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LARSON'S BILL TO IMPROVE TEACHING STANDARDS FOR TECHNOLOGY PART OF SCIENCE COMMITTEE HEARING TODAYEx

June 13, 2000
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2000

LARSON'S BILL TO IMPROVE TEACHING STANDARDS FOR TECHNOLOGY PART OF SCIENCE COMMITTEE HEARING TODAY
Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children to testify in support of Larson's bill

WASHINGTON - A proposal that would provide tutoring for teachers in the uses of classroom technology, and would develop a comprehensive approach to providing technologically competent teachers to our nation's schools, which was developed by U.S. Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) was discussed during a hearing held today by the House Science Committee.

Larson, who is a former high school teacher, stated, "According to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, we are going to need two million new teachers during the next ten years. I believe, as I am sure most of you would agree, that no piece of technology could supplant a highly trained teacher. Therefore, the question we must answer is: Are our universities and professional development programs adequately preparing our future and present teachers to be digitally fluent and capable of integrating voice, video, and data technology into their daily lesson plans and curriculum?"

He continued, "I am hopeful that through today's hearing we will be able to shed some light on how to best train our teachers to enhance education in a digital society, and that our dialogue today will offer solutions to the issues that affect our public schools."

Testifying at today's hearing in support of Larson's proposal and the need for technology education in general, was Janice M. Gruendel, Ph.D. who is the Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children. Her organization is a statewide non-profit, nonpartisan citizen organization. It is dedicated to improving the lives of Connecticut's children through policy research and analysis of citizens, policymakers, and the media, and citizen action and youth leadership.

Gruendel spoke in support of technology education in grades K-12, and the National Science Education Enhancement Act (H.R. 4272), in which Larson's technology training for teachers proposal is included.

She stated, "Whether we are promoting math, science or technology education, technology is and will continue to be a fundamental tool."

U.S. Congressman Vernon Ehlers (MI-03), who is a member of the Science Committee along with Larson, sponsored H.R. 4272 and incorporated Larson's Alliance for Technologically Trained Teachers Act into his bill. Larson's proposal, which is part of Title II of the National Science Education Enhancement Act, H.R. 4272, was originally the Alliance for Technologically Trained Teachers Act (H.R. 2933). The specifics of Title II include:

(1) expanding the definition of Community Service in the Work-Study Program to include the classroom technology tutoring of teachers by program participants as an eligible activity; increasing the percentage of funding dedicated to Community Service from 7% to 10%; and dedicating 3% of total program funding for this new activity;

(2) studying how to best provide incentives for corporations and other businesses to partner with teachers and schools to provide technological training for teachers, including providing incentives to corporations and businesses that would encourage employers to allow employees to volunteer time during business hours to provide technological training to teachers; and

(3) reviewing how effective colleges and universities are in training teachers to become fluent in voice, video, data, and distance learning, and how to integrate technology into lesson plans and curricula.

H.R. 4272 is currently before the House Education and Workforce Committee.

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