U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is on tour, promoting the re-authorization of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind program, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.
Flanked by representitives from tech companies Intel, Motorola and Ensych, and members of local school districts, Spellings told Arizona's Business & Education Coalition that underfunding of technology in schools is threatening to displace the U.S. as innovators in technology.
"A lot of the technology discussions have been a black hole," she said. "This cannot continue if we are going to continue to be the lead innovators in the world."
She discussed many educational topics but clearly the thrust of her visit was to promote the often-criticized No Child Left Behind program. Funding for technology in schools was high on the agenda.
"Right or wrong, we are underfunded in this state in terms of education," said Greg Wyman, Apache Junction School District superintendent. "We as adults are the immigrants. These kids in terms of technology are going to far outdistance us, but we can't get (the technology) in their hands because of cost."
Along with funding issues, Spellings stated that one major impediment to incorporating new technology was getting teachers up to speed on current technologies.
Spellings suggested that businesses need to play a bigger role in schools, from the elementary to college levels.
"We've come a long way from the '80s, when it was adopt-a-school, punch and cookies," she said. "If we can make mathematicians out of teachers, we can make teachers out of mathematicians."