THe Editorial Projects in Education Research Center has graded all 50 states on the quality of their education technology programs, and the grades are ... mediocre. According to the Technology Counts study, the average grade was a C+ and most states fell somewhere in between C- and C+. There were some exceptions, though.
Virginia and West Virginia both excelled in the study, with grades of A- and A, respectively. Minnesota, Orgeon and Rhode Island received Ds. Nevada came in last with a D-.
The study found reason for concern. While access to computers has dramatically improved from 1999 to 2002, with ratios falling from 5.7:1 to 3.8:1 and Internet acess now nearly ubiquitous, progress has essentially stalled since 2002. Indeed the numbers have backslid cover to give students per computer in California, New Hampshire and Utah.
On the training front, progress is also slow. The study reported that:
- Forty states have technology standards for teachers but many have not adopted licensure policies to ensure that teachers meet those standards.
- Only 21 states require that teachers take one or more technology courses or pass a technology test before they can receive an initial teaching license.
- Only nine states require administrators to complete technology coursework or pass a technology test before they can receive an initial license.
- No state has adopted technology requirements at both the initial and continuing stages of certification for administrators.
Distance learning is taking off in states with wide areas and sparse population.
those programs have taken root more strongly in some states than others. Likely in a reflection of the state’s vast size and many isolated communities, close to half of all public schools in Alaska offer distance learning, a rate nearly 2½ times the national average.