for every four students, and we have to give credit, I believe, to Dr. Metts' vision while she was here in getting that process moving.
We have finally completed that process this year, and this is in comparison to a national average of one computer per every 15 students, understanding what Wayne was talking about that Delaware has got.
I also have to say that, as I am sure Wayne and others will agree, that we have much work to do in improving our maintenance and professional development for the use of computers. It is obviously one thing to put the computers in place; it is another thing to have people using them effectively. And I know Dr. Smith will be speaking to his efforts to do that in Milford.
Thanks to Governor Carper and our legislators, all of our schools are wired for worldwide access to information. In fact, every classroom has an Internet link. And in a way, I think it is very good to think about, this is during the time when many of us were growing up when we went into a library with 100,000 books, we thought that was awesome, it was huge, it was unbelievable. Today simply by three clicks a student can get access to over a million books and all other multimedia sources.
I think those multiples may clear the value of technology. I also believe that we will be able to address many of our maintenance and professional development needs through the State and local taxpayers generous support of technology in the form of $3.8 million during the 3-year period starting the school year. These are the technology funds that the Governor was referring to earlier.
There are days when I feel that we need a new form of bilingual education to enable us to understand the language of technology. I say this to highlight an ongoing concern. I believe that we all must make clear what we want to do with technology and do so in plain language.
I think it is important to remember that the term technology refers to things that help us work more effectively, or provide the things that we need or desire. The question is, what is the work ahead of us and what do we need or desire.
I want to suggest that Federal efforts need to support innovation in four areas. One is training and retraining of the work force for employment. The second is training of school age youngsters in the uses of technology, starting with computer literacy obviously, so that youngsters feel comfortable getting onto and working with computers. The second, which we need to mention, is obviously using technology to enhance instruction. And the third, as students get more sophisticated, is learning how to get involved in hardware and software development.
I know that in one of the schools in our areas Microsoft is involved in a partnership to help students become software engineers. There is obviously a lot of steps we can take in that direction.
The third recommendation I would make is supporting our ability, as Dr. Metts is talking about, to create systems that monitor student achievement and techniques that help improve student achievement.
The fourth would be supporting the creation of administrative systems that reduce paperwork and bureaucracy and increase person-to-person contact in areas such as finance and human resources. I think one of the realities of reform is that it’s roughly 3 years down the road from giving the money. Many legislators are asking what impact did my dollars have? When you connect student achievement with dollars, it helps to understand that impact.
Federal funds have historically been a source of innovation in dollars for serving those least well served. In the area of technology, I believe that continuing to support both purposes will help. I also believe that a great service could be provided, as Governor Carper alluded to, by bringing people together nationally and regionally to discuss the best practices in providing services to students and parents through technology.
I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today.
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. NICHOLAS FISCHER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CHRISTINA SCHOOL DISTRICT, NEWARK, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX E
Chairman Castle. Well, thank you very much Dr. Fischer. I missed most of your testimony, but I glanced through it, and I have some sense of what you were saying.
And finally the final speaker, the cleanup hitter in this panel who has already been introduced is Dr. Robert Smith, who is the head of the Milford School District in Delaware. We appreciate you being here too, Doctor.
STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT SMITH, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, MILFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT, MILFORD, DELAWARE
Mr. Smith. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this illustrious Committee today. The cost for putting modern technologies in classrooms is often beyond the reach of many school districts and schools in America. Even those who are fortunate enough to get grants in aids to set up systems, too frequently they do not have recurrent funding or expertise to sustain them.
At a recent analysis in the Milford School District, it was determined that it took a minimum of $120 per student per year to purchase and sustain a 1 to 4 ratio of computers to students, and it will take us 6 years to accomplish that task. It will take another $60 per student per year for the hardware network support that is needed and $20 per year for the student software and applications and their Internet access.
This total is over three times the amount that the Milford School District has historically allocated for yearly curriculum purchases and is a burden that most districts simply cannot bear.
The Milford School District has been fortunate enough to receive two recent Federal grants for technology. One grant of title III of ESEA is enabling the district to purchase two to three computers for all district second grade classrooms, and to provide all second grade students with take-home Sony play stations with educational software that will extend their structured learning time beyond the regular school day.
This is part of the Lightspan project that our governor spoke about earlier. We anticipate some good results based on the data of schools who have been in this program for 2 and 3 years. We are just starting with that program this year with the take home.
Our second grant was part of a Federal challenge grant that came to Delaware to pilot instructional management systems. This grant will provide approximately $1 million in funding to the Milford School District over a 5-year period. These funds are being used to build a student and instructional data system that will help our teachers and administrators to track the effectiveness of units of instruction, to make appropriate modifications that will enhance student performance and achievement.
Approximately 70 percent of these funds will go for software and staff development, 30 percent for hardware. The district is seeking local and state funding for the majority of its hardware and support needs so this effort can be sustained when the Federal funds are gone.
One of the most significant findings, and I think this is important, to date concerning the instructional management systems is that as we looked at that system, we found that they were not assessment-driven or interactive tools, but basically were electronic repositories for curriculum resources, instructional objectives and lesson plans.
Most of these systems were tedious to set up and there were no care of short-term payoffs to teaching and learning. In a sense they were like a car without an engine, meant to take you someplace, but without the power to get there.
By adding software that will track student, individual students, grades and schools by performance on formative and assessment_and summative assessment items linked to state standards and instructional objectives, we will add the power and meaning to the instructional management system.
Teachers and schools will be able to critically evaluate the success and weaknesses of their current practices, and this will become the driving force to modify curriculum and instruction through use of the instructional management system. Gaps in the curriculum will be identified as well as inappropriately matched practices and techniques.
The strengths of the curriculum and instruction will also become evident. Exemplary practices will be identified and recorded in the instructional management system as a resource for all teachers.
Teachers with low-performing students will have ready access to lesson plans and digitized video to help them improve their instructional content or techniques and to produce higher levels of student achievement and performance. We estimate it is going to take 3 to 5 years to fully implement this system.
Due to the significant recurring costs of technology and the time needed for staff development and full implementation of a technology initiative such as this, it is recommended that federally-funded projects be of sufficient funding and duration to ensure at least two complete replacement cycles of the hardware and the software applications.
Given the rate of hardware and software evolution, a replacement or a step down cycle should occur in approximately 3 years of usage. It is also recommended that the Federal contribution to a technical project generally not exceed 40 percent of the total costs of the project. Most projects should have a range of funding between 25 and 30 percent.
This would greatly increase the probability of project continuation after Federal support has been withdrawn. Federal funding should be contingent on local and state match along with a plan for assuming end of project costs. The projects that are highly experimental in nature should be excused from those kinds of requirements.
The Milford School District has developed the computer replacement cycle that is not contingent on Federal funding and that will enable the district to obtain a 1 to 4 student to computer ratio within 4 years and sustain it through 2006.
And I am going to skip some of that testimony because it is there to be read. It tells you how we are going to do that, but that is not the important part.
The Milford School District had a 6-year Federal commitment for 25 percent of the costs of its core technology initiative. That initiative could be sustained through 2012 and provide adequate time for districts to find the funds necessary to continue this initiative indefinitely.
I think it is important that we start looking at some of the core funding for the core technology. What I am talking about there is one computer for every classroom in America.
Projects such as this should be explored for funding as they have the greatest potential for making long-term improvements to our schools. Every educator must have at least one network computer in his or her classroom. It must be as dependable as the chalkboard.
These computers need to be networked and equipped with an Internet browser, e-mail, productivity software, student accounting and instructional management software, teaching and learning applications specific to the type of instruction going on in the classroom.
Successful technology projects must also have a clear and inspiring vision for what is to be accomplished. Let me give you a couple of examples from the Milford School District vision statement. Technology will be used in the Milford School District to enhance the human potential of our students and staff. It will be used to enhance productivity in self-directed learning. Technology will be used to enrich the human experience.
It will be available wherever and whenever teaching and learning takes place with equitable and appropriate levels of access by students and staff. It will become a critical tool for research, analysis, communication, demonstration, simulation and expanding content knowledge. Technology will be used to change student progress towards targeted academic goals.
It will be used to record and analyze performance and provide critical data for specialized interventions. In many cases, technology will be used to help deliver those interventions.
We took this vision to the community in 1996. We repeatedly demonstrated the hardware and the software to our community using real-life applications and public information meetings and forums throughout the school district. We used multimedia presentations to pass a bond referendum to fund our core technology initiative. This bond issue was first voted in 1994 without demonstration and use of technology and was defeated by a 3 to 1 margin.
In 1997, a similar bond referendum was conducted with the use and demonstration of technology and was won by a 2 to 1 margin. Technology was highly effective in communicating the district's vision and it’s needs. Technology is making a significant difference in the Milford School District. Since our major infusion of technology in 1997, the district has seen a 15 point gain on the SAT scores in both verbal and math, and is fourth out of 19 districts on the overall 1998 Delaware assessment.
This has been accomplished with a student population that is 33 percent minority, 51 percent low SES. Technology is not solely responsible for this improvement but has definitely played a major role. The district's technology training for staff has not only improved their use of technology, but it has also changed instructional techniques and curriculum content that we believe is driving our improvement in student performance.
The district has been very aggressive in providing many different kinds of staff development opportunities in technology. In 1996, the district first developed teacher and administrator competencies for technology usage. We then developed a multifaceted program for staff development to help teachers develop these competencies.
Staff move at their own pace through three technology proficiency levels and must demonstrate proficiency at each level before moving on. One-time stipends are paid for mastery, and we are currently exploring long-term performance pay for meeting these technology competencies.
The district has also recognized the need for ongoing staff and system support. The district used an assistant principal position to hire a supervisor of instructional technology in 1997. This person is responsible for helping staff use technology effectively and insuring that our technology system supports and enhances teaching and learning.
There are four technicians under this supervisor who keep our systems operating effectively. Technology is making a difference in the way our teachers teach in the Milford School District. Since September of 1998, when every teacher in the district was provided a high-end computer in their classroom, we have observed more engaging and interactive lessons; more varied teaching strategies and techniques; more current and relevant content being presented; better tracking of student progress taking place; better analysis of teaching and learning; more professional communication and resource sharing among teachers, and that is very critical, it is a very important piece; and higher quality of teacher-generated materials and presentations.
We have also observed changes in student behavior. We have observed more self-directed learning taking place with our students, more in-depth student research being conducted, more enthusiastic learners, increased student productivity, and greater time on task with more focus on the activity at hand.
Technology is changing what we teach and how we teach it. It is becoming an invaluable resource to teachers and students for research and acquiring new content knowledge. We are beginning to use technology to deliver some types of instructions and to track individual student progress on our State standards and grade level proficiencies. It is becoming a critical tool in the analysis of our effectiveness and accomplishing our stated goals for students, teachers and our schools.
It is helping our administrators become more effective and efficient managers, and freeing up more time for them to exercise their educational leadership. The more that the technology becomes available, the more ways we will find to use it to improve teaching and learning in our schools.
I strongly urge the Committee on Education and the Workforce to support core technology initiatives in schools today, so that we as educators can better develop a well-trained and informed work force for tomorrow. Thank you.
[The statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT SMITH, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, MILFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT, MILFORD, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX F
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much, Dr. Smith. We appreciate that. And all of you have had a chance to testify. I am going to ask the two who replaced Lonnie George to say something in a moment.
Let me do a couple of things. One is, as you may have seen on the TV screens, we have students from Newark High School, which is nearby here, Dale, everyone else would know that I suppose, and Christina High School, which is also relatively close by.
They are here obviously through the connections that we have with the ability to video and go from there. We appreciate their abiding interest in this as well.
I would also like to say as far as the testimony, et cetera, is concerned, the Subcommittee is obviously bigger than just the two of us, but all of this testimony is taken from here, it goes down to Washington, it is analyzed, and it goes out to the Committee. So what you say does become very important in terms of all of that.
I wanted to ask the two individuals who replaced Lonnie George, do we dare say it took two to replace one? Don't let Lonnie hear that. He will have a big head over it. If you have a comment or two, maybe a minute or minute and a half, two from each.
But before I do that, let me ask my question. Normally in Washington, we take 5 minutes per panel per person, we take a little longer here, but we want to keep it somewhat limited. I am going to sort of put together three or four points and then ask the four of you to try to address that in a minute or a minute and a half yourself if you could each.
And it is basically this, we are worried about what we are doing at the Federal level. You are obviously more concerned about carrying things out locally then what we are doing at the Federal level. But I personally would be interested in your understanding, thoughts about any priorities we should have and any legislation that we are considering in terms of our programs.
With respect to technology, we have various ways of doing this, we have challenge grants and national challenge grants. Some of this is competitive. I indicated in my opening that we have a lot of different programs. Dr. Smith talked about this a little bit, but is it becoming confusing at a local basis, should we consolidate this? Should we be approaching it differently, are there other things that we should be looking at in terms of technology at the Washington level that we are perhaps not looking at now that would be helpful to you? Do you want more flexibility in terms of how you can apply for or use the various funds that may come from Washington, D.C.?
I think it is safe to say you are going to get increases. There have been dramatic monetary increases in programs for technology in Washington in each of the last half dozen years. I think that is probably going to stay the same, wouldn't you say, Dale? I can't imagine in this day and age that is going to get cut back very much.
So we are concerned about making sure all of this is handled correctly. I would be interested in your views on what we are doing in Washington. If you are not specific with these terms, the programs in Washington, don't worry about that, just give us general answers about where you think we should go.
Before we do that, because Lonnie had just high praise for your knowledge, I thought we would give Dr. Poplos and Dr. Zawisklak, a chance to speak to us for a minute or two each.
Mr. Poplos. Well, I can't do anything but agree with Dr. George, saying that the community colleges are a very effective partner, should be considered in any legislation. All school districts in the United States have access to resources of the community level, and we have demonstrated at Delaware Tech it is a very effective location for teachers to come. It is non-threatening, and it is a place where they can actually use technology in a hands-on environment, what they develop there tonight, because all the courses are after school, they can use tomorrow morning in their classrooms. And that has been one of the pluses in our book. I mean, I would like to see that continue and be mirrored all over the country.
Chairman Castle. Good, thank you.
Ms. Zawisklak. I would echo that as well, that technology, as we see it being used in the school today, has so many positive applications. And as a student in the program, I have learned so many things and have seen my colleagues also develop their skills further in a very short period of time.
Eighteen months ago this program was an idea in a few people's heads, and through the advisory committees that were formed up and down this State and the input from the K through 12 community, we have developed a program that has been able to meet many, many needs.
Chairman Castle. Very good. We appreciate that, and we appreciate you being here today. It is very helpful to have you backing up Mike. I guess we might as well go in order and start right here with you.
Mr. Hartschuh. Well, basically Delaware Center for Educational Technology is a little different situation than the districts and the libraries in the State, in that we are 100 percent state funded. We do not receive any Federal funds. Actually we are state funded basically through New York State, I guess, as Governor Carper alluded to earlier.
Chairman Castle. Be careful in your references, because that was Delaware against all the States, so Michigan is involved in that, too, so --
Mr. Hartschuh. As Governor Carper alluded to earlier, we did win a lawsuit. Delaware won a lawsuit with the State of New York, and that is where the money did come from. We are spending $30 million on our infrastructure, basically, as we move forward, as our infrastructure is mostly complete, the three things that we need to concern ourselves with -- and this is where we need to look for the additional funding and the help -- are maintenance and support. Nick alluded to earlier that they have got a 4 to 1 ratio of computers to students, and I guess 1 to 4 of students to computers.
And I am sure he will agree they have a major maintenance and support issue. That is only going to be resolved with funding to take care of the stuff that you have. We have procurement issues. You know, Christina is in very good shape. Milford is in good shape. They have one computer in every classroom now. But our ultimate goal is to have, you know, in the neighborhood of a 4 to 5 to 1 ratio in each classroom.
We need help with funding for procurement of not only hardware but software as well and other technology devices as well as computers.
And the last thing and probably the most important, and that is where I will come from, is a professional development. None of this is going to be used unless you teach the people how to use it and use it effectively. So that is what we are looking for, you know, funding issues, and that is where we are trying to get a balance between, not only local, but state and Federal funding to address those issues.
Chairman Castle. Thank you. Tom.
Mr. Sloan. I would like to make two comments. First, I think that as a person who works with several Federal programs at the State, we certainly do like flexibility. But I also believe we need leadership, national leadership on issues. And I don't think that you can simply defer on many cases to 50 individual states or to the thousands of school districts or the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of schools to necessarily make the right decisions on some issues which are of national importance.
And so I think there has to be a balance between both the flexibility and the use of money, but also clear goals and missions and clear accountability on the use of that money. And so I think that there really is truly a balancing act there. And I think many of us look to the Federal Government and look to programs like ESEA to provide some national goals and objectives.
The second comment I would make is, I read a week or so ago that less than 10 percent of the information created in the 20th century is available in any kind of electronic form, less than 10 percent of the information of the 20th century. We are not talking about prior centuries but just the 20th century. So as we look at the wonderful empowerment that technology brings, we also want to be careful that we continue to educate and create well-rounded, well-read individuals and you cannot do that simply by sitting down at a computer.
There is more to learning and there is more to life long learning than simply having a computer and having wires in the wall. And I think that in the future, maybe, you know, 50 years from now when the people are in this room at a hearing, that might be different, but it is not different for us today. We still need to recognize that for the total educational experience there needs to be a balance between print and technology, between traditional services and new and exciting services.
Chairman Castle. Thank you. Dr. Fischer.
Mr. Fischer. I would like to suggest four things for the Committee to consider, in addition to the recommendations I made during my statement. One of the things that Federal support can enhance greatly is the sharing of best practices, whether we like to say it or not, getting people together and simply having them sitting and talking with each other. I think it can really help them to understand what works instructionally and what doesn't. As the Congressman was alluding to, that is as important to know as what our successes are.
I think we do that both regionally and nationally. We have a vehicle through the regional lab structure or through regional educational networks that I think we should make use of, and sometimes I think districts are a little bit short in either travel funds or substitute funds that Federal grants can help out with.
The second thing I would like to underline is programs for talented students. I think sometimes in the rush to remediate, we forget that many students who need remediation are extremely talented, and I think we need both sides of the equation. And I think Federal support in that area would enhance support for what we are doing in a number of ways.
The third thing is you can bring a computer home, but if the parents don't know how to turn it on, you are not necessarily helping out a whole bunch. So I think parent education is critical. Simply linking parents to kids to computers can create a big step in helping students use computers at home.
What I have also recommended in that vein is that we know from adult education that literacy leads to literacy. We know that 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is functionally illiterate. In order to help students learn, we have to help parents learn, and I would strongly suggest Federal initiatives that enhance adult literacy to enhance children's literacy, so that in turn they can understand what they are seeing on the computer.
Chairman Castle. Thank you. Dr. Smith.
Mr. Smith. One thing I would like to say is, when computers are bought with Federal funds, there are often many strings on those computers. For example, who can use the computers, when they can be used, and even after those computers have basically served their life in the schools, there are things that could happen with those computers, like putting them into churches for after-school programs or putting them into community centers.
We step down our old computers that are bought with our local funds and state funds. We step them down to purposes such as that. We are unable to do that with the Federal technology, because of the way that the types of funds that they were bought with. That is an impediment. Those computers do not continue to meet the needs of the students in the classroom, but could be, as Dr. Fischer said, could be a mechanism for training parents and giving them exposure, first-time exposure, to some of the technologies. And I think that is very important.
The second thing I would like to state is that -- again back to the core curriculum, back to the core technology -- I think it is absolutely essential that every teacher in America have a computer on their desk that is linked to the Internet and linked to a wide area network. We hatched a good staff development and great programs prior to doing that, but really to have the change in behavior, the teacher change and the student change in behavior, it was not until we had those computers on their desk and working and every teacher having one that the technology initiative took off. That was the point where the technology took off in our school district.
I think that is important across America, that if you practice skills and don't have that computer backing their classroom to use it with, then that training goes for naught.
Chairman Castle. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, again you are right, your prediction that the growth in technology expenditure by the Federal Government would grow has come ture. In 1998, just in Title III, we spent $584 million, in 1999 it will be $698 million, and the President has asked for $801 million for fiscal year 2000.
Aside from Title III, you can get money from Title I for the Eisenhower program and Goals 2000 for technology. As a matter of fact, I was chief sponsor of Goals 2000. I was Chairman of this Subcommittee then, but the election of 1994 took place. However, there is no one I would rather have take my place than Mike Castle. So the Federal Government does recognize that this is a very important field.
Let me ask a question of those who have filled in for Dr. George. You talked about the certificate program and the knowledge gained during in-service training with technology. Let me see if you two or any at the table can talk about preservice training in technology. Are teacher training institutions leading or following what is happening in technology in our schools?
Mr. Fischer. I think it is a mix, Mr. Congressman. I think that institutions such as Del Tech are being extremely innovative and doing many things to reach out. I think the distinction is among those institutions that see themselves reaching out in the community to generate their market versus those institutions that see themselves waiting for people to come to them. What I think would be great is if there were a program of Federal incentives to lead people to do reaching out. And I think a critical part of that, which obviously Del Tech and the University of Delaware and Del State have done, is go out and ask people in school systems what do you need? It is one thing to create a proficiency, it is another thing to know that that proficiency is useful and practical. And I think that is a critical issue.
What we are constantly striving for, not to make this answer too long, is to have training be useful. Meaning if you are going to train somebody, have them be able to use it in the classroom, and I think that is the constant measure of success that we have to look at.
Mr. Kildee. How important is the Eisenhower program to technology?
Mr. Fischer. I think it is terrific in that it provides a great incentive. What I would want to suggest that you consider is putting a little trailer to it, which is that if people do it, they do long-term training. I think a one-act diagram is problematic. And I think what Del Tech and other institutions have done is to say you don't just do this once and learn it.
My own experience with technology is I had to redo it a whole number of times in order to get the skill, and I am fairly slow at it. But I think the experience is that it is like any skill, it is practice, and there should be an incentive to programs that lead to continuing practice.
Mr. Kildee. If anyone else wants to answer any of these questions, just feel free.
Mr. Sloan. I would add in terms of like schools of library and information science of which and as, you know, the University of Michigan has one of the best programs in the Nation, they have very proactively been engaged in information technology. As a matter of fact, many of the schools have changed their names and hired different types of faculty to make sure that the information science and information technology is a critical part of the core training that librarians are receiving today.
Mr. Kildee. I was very happy last year to get the legislator of the year award from the librarians of Michigan. I have been supporting libraries in my 33 years of public office. By the way, my son, who is a captain and ranger in the Army serving now in Kenya, has just been admitted to the MBA program at the University of Michigan where I went to school. So it is a very good school, and I thank you for your plug there.
Let me ask this question. What percentage of Delaware's library resources are dedicated as on-line resources?
Mr. Sloan. It varies quite a bit, because one of the efforts we have tried to make is to put new monies into the electronic resources rather than carving that out of existing budgets. And so, for example, the UDLib/SEARCH project is especially_is funded completely by the State, next year at $491,000, to provide the databases to all the schools, the middle schools and high schools. And that does not come out of their existing budget.
At the same time the library that we are sitting in_this school has 1500 students. The library we are sitting in has a budget to buy materials of around $20,000 a year. So the budgets are relatively meager in terms of buying print resources. And we certainly did not want to carve the cost of electronic resources out of those budgets, and so we have added money on top of those budgets.
Mr. Hartschuh. I would like to add something on the UDLib/SEARCHes. From the perspective as far as use of the network on the statewide basis, the UDLib/SEARCH is probably the best thing we have going on the statewide basis utilizing the network that we use in the State.
Mr. Smith. I would like to second that as a superintendent. Our teachers and our students find more practicality in the use of this program than anything we have put in schools in a number of years.
Mr. Smith. Could I just introduce, with that kind of praise, we really must introduce Dr. Sandra Millard from the University of Delaware Library, who envisioned the program, put it together, and has really been the champion of this. So thank you, Sandra.
Ms. Millard. Thank you.
Mr. Kildee. Come and visit Michigan, okay.
Let me ask one more question, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Castle. Sure.
Mr. Kildee. Dr. Smith, you talked about the 40 percent local costs of the grant and you felt that maybe 25 percent over a longer period of time might give more permanence to the program. Could you expand on that some?
Mr. Smith. I just know in looking at technology and how long it takes to train staff to get them to be able to use the technology proficiently -- it takes more than a 1 or 2 or 3-year shot, it takes 6 good years to put a technology initiative in and have it internalized and become an established part of your educational program -- I would rather see less funding over a longer period of time and sustained grants for longer periods of time than have one shot of 100 percent funding or something like that come down and then not be able to sustain what we have started.
Mr. Kildee. You think that 25 percent would be enough to entice a school district to come into the program?
Mr. Smith. People would probably disagree with me on that and probably think it should be more. As I look at it, and just from a rural school district and looking at what our needs would be and basing it solely on that, other districts may need more, but just looking at what we would need to really sustain our projects long term for the core technology initiatives, 25 percent would be enough for us to do that.
Mr. Kildee. In the last reauthorization the language we put in was "up to 50 percent", so we have got 40 percent. But we might want to look at that language and see whether we can get input from elsewhere too. Would both of the superintendents concur?
Mr. Fischer. Yes, I think what is being raised here is a very important point. That is, do you value it if you have to put a little money into it yourself, and I think there is a value to that. I think that the role of the Federal Government is to oversee these kinds of projects, not to have to try to pay for them all, and I think in doing that it forces you to think through how committed you are to not only having the technology, but making effective use of it.
Mr. Kildee. Good. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Castle. Thank you, Mr. Kildee, and I happen to agree with that last statement. I think a lot of these Federal programs ought to be seed money and be willing to see what they are willing to do to go along with that. You might find out if they don't get it for nothing, they aren't that interested in it.
Let me thank this panel very, very much for being here. We appreciate it. We appreciate the fill-ins, I don't know if that is the right word or not, for helping Lonnie George, and what you have said is important to us, and we will try to learn from that. So thank you very much.
We will now form up our next panel. Okay. Have we organized?
Ms. Reissman. I think.
Chairman Castle. Let me introduce our witnesses if I may. This is our third, this is our final panel today at this hearing. And the first witness will be Sally Reissman, who is a third grade teacher at Lombardy Elementary School in Wilmington, Delaware.
It is my understanding that Ms. Reissman is working towards her Master's Degree in education technology, and that she is very involved in setting up a program at Wilmington College in coordination with Brandywine School District in the use of technology in the classroom. I hope that is all correct.
The second witness will be Mr. Charles, (Ted) Ammann. Is that how you say it, Ammann?
Mr. Ammann. Yes.
Chairman Castle. Who is the technology projects specialist for the Capital School District in Dover, Delaware. Mr. Ammann is the coordinator for a very innovative program underway in the Capital School District called the Lightspan program. It is my understanding that the Lightspan program is showing great promise for the integration of technology into the classroom, which is important, of course, and we look forward to hearing Mr. Ammann's testimony about this exciting program. Mr. Rodney Rivera is here with us and he is a former student of our host right here, Glasgow High School. He is now a student at the University of Delaware studying technology. We have asked Rodney to describe how he has been benefitted from the integration of technology into the classroom. We have also asked him to describe for us how the use of technology has prepared him for studies at the University of Delaware.
Mr. Mark Schonbach is here. We have met before, as a matter of fact, at another occasion at his school. He is a student at the Charter School of Wilmington, in Wilmington, Delaware. The Charter School of Wilmington is an innovative charter school with an emphasis on high economics, particularly in math and science. We have asked Mark to describe how technology has helped him in his school work and how he has benefitted generally from his incorporation in the classroom.
The same basic rules apply. You should take approximately 5 minutes to state whatever you wish, and then we can take a few minutes to ask you a questions about that.
We will start with Sallie, who I think has some technology to show us.
STATEMENT OF MS. SALLIE REISSMAN, TEACHER, LOMBARDY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE
Ms. Reissman. Oh, no, I don't, but I think he does. I would like to though. I have a lot of my students' work. I would like to thank you, Congressman Castle, for inviting me to speak today.
I am a third grade teacher at Lombardy Elementary School in the Brandywine School District, and I am also pursuing my Master's in Applied Technology in Education from Wilmington College.
Wilmington College offered two scholarships to every school district in the State, free scholarships to two teachers to get them started in this technology program, which I thought was a wonderful idea on their behalf. I enjoy using technology in my classroom. I would like to share with you today some of the things that I have done in my classroom.
I don't consider myself a computer expert. I have had a computer in my home for several years, and I have learned to use_actually my husband is better at it than I am. But I have given a lot of thought to the question that you posed in the beginning about accessing technology in the future for schools, and access, I think Dr. Smith had said earlier, it needs to be on the teacher's desk foremost.
Many of the schools, like I don't have a computer at my desk that I can access. I have two computers at little workstations for the children, but the teacher needs the computer at their desk. And the reason I say that is because a fair amount of the time spent for a teacher is after the children leave, planning your plans, preparing information.
I started using my home computer for grades and letters to parents, lesson plans, worksheets, tests and charts like that. It made my life easier. I was able to create professional-looking documents and materials and to strengthen my computer skills at the same time.
Most importantly, I became a more productive teacher for my students. And as we all know, the teacher is the most influential element in the student's life, so anything that helps the teacher also helps the students.
Regardless of whether a teacher has a computer at home or at their desk, they have to have accessible software. And software in the schools, there is all different kinds of software out there. Management systems, like they said in Milford. Our school doesn't have that right now, but the packages have to be MacIntosh and Windows compatible, so if a teacher has MacIntosh at home or a Windows platform they can use the software either way, to then use it in a classroom.
The computer entered the world of education with the idea that it was going to help, and that every child would have a computer in front of them. But that is not an end to itself. Technology is definitely a tool, and a goal of technology integration into the classroom and curriculum is not to expose the students to the computers, but to have the computers become a tool for the teachers and the students to use for the educational purpose.
Technology, of course, can be the overhead projector, the computer, it could be a calculator. I have created a lot of different materials to use in my classroom with a computer, like colorful overhead transparencies that print out, graphics, time lines, worksheets, different things like that.
I communicate with my parents weekly with a computer-generated newsletter, and they have given me a lot of feedback that they enjoy having something professional looking. I always tell them what is going on in the classroom with this report.
Back in the early 1800s, you know, they thought that the chalkboard was the craze, and that it was going to make the difference in the classroom. I have a little quote here, the age of illustration upon us and illustrate we must if we hope to gain and hold the attention of young and old. So times really haven't changed.
My school recently acquired a TV that you can hook easily into the back of the computer in the classroom so that they can have the kids come to the rug and then listen to your instruction and have like a PowerPoint presentation up on the screen so the children can see what you are trying to show them, and so that they can then go to the computer lab or the computers in your classroom and understand what you are trying to teach.
I have spent the bulk of this time talking about how a computer could help the teacher, but it also does help the students. My school has a lab that has 15 computers. They decided that_last year they had 30 computers. They decided to take those computers out and put them in the classroom. I know that they said that all the schools are wired, and thank you to Delaware for doing that.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of classrooms that don't have one computer in their classroom yet, and so they may have like a library or a computer lab with 15 or 30 computers for the children to come to once a week, but they still need the computers in the classroom.
They receive instructional word processing in the lab that we have, how to use the Internet, software application, skill and drill and other activities like that. Most teachers in schools use the computer for reward or remediation. And I would like to see the teachers instructed, as I am becoming instructed, on how to integrate the curriculum that they already have and use the computer as a tool to enhance it.
So far this year, I have e-mail pals which are called keypals, where my children send letters back and forth, e-mail messages back and forth to students in Australia, and they are very excited about that.
So it integrates the letter writing that I am trying to do in a classroom. So they e-mail back and forth, and they talk about the culture and differences.
I have created a website for my classroom and each child is allowed to make like a little bio to put on the website about themselves. The parents can then access my website and find out information. So that has been very helpful.
I have started HyperStudio is an authoring software that our school is evaluating, and I have the students in my class using it in partners. And you should see them, they are so excited when they get to go to the computers to do the HyperStudio activities.
I had a little boy come in with a stack of National Geographics this high and we were studying the human body, but he says, Mrs. Reissman, I really want to do something on national disasters. Well, he made 16 cards, which is a great deal of information, and he had everything from earthquakes to tornadoes.
I don't have statistics, other than what I see. They thoroughly enjoy having the computer there, but it is the teacher that has to train the child how to use it properly. Just getting on the computer and playing isn't going to benefit the child with the curriculum.
We also have different programs like Oregon Trail. When I was teaching the children about colonial times and the frontiers, they got on there and they use the Oregon Trail to understand that curriculum better.
I would like to add before I finish that technology is not just the computer or the Internet. In previous years, I have also had my students engaged in making videotapes of something called book chasers that we titled it. It is like reading rainbow videos where they critique a book that they have read.
We have also done clay animation, kind of like a Gumby movie and using videotapes and taping for that, recording a book on tape or building an igloo from recycled milk jugs. Technology is everything from the chalkboard to the computer. And as curriculum becomes standardized, the technology made available to teachers will only enhance their instruction.
Teachers and children will learn to use their tools to become productive educators and members of our society. We need to place a computer on every teacher's desk and provide training for proper integration. As more households purchase a computer, the gap will close. The future educators will have grown up from birth. But a teacher will always be needed to guide our children with whatever tools the future may present.
[The statement of Ms. Reissman follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. SALLIE REISSMAN, TEACHER, LOMBARDY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX G
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much, Ms. Reissman, we appreciate that a great deal. We look forward to talking to you a little more here. Mr. Ammann.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES AMMANN, TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS SPECIALIST, CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, DOVER, DELAWARE
Mr. Ammann. Good morning, members of the Committee and members of the legislative and educational community present here. I am honored to have an opportunity to share with you information regarding our Technology Innovation Challenge Grant entitled the Capital School District, State of Delaware Interactive Educational Television Consortium, quite a long title.
The Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program has awarded 82 large-scale developmental projects intended to produce carefully designed and evaluated practices and products. These products and practices can be disseminated on a national basis for local adoption or adaptation by schools and districts. A variety of other Federal, State and local funding sources, such as the Literacy Challenge Funds, Title I and Goals 2000 can be used to fund the local adaptations of these products.
The challenge grant projects are competitive grants to consortia of schools, businesses and universities across the country. The projects have become a highly valued resource for schools seeking technology solutions to meet educational needs. President Clinton awarded our Technical Challenge Grant in October of 1995 as one of the original 19 grants. President Clinton encouraged us to work together to help our schools to use technology to revolutionize American education so that all children will be able to learn better and teachers will be able to be more effective.
The Capital School District Consortium Grant was conceived to address a number of issues prevalent in many school reform movements. Using technology, we are bridging homes and schools in a variety of ways to meet four main goals. Goals are: Extending the school day, increasing parent involvement, providing equity in technology distribution, and also providing in-service to much on the integration of technology.
As with any reform movement, an overriding goal is that of increasing student achievement. And I will address that shortly. As emphasized by the Department of Education Challenge Grant Program Director, Thomas Carroll, the grant money was intended to be seed money. This money would serve as a catalyst for public and private sectors to work together to make an impact in the educational technology arena. As such, the implementation of this grant relies heavily on the partnership of schools, businesses, and school communities.
A significant partner, the Lightspan Partnership, provides three components that utilize the latest technology. The grant prides itself on bringing these commercial technology applications to the educational community as they are released.
The previous technologies, they were commonplace in the business and entertainment sector for years before they would find their way into the schools. You hear the story about overhead projectors being in bowling alleys many, many years before they were even in classrooms. The primary component consists of interactive educational software that keeps in perspective that a child's work is play. Most significant is that the software is available in the classroom computers as well as portable devices that can be sent to the student's home.
It is in my capacity as the technology project specialist that I am here today. I have been coordinating the implementation of this reform project in schools throughout Delaware. With 36 schools and more than 400 teachers in the project, training is of paramount importance. Prior evaluation results indicated that technology can't be implemented merely using a proximal approach. Having the technology in close proximity to the teachers and students doesn't ensure that it will be used appropriately. I work with educational consultants and teacher trainers to coordinate the training of teachers and parents to use these resources effectively.
While I see the positive influence that this grant has provided to teachers, to parents, and to students on a daily basis, more telling is the documented research report completed by Dr. Susan Giancola, a senior associate for Evaluation of the Delaware Education Research and Development Center at the University of Delaware. At this point I would like to focus on that report and share with you its findings. The focus of the 5-year evaluation is to provide information regarding how well the project has met its objectives. Researchers have been measuring the project’s progress towards these objectives using a variety of methods, including increasing learning time through parent involvement.
Many parents whose children participate in the project reported that the amount of time their child spends watching TV has decreased significantly since the involvement with the project. Further, about one-third of parents indicated that the amount of time that the child spends during school work has increased and has_as has the amount of time the child spends participating in family activities.
The students confirmed the parent findings as almost half of the students said that they like the program so much that they would rather use the software than watch television. In fact, students who use the software programs at home with a grown-up said they like the programs even more than the students who worked individually.
Parents have been pleased to be a part of this exciting project, and supporting testimony from parents who have participated have shared their experiences. Kristine Simon of Dover, Delaware, a single parent of two children involved in the project, said before becoming involved in the grant, homework and reading practice was a fight to the bitter and frustrating end. Those of you who have students and children at home may know about this.
She went on to claim that the Challenge Grant is exciting enough to grab and hold the attention of both of her children. Parents of students involved in the project throughout the State have expressed similar sentiments. Diane Albanese, a parent in the Cape Henlopen School District, noted that her son, Alex, came home one day and told her they had a "eyeball" in the classroom; that is, his third grade class would be featured on the Internet. Sure enough when she connected with the H.O. Brittingham website, provided by the grant, there they were, Mrs. Joseph and the class, learning about spelling and doing math activities. She was fascinated watching her children learn, and that was precisely the effect that was intended.
A teacher stated it definitely brought more parents into the school setting and into finding out what is going on in the school. Some of the families that became involved in the project are families that may not have typically been involved in school activities.
Equitable access to technology: In the past few years, technology has become a commodity. The gap between the haves and the have-nots will dramatically increase if equity concerns are not addressed at the local school level. Some families will be able to provide the technology for their students while others, due to a lack of resources, will not be able to.
The consortium has devoted its effort to include at least one school in every Delaware district with elementary school students grades K through 4. These schools were selected based upon having the greatest percentage of free and reduced lunch price eligibility. These students are the ones at greatest risk with the fewest resources to acquire technology in all of its promise.
Improved achievement. Reading and mathematics achievement tests were administered to students. They were given the Stanford9 open-ended format in both the Fall and the Spring. Second graders increased their math and reading test scores significantly over the course of the year. Student achievement scores were further analyzed in relation to a national population. Students significantly increased both their reading and mathematics achievement scores in relation to this reference population. In fact, on average the students outperformed 15 percent more of the students in the reference group in the spring, raising the average percentile score by 15 points. And that was based on a very short rotation because it was early in the project. On the math assessment, students increased their standing by an average of 14 percentile points. With such significant results, we have submitted another Challenge Grant proposal that would include an estimated 2800 additional children from the lowest income families who currently live in public housing projects.
In closing, the Capital School District, State of Delaware Challenge Grant has been able to serve the needs of 10,250 students and families from 36 participating schools. More than 400 teachers had taken part in the project receiving a total of over 1,000 days of staff development. This has translated into a new paradigm of integrating technology not only into their school day but into their homes as well. More than 700 classroom computers have been provided, along with software that is instructionally in line with Delaware and National standards. Without the significant contributions made to these schools through the challenge grant, many of these opportunities would not have been made available.
The Innovation Challenge Grant Program focuses on development and dissemination of promising practices and products that use technology to improve teaching and learning. The competitive process used in funding this project ensures that our consortium goals were in line with the major program indicators outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. These indicators were to target under-served populations, serve as a major professional development resource, leverage partnerships with business and industry, and emphasize the evaluation of technology impact on learning. We have met this challenge.
Chairman Castle. Good. Well, thank you, Mr. Amman, we appreciate those comments, and we appreciate talking to you a little more too.
[The statement of Mr. Ammann follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES AMMANN, TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS SPECIALIST, CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, DOVER, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX H
Chairman Castle. We will go to Mr. Rivera. And now we are ending a part of this program which is very important, because we now have two students who have used technology and can tell us, do all of these things that we, as Congress, and you, as teachers, and the administrators over here, are talking about: Is it really working, or are we off on a wrong track and should we be doing it a different way?
So you two, and maybe the students at Newark High School who are still with us, become very important people in terms of straightening out the adults, in terms: Are we really helping you with your educations? It is up to you. Mr. Rivera
STATEMENT OF MR. RODNEY RIVERA, FORMER STUDENT, GLASGOW HIGH SCHOOL, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, BEAR, DELAWARE
Mr. Rivera. Good afternoon, Members of the Committee. The use of technology in the classroom has enhanced my education and created opportunities that have led me to be a successful student and successful in my personal life.
As a freshman in high school, I used the technology for learning the basics of computer programming. My teacher allowed me to progress through at my own pace through the course. This freedom allowed me to excel and move through the material without having to wait for the rest of the class. Also during my sophomore year, I was offered the opportunity to create and maintain the Glasgow High School Web Page.
This job gave me a chance to build and expand upon my knowledge of the programming languages and techniques. Through these experiences, I have been able to learn the necessary techniques for computer programming that I still use today in my college Computer Science classes.
In my junior year, I was able to participate in the planning and installation of technology into the classrooms at Glasgow High School. Each classroom at Glasgow received 3 computers to be used for Internet access, word processing, and other educational software. Our library's own catalog was placed on-line which enabled me to do research for projects both with Glasgow's library and other libraries throughout the State.
My senior year, the software was being purchased as a supplement for the school's textbooks. Unfortunately, the software arrived too late for the teachers to begin integrating it into their curriculum for my senior year.
As I returned this year to speak with my former teachers, they showed me their new software and how they had integrated it into their curriculum.
My Physics teacher purchased interactive software which enabled students to construct systems of inclined planes, pulleys and weights. The software animates how the systems work and gives instantaneous values for each value of the system. The Chemistry teacher also integrated his computers into the labs so the students could use the hardware and the software purchased to achieve more accurate and precise measurements while performing experiments.
I have witnessed the students using both of these technologies to their advantage in the classroom. Though technology is beginning to be integrated into the classroom, there are still some major issues that need to be addressed. There are still a large percentage of teachers not making an attempt to integrate the technology into the classroom. Part of the problem results from the lack of funding for software needed to integrate the technology into the classroom. The other problem is the teacher not understanding how to use the technology, thus resulting in the lack of knowledge on how to integrate the technology into his curriculum.
The final problem with the technology in the classroom is the lack of technical support. As a former student at Glasgow High School and part of the current technology support team for the Christina School District, I can see that there are many machines that need repair. The two and a half employees contracted/employed by the district cannot keep up with the number of repairs needed in our schools.
The idleness of the computers are due to the lack of response time for repair. This discourages teachers from trying to integrate technology into their classrooms. I believe added technical support and training for the teachers will increase the percentage of teachers integrating technology into the classroom. I believe these two things will increase technology usage in the classroom.
I would like to thank you for the chance to speak before you today.
Chairman Castle. Thank you very much Mr. Rivera, we appreciate you being here today. We hope you didn't have to miss too much of school being here. It is always a concern with students, but we do appreciate you being here today.
[The statement of Mr. Rivera follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. RODNEY RIVERA, FORMER STUDENT, GLASGOW HIGH SCHOOL, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, BEAR, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX I
Chairman Castle. And our final witness, again, the cleanup hitter on this crowd, is a young man who I know has a great deal of knowledge about computers, because I have spoken about it before and saw him in action. We look forward to hearing from Mr. Schonbach.
STATEMENT OF MR. MARK SCHONBACH, STUDENT, THE CHARTER SCHOOL OF WILMINGTON, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE
Mr. Schonbach. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Member of the Subcommittee. Thank you for this opportunity to speak before you today. My name is Mark Schonbach and I am a Junior at the Charter School of Wilmington here in Delaware. Charter was founded in 1996 as a math, science, and technical-based charter school. I began attending the schools as a Freshman at that time.
Over the past 2-1/2 years, I have benefited tremendously from the use of technology in the classroom and at the school. I have come here to describe some of these benefits and to make some recommendations for expanding access to technology in the classroom.
Starting from my very first tour of the school, I knew that Charter was different from any school I had seen. There were computers everywhere and TVs and laser disks and calculators. Although all of this technology is not absolutely essential, it certainly does make learning easier, faster, and more fun. Take, for example, in Calculus class, the teacher asked us to plot a graph, we all pull out our graphing calculators, which can be leased from the school at very little cost, and obtain an accurate representation of the intended graph. Now, we could do this manually on graph paper, but it takes away valuable instruction time and could possibly be inaccurate.
Another example is in Chemistry class, the teacher is talking about bonding shapes. Everyone can look at the pictures in the book for hours and still not understand what the shapes are and what they mean. However, she turns on the laser disk and it shows all of the different animated shapes to demonstrate their dimensions. One could never get that from a textbook.
My third example comes from the computer lab. As assistant web master of our school's web page club, I am able to use our school's modern computers to add to and update our school's site. Students, parents, faculty, and community members all visit the site to keep up on school news, information about courses and activities, and even post messages to and from each other. Often as the web master and I are updating the site after school in the computer lab, we have the opportunity to assist students using the computers to research topics for their school work.
Now, I have several recommendations as to how we can improve access to technology. First, I would like to see every student have his or her own computer, preferably a laptop. There were some concerns expressed before about how these computers can be prevented from being stolen, but as I was speaking with the President of the school, Mr. Russo, this morning, he indicated that was not the primary concern, but damage possibly was.
Now, there are some pretty rugged laptops out there. I have to say that could be possibly investigated to alleviate this concern. Also, using this laptop, which can be transported to home, to school, on vacation with the student, and so on, we need to purchase textbooks on CDs or DVDs. These textbooks cannot only contain the entire text of a textbook, but also all of the multimedia functions previously described such as audio, video, laboratory investigations, and so on.
One other thing that we need to mention is that the teachers need to be trained. We have plenty of computers in our school. But from personal experiences, I, with a couple of friends, have hosted several after-school seminars for teachers on the use of technology in the Internet. These teachers really don't know how to use it, and we need to really concentrate on how to train them.
And my last recommendation as both a cost-saving and effectiveness measure is the use of open-source software such as the operating system Linux. Linux, which is based on UNIX, is an alternative to Windows that will run on machines with Intel processors. It has many software applications. It is powerful, very secure, and has many knowledgable people to offer support, and it is free. Yep, it is free. Not only is it free, most applications for it are free, requiring only a simple download.
I ask you to consider my recommendations as I feel that they will benefit many future students all across the country. I want to thank you for allowing me to speak today. I hope my experiences and recommendations will be beneficial to you and your reconsideration. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have on this subject. Thank you.
[The statement of Mr. Schonbach follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. MARK SCHONBACH, STUDENT, THE CHARTER SCHOOL OF WILMINGTON, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – SEE APPENDIX J
Chairman Castle. Well, thank you very much, Mark. We appreciate your being here and your testimony. And we look forward to asking you questions.
I don't know about our technology on this -- we are losing the kids in Newark anyhow, as they go to any of their of classes. I wanted to ask if any one of them wanted to make a comment. Is there anyone down there who can hear us that would like to say what we should be doing in Congress? Do we have a volunteer?
Student. We wanted to make some points in regard to some websites. I will sit down. We heard people make some comment earlier about how websites can be used to access grades. There are some schools that are wonderful examples of that, they include Carmel website in California and Baldwin High website in Georgia. I learned some information about that. After researching this program called ISIS, it is a company that costs about $3,000 to install on our systems here where the parents can get on with a password. On the Internet, they can access grades and attendance with the previous classes so they can know exactly when the person skipped class, for example. And you get the profile of every student, all kinds of different information.
Chairman Castle. Let me ask you a question, is that something that a majority of the students at Newark High School would vote to have happen, to have their parents have that kind of access or not? I am just sort of kidding when I say that.
That is actually very interesting, any other comments you all want to make? You have been listening in quite a while.
Let us let this gentleman speak, and we will come back to our witnesses here.
Student. I was wondering if there was going to be any effort to give students home access to UDLib/SEARCH as opposed to only in-school access. It is a useful tool for research papers and other such topics.
Chairman Castle. We are going to have somebody who really knows the answer to this question answer it for you.
Audience Member. The access at home is really dependent upon the State network. We have been talking recently to Peter Lavina who is the Director of Telecommunications. And I think they are working hard at trying to come up with a way to provide home access, but it is really an expansion of the entire State network. And so that is really not so much dependent upon UDLib/SEARCH but as the State network expands.
Chairman Castle. Okay. One more, and we will have to make this the final statement from Newark.
Student. This will be very quick. One thing I would like to see happen with Federal monies is I think in too many cases there are too many strings to just buy hardware, and we need to have more software. And we also need to have more maintenance agreements for the hardware running. I think this is something that not too many people understand.
Chairman Castle. That is helpful for us here, this is what we are here for. This is sort of new to us, too, as we try to find our way amongst the things we should be doing. We appreciate all of your comments. We appreciate all of you sitting in too. You know when you are not live, it is not quite the same, but you have done a good job, and you have helped us with your comments. And we do appreciate that.
Let us go to questions of the witnesses. I want to start, Sallie, with you. And that is, listening to your testimony, you sound as if you were a person who was not that computer literate and then you got a computer at home, learned a little bit in school, and then you finally went to college and learned something about computers.
Ms. Reissman. Right.
Chairman Castle. What about the other teachers, where are they with respect to their computer knowledge and base as compared to you? And is that a problem in terms of the use of computers in classrooms?
Ms. Reissman. Yes. I would say in my school there is probably three other teachers that feel comfortable with a computer. Now, they use the computers, but a lot of times they will_we have a lab tech in the computer lab that will help. She actually teaches a lesson to the children during their computer time. And so they will just let her teach a lesson. Where the school I was in last year, at Lancaster, the teachers came in and taught the lesson.
And so what happened is the lab tech would teach the lesson, the teachers would even step away further from stepping up to the computer.
Chairman Castle. So what Mark has said here is correct?
Ms. Reissman. Oh, yes.
Chairman Castle. There are many, many teachers who really are not up to speed?
Ms. Reissman. Too many.
Chairman Castle. You talk about scholarships at Wilmington College, that was two students I recall per year or something of that nature. Are there students who try to bring the teachers up to significant speed so they can work with the kids on the computers, and is this necessary if they do not exist?
Ms. Reissman. If who does?
Chairman Castle. Are there programs in place in your school district through Delaware, or whatever, to bring the teachers up to speed or up to the ability of being able to really utilize the computers and technology and their ability to teach the students?
Ms. Reissman. Well, there are, like with the teacher-center type workshops where it doesn't cost anything to go to a workshop on say Power Point or different programs like that. There aren't enough. There is plenty you can pay for in the university, Del Tech, and Wilmington College. The thing I would like to see is more in-service. Right now there has been so much with the curriculum and accountability and things like that, that sometimes the technology goes by the wayside. So a lot of the teachers have to do it on their own because of their interests. But it is not mandatory.
Chairman Castle. So there is still a deficiency there, and it is still something we have to look at. And it is not mandatory at this point?
Ms. Reissman. Definitely.
Chairman Castle. Okay. Let me ask you a question about the University of Delaware. And I imagine it is typical, maybe it is a little more technically-oriented than some schools. Do you feel that they are up to speed in the terms of the use or availability of computers and what is happening there? I am trying to get a look at our college and university levels, as opposed to anything that happened at Glasgow or in our high schools like that?
Mr. Rivera. I do believe they are up to par. Their computer is accessible at any point on campus. There are many labs around that anyone can use up to 12:00, 1:00 o'clock at night, and they open 8:00 in the morning. So accessibility is there. Each dorm room is wired so that they can connect to the Internet if they have a computer.
Chairman Castle. So the colleges are making a pretty substantial commitment to all of this based on what you have seen?
Mr. Rivera. Yes.
Chairman Castle. At least the college you are going to.
Mark, let me ask you a question. Let me tell you about Ms. Buckles, which I talked about before. Dale may have told me about it, but she taught me diagramming in 7th grade. I must say when I was in 7th grade, I wasn't that pleased with Ms. Buckles. She scared the devil out of me, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it through that particular grade. But I actually still remember how to diagram a little bit. There are a lot of things I don't remember at all. She was a tough teacher.
She would go to the chalkboard and she would mark things up, and you learned it. If you didn't learn it, you stayed after school and learned it. And at some point she came across. This is back a few years ago, and she didn't have a computer and probably didn't know anything about computers at that point.
My belief is that there are teachers who can teach without technology, and perhaps it is not necessary to have every teacher well versed in technology. And you are absolutely right, I am sure there are a lot of teachers who you and others could, and certainly Rodney could, teach a lot to about the use of technology in computers.
But from your educational experiences, would you say that there are teachers who perhaps can do a good job and that the technology is not absolutely essential for each and every teacher and every course that you take.
Mr. Schonbach. Absolutely. I would say probably 4 out of the 7 teachers I have don't use technology on a regular basis. I mean especially in -- I don't want to put these down at all -- but especially in like Humanities courses where it is mainly, like in history course where you are reading out of a textbook, like watching movies or whatever, it helps, but it is not absolutely essential. And in English courses, again, it is not essential.
But then there is the obvious like Computer Science courses where it is pretty much essential, unless you are talking about just general structure rather than actual programming. And definitely in Math courses, it helps. And in Science courses, like laboratory sciences like Chemistry and Physics, it is definitely an asset.
Chairman Castle. Actually, you are making an interesting point. I imagine we can get some agreement, if we talk to everybody in the whole room and that is everybody, and that is depending on which subject matter you are talking about, the use of computers may be a heck of a lot more important in one subject than in another. I mean that is something actually we should be paying a little more attention to. Mr. Ammann, you said something that caught my attention that I wanted to go over with you and that was -- you mentioned student achievement, measurable student achievement. That is very interesting to me.
Can you either reiterate that or expand on it a little bit? Are you suggesting that you have looked at measurable standards by the use of computer in terms of how students are doing? Are there other variables that really can't be stated yet? Because I worry we are doing all of this and we come to the end and we find, oh, yeah, we have wired all the rooms, we put computers in and we sent our teachers to college to learn about computers, but it didn't really make any difference in terms of students' achievement.
And that concerns us all, frankly in Washington. We put together these programs, and we are not sure in the long run if they are really working in terms of helping our students along. And I would be interested in any comments you have about that subject.
Mr. Ammann. As I said, it is a yearly evaluation we do on pre- and post-testing to these students and compared their schools to National averages. And the theory being that they should stay in the same relation to their peers without any interventions. We have 36 schools now around the State, and this would be the only program that is consistent among all of those schools.
So while you can't say it is the only thing that is attributing that 15 percent increase or that 15 percentile rise, it is something that definitely had an impact on that. This year, we are looking more closely at what the factors are to make this program so successful, whether it is the home component or the software in the classroom and things like that.
Chairman Castle. Good, interesting. Mr. Kildee.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I, too, taught diagramming, Mr. Chairman. However, I am not old enough to be your teacher.
Chairman Castle. Even without computers.
Mr. Kildee. As a matter of fact, in my final examinations for my advanced class, I would give a Hemingway sentence and a Dostoyevsky sentence and see if my students could diagram those sentences. Even today, with my staff -- never work for a former Latin teacher -- I will send a letter back to a staff member and say parallel thought demands parallel construction. Often they don't have any idea what I am talking about.
But let me ask this question, in directing our resources in technology, what should the balance be between additional equipment and professional development? Let us go to the professionals and then to the students and see if they can try to answer that.
We have Federal resources and we are trying to improve technology, and there are two ways of improving it, through equipment and professional development. If you can talk about the relationship between the two, what should the balance be?
Ms. Reissman. Well, I don't know how you would do it other than 50/50, only because the teacher_what will happen is with the parents, the children that are growing up with computers now will be the teachers of the future. And they will have that, part of the computers as part of their life. And it will be so much easier for them to integrate anything of computers with the curriculum.
But at the moment, for right now, we definitely need to have the teachers taught how to use the computer in the classroom properly and to integrate the curriculum with this tool. But you still have all of these children like my daughter, for instance, who is in 5th grade, who can create a Web page like that. And so she needs to have the access in school, as these gentlemen have, to become more productive students.
Mr. Kildee. Mr. Ammann.
Mr. Ammann. I think in the most ideal setting, technology as seamless and transparent as possible and just funding hardware it is a tool and it is a special thing. It is now part of the daily, just like paper, pencils and pens. So I think that what we do whenever we buy hardware is we make sure we purchase training and staff development to go along with it so we can assure that the teachers will use it. We get training for base textbooks; we make sure we have training for the technology also.
Chairman Castle. Mr. Rivera.
Mr. Rivera. I would have to agree with both of them. For now I believe that you need an equal balance of both, but I believe later on we won't need as much training as we do right now.
Mr. Kildee. Mr. Schonbach.
Mr. Schonbach. I am going to have to be the low dissenter. I think what we need more of is a two-term solution. Right now we have all the infrastructure; we have the hardware being purchased and donated. What we need to concentrate on right now is the training. And then as we get more training in to match the hardware, then we can take it down to a 50/50 mix.
Mr. Kildee. If I may ask another question, Mr. Chairman, it is kind of a follow-through on your question to Mr. Rivera. How does the use of technology in high school compare to its use in college?
Mr. Rivera. Currently in college, there is more use of the technologies. It is better integrated into the college courses than it is in the high school courses right now. Most of my classes at some point do use the computers, my Math class, my Physics class. In college right now, we use the computers on a frequent basis. We have labs too that are done with the computers. Whereas in the high school, it is not mandatory that we have to type up a lab or use the computers to evaluate functions and things like that.
Chairman Castle. Is that because of better professional development or because of better equipment at the university level?
Mr. Rivera. I believe it is both.
Mr. Kildee. Both. May I ask one more question? Mr. Schonbach, you attend a charter school that specializes in science and technology. You really have significant contact with cutting edge technology and I assume professionally trained teachers in technology. How does that compare to your friends who attend other schools, other types of schools.
Mr. Schonbach. It really feels quite the same actually. Yeah, we have the more emphasis on the math and science, but then you look at Cab Calloway, which is a different school, it is out of space and down in our basement. And we actually share classes with them. We give them_if they have a couple of students that need the advance, we let them come up into our classes. If they have a couple of students they want_take a dance class or an arts class, we go down there and take them. So it is really, you know, we give and we take and it is all pretty much the same.
Mr. Kildee. Would your building have more equipment? You share a building with another non-charter school?
Mr. Schonbach. Right.
Mr. Kildee. Would your building have more equipment than other schools in your district or about the same?
Mr. Schonbach. It is about the same. I mean we have the standard equipment that everyone has. I mean we have allocated_we are sponsored by six local corporations and they give us some funds which we have allocated for technology and other things that a normal public school may have or may not have or may be allocated through the district, which we don't have. So I guess it is all really relative on what the district or individual school has allocated their funds for.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you very much. Thank you Mr. Chairman, and I thank the panel.
Chairman Castle. Let me ask a quick follow-up question, what Mr. Rivera said about the University of Delaware is interesting. They are well integrated in terms of the use of technology and people's expertise in it.
Mark, when you go to choose a college, is that something you will look at or maybe you are looking at Computer Science as a study in addition to that; I don't know, but is that -- I mean will you fundamentally ask those questions or maybe you already have, in determining what the colleges have?
Mr. Schonbach. Yeah, actually that is one of the things I have been investigating in doing my research. Several of the college guides I have actually rank, actually have listings of schools based on, you know, how many Internet terminals and what percentage of the students and faculty use computers. And that is definitely going to be an integral part of my decision.
Chairman Castle. So it is a factor in college decisions at least in your case and probably in the case of a number of other students too.
Mr. Schonbach. Absolutely.
Chairman Castle. And you probably run into the same thing with the kids you met?
Mr. Rivera. Yes.
Chairman Castle. Let me thank this panel very, very much.
I don't mean to embarrass anybody, but we have a student from Christina High School here, and we gave the students from Newark time to say anything. I don't know if you want to say anything or not. She is indicating no.
And we have some Glasgow students here, I understand. Can you put your hands up and let us see -- you have been coming out, I guess, between classes when you get your time to get here. We appreciate your being here. I know you didn't hear a lot of all that went on.
We also appreciate the use of your library and the fact -- and Rodney here, by the way, is a Glasgow graduate -- that you seem to be up to speed from a technical point of view which we appreciate.
And with that, I think we are ready to bring the hearing to a close. But let me turn to Mr. Kildee for any final comments or anything he wishes to say.
Mr. Kildee. Again I want to thank all the panels for their testimony today. This panel was particularly good. I always like to listen to the customers, the students, they are the ones who education is all about. And both of you have done an excellent job in helping us understand what our role in Washington should be.
I want to also thank Governor Castle. As I said, he is not only a personal friend, but a great, outstanding Member of Congress. If I can't be the Chairman, there is no better Chairman than Governor Castle. I don't travel a lot in my congressional career, but when Governor Castle asked me to come to Delaware for this hearing, there is no way I could say no to him.
Thank you, Governor.
Chairman Castle. Let me thank Mr. Kildee in turn. As I said at the beginning, I think all who have been here understand why I said it, but Mr. Kildee's background in education and his experience on this Committee over many, many years is an indication of his belief in our young people and in the importance of education in terms of giving everybody an opportunity.
We happen to share that belief. If you weren't here earlier, you might not have heard he has not missed a Congress since 1984.
Mr. Kildee. 1985.
Chairman Castle. 1986, which is the longest running record of any Member of Congress. I would like to state for the record that I have over a 99 percent voting record, but I am not 100 percent for a small variety of reasons, but major reasons, I couldn't make 100 percent.
In any event, we appreciate him being here, and we also appreciate the staff people coming from Washington to join us and help coordinate this. Let me again emphasize the importance of hearings like this. This is not just those of us who are present. This testimony is analyzed by staff. It is sent out to the various Members and to their staffs who will also look at it.
We are generalists, I think it is fair to say, we are going to be worried about Kosovo in another couple of hours probably. We are going to worry about the budget tomorrow. We are going to worry about an environmental bill the day after, whatever it may be, and so we can't always focus on just education or just technology. So it is very important for us to have those of you who look at this in a more focused way, come in and share your information with us.
I am proud of everybody from Delaware today. I think you have added a lot to our Committee and to the future. Tom Sloan is probably dieing to have me repeat that; I think he has a program outside for us to look at, which he mentioned earlier in his testimony. So I hope everybody will have a chance to do that.
[The statement of Dr. Stack follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. WESNER STACK, SUPERVISOR OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, MILFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT, MILFORD, DELAWARE
Chairman Castle. Again, to everybody who joined us by video, to all of you who are able to be here as witnesses, and, particularly, to those who participated as those testifying before us, we are very appreciative of that. And with that, the Committee stands adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:45 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]