Since the move to remote learning in the spring of 2020, schools in the United States have received billions of dollars in collective donations and gifts from private companies and individuals. Verizon has Committed More than 3 billion to help schools pay for technology, in the hopes of “not leaving any student behind.” Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, Given एकाच 10 million to a single school district in California aimed at closing digital inequality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
These one-time gifts from billionaires and multinationals have been welcomed by most schools, but they are not enough to bridge the gap in access to education technology or ultimately a sustainable financing solution for technology infrastructure.
The epidemic will eventually subside and those dollars will be funneled elsewhere. So what will schools do now that their new laptops are out in a few years? Or does their network need an upgrade? Or does their teacher’s fresh crop need training?
Those schools rely on the mega-rich to fund their digital education आणि and those funds could ever dry up करतात explaining some of the fundamental problems with the cost of K-12 technology: it’s inconsistent, cohesive, and therefore has an uneven impact on students ’access to technology .
More than tools
Two years ago, “digital divide” was not a household term. And while epidemics have pushed him into the mainstream, there are still misconceptions around him. That is, many people think that access to technology depends on whether students have a working device and a reliable Internet connection. But needs – and costs – are more complicated than that.
K-12 school districts are required to plan various expenditures related to technology integration. Education technology experts and policy makers Federal And State level Call regularly for technology plans to include sustainable funding streams to provide infrastructure such as hardware, software and high-speed Internet access, as well as technology-driven staffing (e.g. technicians, programmers and technology instructors), network infrastructure, maintenance and – importantly, all new Training on how to use technology effectively.
But how do schools pay for all this?
With a little help from the federal government, schools receive most of their funding from state and local sources. This reliance on local funding is especially true for technology funding, and because school districts make significant changes in their ability to meet the cost of technology, districts need to raise funds from multiple sources that still do not meet their needs. This is usually done when “optional” add-ons शिक्षक such as teacher training and technology trainers ज्या which should really be seen as the main cost दूर are removed.
While the federal government does not systematically fund technology in schools, federal and state grants for technology-enabled education are a mix of money. Each student is funded by federal covid assistance funds such as the Success Act (ESSA), the Disability Education Act (IDEA), the e-Rate Program, and the CARES Act. However, schools are limited in how they can spend this money and often have to make tough decisions about priorities.
School districts cannot use technology for more than 15 per cent of ESSA funds and e-rate discounts on internet purchases can vary from 20 to 90 per cent and are used only for internet use. Meanwhile, IDEA funding is unlikely to help, as schools are already struggling to fund special education services. Federal relief funds from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan are limited-time options that cannot meet the full range of technology requirements and must also be used to ensure a safe return to an individual school in an ongoing pandemic.
Given these challenges, there is insufficient federal support for any schools to make meaningful investments and maintain comprehensive technology programs.
States vary greatly in the funding available for K-12 technology. Only 21 states have any kind of dedicated state funding for technology and this can only be from digital instructional materials (e.g. software and electronic textbooks). New Mexico) To physical devices (e.g. laptops and tablets, as is true Maine) According to recent Analysis From the Association of Directors of State Educational Technology.
Many states have allocated funds or technology-specific grants to increase Internet use for K-12 students Utah, Washington And Maine, Although some of these programs are still limited in terms of funding and resources.
Lack of federal and state funding for technology in schools, Research suggests Most U.S. states rely on local revenue sources to fund technology in K-12 public schools. This is because dependence can present major risks and disadvantages Good documentation inequality In local funds in districts and states. In the same county in California, one school district can cost 22,000 per student, while another just costs $ 14,000 down the road – or about 36 percent less.
Despite this lack of funding, the district manages using a variety of strategies, including bond initiatives, creative budgeting, fundraising, and technology to meet needs or bring your own device policies.
However, there are bond undertakings Problematic For many reasons. Districts can go into debt to pay for equipment that becomes obsolete in a few years, reduce the return on investment, and limit how much schools can spend on new buildings and other long-term investments. Critics also say that school districts with less funding are more likely to go into debt funding than well-resourced districts, which exacerbates past inequalities. Meanwhile, it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of creative budgeting or technology planning in a regular operating budget because public education does not have a transparent way to report or compare technology spending in districts such as on tools Ad data.
Problems with alternative funding sources
Philanthropic gifts, fundraising, and partnerships between school districts and corporations are common ways to address funding shortages for technology. But these options also come with a catch.
Companies like Apple Paul, Microsoft and Google regularly supply schools with discounted technology that districts cannot otherwise afford. As a result, edtech scholar And teachers express concern about the growing corporate influence in the public-school sector.
Among the major technology companies, Google is increasingly dominating the educational technology market in K-12 schools. More than half Every day K-12 students in the United States use Google products and services for school work, including Chromebooks a Majority Buy all K-12 devices. Because Google’s profits are primarily derived from online advertising revenue from actual devices and services. Anxiety About the use of children’s data and privacy rights in the Adtech market.
Other private artists have shown significant interest in educational technology, most likely because of the potential for large-scale profits. In 2020 alone, the venture capital firm invested 2 2.2 billion in educational technology startups, a significant increase over the previous year.
Critics worry that the future of K-12 education involves corporations that improve public education without oversight, where what a school teaches, the digital resources it uses, and the general philosophy of learning can be a major force for a company.
Failure to do so consistently at the federal and state levels forces schools and districts to unnecessarily fund technology-enabled education. Of National Educational Technology PlanThe districts have been recommended by the U.S. Department of Education in 2017 to ensure equitable access to technology for students through an unspecified mix of federal programs and reliance on non-profit organizations. But this inconsistent approach to funding will not be complete Approximately $ 6 billion to $ 11 billion Adequate tools and internet facilities must be provided for students during remote learning, or it will not sustain technology-enabled learning in post-epidemic reality. Not to mention the lack of funding for the professional development of teachers around the use of technology, which many advocates say is important in linking digital learning to better student outcomes.
It would be wrong to say that the way we fund technology for K-12 schools is broken, because it was never complete. But at this particular moment, as students and teachers begin the new school year with more technology than ever before, we have the opportunity to develop a better way forward. Policymakers and school leaders can work together to ensure our students are qualified for 21st century education.