FY 2007 budget plans massive cutbacks for education tech

Andy Carvin takes a devastating look at budget proposals for education tech, digital divide, literacy and minority opportunity.

Andy Carvin does a bit of editorializing about the FY 2007 budget priorities for education on his blog, Andy Carvin's Waste of Time, but the numbers really speak for themselves. Take a look:

Education Technology State Grants
This year: $279 million. Next year: Zippo. 

Edtech advocates, quite understandably, are furious. “The elimination of this funding – which allows all children access to technology and the Internet, helps train teachers how to use and integrate technology into the curriculum, and provides funding and support for core-curricular content – runs completely counter to the goals and vision outline by the President,” stated Sheryl Abshire in yesterday's press release from the Consortium for School Networking. "I urge the Administration to rethink this grave misstep on education technology funding."

Literacy Through School Libraries
This year: $20 million. Next year: $20 million.
Funds support competitive grants to local educational agencies to provide students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials and certified professional library media specialists. Contrast this with....

Literacy Program for Youth Offenders
This year: $5 million. Next year: Nada.
Improving your literacy is okay if your library doesn't have prison guards, it would seem. Or another way to look at it: Teaching young prisoners to make license plates, apparently, is more important than teaching them to read them.

Telecommunication sciences Research
This year: $25 million. Next year: $8 million.
This money, managed by the NTIA at the US Department of Commerce, exists to support the "strategic goal of fostering science and technological leadership by protecting intellectual property, enhancing technical standards, and advancing measurement science." No wonder our broadband infrastructure is hardly the envy of the world anymore.

Low Income Scholarship Program
This year: $165 million. Next year: $75 million.
This National Science Foundation gives low-income students the opportunity to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the university level.

H–1B non-immigrant petitioner fee activities
This year: $190 million. Next year: $100 million.
H-1B visas allow foreigners with valuable skills to come to the US and work for companies or universities. Given how countries like China and India are churning out more highly-qualified science and technology professionals than the US is, the program helps increase the resident brain power at American universities. The NSF has funds to offset the costs of visa fees, but these funds are being cut almost in half.