We've been vocal these past months with our concerns about where Ohio's leaders might take K-12 education (see here). But we're the first to admit our optimism about Ohio's opportunity to make real strides in integrating education and technology:
- At Monday's opening session of the state's 128th General Assembly, amidst his remarks about promoting innovation in Ohio, restoring the state's "spirit of entrepreneurship," and touting the cost-savings of regional cooperation, new House Speaker Armond Budish told Gongwer News Service that "the thoughtful application of technology" could provide every Ohio student the opportunity to obtain a "high quality education."
- In her previous job as head of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district, State Superintendent Deborah Delisle was named "2008 Tech-Savvy Superintendent" by e-school news. She put in place a one-to-one laptop program at a middle school, which is rolling up to all middle and high schools in the district over the next five years, and she established electronic assessments for teachers to help them better tailor instruction to meet students' needs.
- Ohio, like many other states, faces a huge budget deficit, and Governor Strickland has vowed not to raise taxes to fill the hole. Education funding will be flat or slightly reduced at best, so the time is ripe to explore effective, cost-efficient means of delivering instruction. Plus, Speaker Budish hails from Beachwood, one of Ohio's highest spending school districts, which spent roughly $20,000 per student last year, twice that of the average Ohio district. He and his constituents know a thing or two about high property tax bills and likely won't have the appetite for more taxes even if Strickland reneges on his vow.
The application of technology in Ohio's schools has occurred in fits and starts to-date, via e-schools (a mixed bag so far), in-school computer labs (not really innovative), and post-secondary education distance learning (good stuff). Here's hoping that's all about to change and the state starts to see technology as a key component in a strategic approach to improve education and the delivery of instruction.