Forum Friday – Give the Secretary of Education a Piece of Your Mind!

Every Friday it’s my goal to bring to the larger masses a tiny gem or noteworthy discussion that’s been shared on the Tech Savvy Ed Forum. Topics can include cool tools for the classroom, ed tech advocacy, or a hot topic in education. Seeing as this week the rest of the edublogosphere is abuzz about the Secretary of Education’s solicitation for comments on educational technology, I thought it might be nice to share what the readers here have been thinking. So, without further ado, here’s the news that FalconPhysics (aka Steve) was kind enough to deliver to the forum earlier this week:

The Secretary of Education is soliciting comments on the importance of technology in the classroom. I strongly encourage everyone to go and post your thoughts. Unless you don’t think we need technology in the classroom. If that is the case you should go here instead Very Happy

You can find the survey at:

Or, to read the call for comments, go to:


Secretary Spellings would like to hear your ideas on the integration of technology in education. Please take a moment to provide feedback on the following questions:

  1. In what ways has technology improved the effectiveness of your classroom, school or district?
  2. Based on your role (administrator, parent, teacher, student, entrepreneur, business leader), how have you used educational data to make better decisions or be more successful?
  3. In what ways can technology help us prepare our children for global competition and reach our goals of eliminating achievement gaps and having all students read and do math on grade level by 2014?
  4. What should be the federal government’s role in supporting the use of technology in our educational system?

Before offering up the comments to this post, I greatly implore any educator involved with technology to visit the Secretary’s website, and offer up some comments. Even if you feel that politically this is just a way to “make nice” with the public, or are completely frustrated with the current administration’s ignorance when it comes to the effectiveness of technology in education, giving voice to your successes, experiences, and opinions is bound to have some weight, somewhere in the huge bureaucracy that is the Department of Ed.

Rick and BionicTeacher are both at the point where they feel nothing can be done against such heavy handed measures and decrees coming out of the Department of Education.

While I wish try not to be toooo political, I don’t think it is worth submitting any comments under such circumstances. Under the current administration I suspect that they will weed out the comments that they want to showcase and bury any others. After all, it was this administration that pretty much got rid of Title II-D money, paid commentators to push their policies (as news), and brought us NCLB

Would I trust the same people who are running NCLB to do anything good with the information they got?

I would tend to agree with both of these statements. Nothing in the administration of NCLB, save for setting high standards, seems to make any sense. Hurting poorer performing schools rather than help? Try to base every measure of a successful school solely on test scores? Those approaches to education are exactly what BionicTeacher (aka Tom) and Rick crying out against, as do I. However, when presented with an opportunity for public comments and ignoring it, do we run the risk of having the Department of Education claiming that they tried to reach out to educators, only to hear the sound of crickets? Or do we overwhelm Mrs. Spelling’s offices with information, empirical data, anecdotes, and unbridled successes of education in the classroom?

Personally, I’m an optimist, so I’m going to take my time this weekend and craft some positive responses for the Mrs. Secretary of Education. Hopefully, many of you will too. At the very least, you could put the federal government in it’s place and let them know that local school districts should be the big decision makers in how to use technology, like Dale has:

4. What should be the federal government’s role in supporting the use of technology in our educational system?

Yes, the role of the federal government should be to support ($) the use of technology in schools, then stay out of the way.

Right on Dale, way to stick it to the Department of Ed 🙂


  1. By the way, I was drinking Haterade that day- no defeatism with my Cynical Flakes. I’m not defeated just angry at times.

    I still have no faith in the whole implementation behind NCLB. Standardized testing represents a great way to test standardized learning for standardized students and that whole concept seems pretty dated. We’ve got individuals. We’ve got computers and untold computing power. Why not start the move to allow personalization and really make learning matter.

    I don’t know how Michigan is but the SOLs here are the whole point of school. It’s really 90% memorization and that is not learning.

  2. NCLB…..poor policy poorly implemented.

    How about this…..At about junior high, find out what the kids are interested in, show them where their interests could lead them, show them what they need to get there, and let them concentrate in that pursuit.

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