Funding targeted at teacher training

A Senate bill introduced late last month would provide up to $150 million

a year for five years to train teachers to use technology and to develop

innovative ways to employ technology in the classroom.

The bill, called the Technology for Teachers Act of 2001 and sponsored by

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), is "designed to ensure that students get the

most out of the technology in their classrooms, with teachers who know how

to use it effectively," said Jude McCartin, a spokeswoman for Bingaman.

McCartin said Bingaman sponsored a 1994 law that provided grant money to

equip schools with computers and Internet access. However, teachers need

to be trained to use such resources in educating students for them to be

useful, she said.

"There's no point in having technology in a classroom if the computers are

gathering dust," McCartin said. There is a need "to make sure that all the

schools that have this technology have teachers that can use it, and this

bill is designed to meet that need."

The measure would create two new matching grant programs — one for current

teachers and one for prospective teachers. The program would be administered

by the Education Department's Office of Education Technology.

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) are cosponsors

of the bill, which was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and

Pensions Committee.

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