States To Receive Nearly Half-Billion Dollars for Educational IT

The U.S. Department of Education this week will begin disseminating to states $425 million in funding earmarked for educational technology. The figure is more than double the amount appropriated last year for the President's Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, a five-year, $2 billion effort to boost educational IT.

The Department completed its national funding formula last week and will now begin distributing the money to states, said an agency spokeswoman. After receiving the funds, states must funnel the grant money to local school districts, which have been competing to prove their technology programs.

"In order to seize the opportunities of a new economy and a new century, every child must have access to the Internet and learn to use cutting-edge technology," said Vice President Al at a White House briefing session where he highlighted the funding increases.

About 65 percent of U.S. schools are thought now to have Internet connections, according to Clinton administration figures. The White House estimates that nearly half of the country's economic growth can now be attributed to "technological innovation." Further, the administration projects that by the Year 2000, 60 percent of American jobs will require the use of technology.

(For more information on the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, see civic.com, June, 1997. Also, the federal department has posted estimated state allocations at (www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-1997/+lcfto~1.html).

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