You are here

Table of Contents

Apr 2006

If you are a K12 district leader you may qualify for a free subscription to the DA print magazine

Subscribe (free)

Cover Story

Teachers at Oakwood Elementary School in Lakewood, Wash., outside of Seattle, watched TV at their first staff meeting last fall, and the dial was turned to the local news.


Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. faced a hot scare in the cold war. The Soviet Union launched in 1957 the first satellite, Sputnik, into space, sending the U.S. into a tizzy of fear. So the government poured billions of dollars into the space program as well as better math and science programs in American schools.

Now, the nation's schools are facing an economic scare in part due to countries like China and India taking on more American jobs.

Teachers at Oakwood Elementary School in Lakewood, Wash., outside of Seattle, watched TV at their first staff meeting last fall, and the dial was turned to the local news.

Another year, another budget, another fight. Educators are saying, and congressmen are agreeing, that the federal education budget proposal of $54.4 billion for 2007 is just not good enough.

Buying a laptop computer for every student: About $1,000

Hiring a consultant to teach teachers how to use laptops in lessons:

Roughly $1,500/day

Watching students use technology to draw conclusions something they wouldn't

normally be able to do:


There's no question the raw numbers pouring out of President Bush's fiscal year 2007 budget look bleak for education. It cuts total education funding by 3.8 percent from FY 2006. It proposes to eliminate 42 education programs, including all funding for Perkins Loans, LEAP, education technology, gifted education, parent resource centers, elementary and secondary school counseling, school leadership, safe and drug-free schools state grants, arts in education, and the Close-Up Foundation.

Educators still trying to come to grips with No Child Left Behind will soon face another challenge. Although this new program will start in four months, no one knows the rules yet, but everyone knows what's at stake $790 million in grants.

At Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Ore., blog posts and e-mails have replaced paper notes stuffed in teachers' mailboxes. Staff meetings, now devoid of the exchange of routine information, are done in half the time and focus solely on best practices and curriculum. Planning for the staff holiday party? Done online. So too are the principal's advisories to staff, including recommended magazine articles, notice of cancelled meetings and even notes and minutes from various staff meetings.


Surveys show that most teachers, students and parents positively perceive laptop initiatives, but few controlled studies have examined the relationship between various laptop programs and student achievement. As district officials weigh options for investing limited technology dollars, they may wish to consider what the research can (and can't) tell us.


Tutoring Concerns Lurk

Only about 12 percent of American students eligible for Supplemental Educational Services under the No Child Left Behind law are actually receiving the services. SES gives low-income parents real options to get free tutoring for their children.

While the 2004-05 school year numbers are unavailable, the U.S. Department of Education says that in 2003-04 year, 226,000 students received tutoring and 32,000 students transferred to other schools.


Real-Life Budget Decisions


Adobe Production Studio, Software, $649

The Great Debate

After reading "The Great Debate" (March 2006, p. 75), which is an excellent article, I am struck by some comments made by Nick Matzke.