Panel promotes Web in education
- By Greg Langlois
- Dec 19, 2000
Web-Based Education Commission final report
A bipartisan education commission issued a final report Tuesday calling
on President-elect George W. Bush and Congress to increase broadband access
to schools and take other steps to make the Internet a more prominent tool
The Web-based Education Commission also called for providing technology
training and support for educators, developing quality online content and
applications for learning and removing regulatory barriers that "block full
access to online learning resources," according to the report.
The commission was led by retiring Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) and was
made up of 15 others, including members of Congress, education experts and
high-technology industry representatives.
"The issue before us now is how to make good on the Internet's power
for learning and how to move from promise to practice," the 168-page report
Satellites in place by 2005 could provide much of the broadband access
that rural America needs and could do it at less expense than by wiring
communities, said Rep. Johnny Isakson
(R-Ga.), the commission's vice chairman, speaking at a press conference
announcing the release of the report.
Technology gaps between industry and schools could make it hard for
students to adapt to the private sector's needs, the commission found. Companies
spend up to $5,500 in technology and support per worker, but schools spend
only $200 per student, according to the commission.
Kerrey said the commission did not make a resolution on how much funding
the government should provide to put its recommendations into place. "It's
going to take money to do it," and that likely will come in the form of
public/private partnerships, he said.
Kerrey lauded the recently awarded Army University Access Online project
as an example of how technology can be used to increase access to and the
quality of education. The $453 million initiative is designed to provide
soldiers with access to education anywhere in the world to work toward degrees
or technical certificates.
The commission's report is based on the testimony of thousands of witnesses
involved in education, technology and publishing, including parents, teachers,
principals, researchers and government officials.
"Citizens put in a lot of their time and came up with something practical,"
said Patricia Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of the Association
of American Publishers Inc.