Isn’t it great that TCEA is doing all this great stuff for it’s members? I love the new survey out from TCEA that members received via email today…why? It addresses critical issues, such as legislative and policy issues that have long gone unaddressed as fully as they need to be. As wonderful as having a part-timer has been, hiring a full-time political advocate/lobbyist is essential to getting the TCEA members’ message out there in front.

I also like the survey because it signals an openness to more feedback from the Membership, and a willingness to take head-on the technology needs of our students. Consider the debacle of high school Technology Applications courses. For years, these courses were funded and taught by the rich districts–whether new rich with grants or old rich with local funding–while those same courses languished in poor Texas school districts. Worse, even if districts could fund the hardware and software needed for the High School TechApps courses, when you throw in the cost of a teacher, that pretty much breaks the bank. As such, districts that lacked funding OFFERED the courses without students ever actually taking the courses. The illusion of TechApps offerings at the high school is the sad reality in many districts.

In regards to Middle School Tech Apps, those courses have pretty much also almost died on the vine. The only incentive to keep MS TA:TEKS was this past year when schools had to show 8th grade technology literacy assessment results to get funding. Even though school districts might have failing students, EdTech professionals were grateful that at long last, some accountability was being brought in. But that accountability is weak with no standard assessment across the State of Texas. Simply, school districts can do whatever they want to report 8th grade technology literacy.

So, do they lie and say their children are doing well, or tell the truth and report abysmal results because technology applications courses have been under-funded for years? Another option, of course, is that your district does well. I’ve only encountered a handful of Districts where the children did well, and to be honest, those that did well did not find themselves by creating a TA:TEKS program overnight.

TCEA wants to know what you think about some important topics that will impact Texas students now and in the future.

We have created a quick survey to get your opinion on what legislative and policy issues you feel TCEA should focus on with the state legislature and the State Board of Education.

The survey will be open until November 23rd. Please take time to let your voice be heard.

 A few of the questions from the survey:

  • Rank the following indicating which you feel are the items that should be a priority in the TCEA legislative program for the 82nd legislative session.
    • Increase the technology allotment to meet the demands of the 21st Century learning environment.
    • Provide for a standardized technology assessment for all Texas 8th grade students at no cost to schools.
    • Require students who do not meet established proficiencies on the standardized technology assessment for 8th graders to take a required technology course for graduation.
    • Require a technology credit for high school graduation in all graduation plans.
    • Embed technology applications TEKS in the core content courses in grades 9-12.
    • Add a required Technology Applications course at the middle school level.
    • When districts choose an instructional material (textbook) that costs less than the state allotment for that adoption, the district should receive 100% of the savings as opposed to the current 50%.
    • Require 6 hours for professional development for teachers, librarians, and campus administrators in the use of 21st Century technology tools to improve instruction.
  • The following technology application courses are currently offered at the high school level. These courses were created in 1998. Which of the courses do you think should still be offered? [Miguel’s pick of courses appear below]
    • Digital Graphics/Animation
    • Video Technology
    • WebMastering
    • Computer Science I
  • What other technology related courses should be developed to meet the demands of the current and future workforce?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure