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Letter to Senator Bingaman Supporting his ATTAIN Act (Achievement Through Technology and Innovation)

May 26, 2009

Dear Senator Bingaman:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Act (S. 818).  This important legislation recognizes the need for our nation’s public schools to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st century. 

Today, too many schools lack the equipment, support systems, and/or professional development to create the 21st century learning environments our students need and deserve.  NEA’s surveys of our own members indicate that many teachers find insufficient support in utilizing technology for instructional purposes.  Many students and teachers have sparse technology in their classrooms and major access problems outside of school.  Lower income students are impacted the most by these technology gaps, as they are the students most likely to rely entirely on their public schools for technology access.  In reality, some students are being excluded from full participation in 21st century life.

We have only begun to tap into the power of technology to individualize instruction and empower every student to learn at his or her highest capacity.  As long as our schools lag behind every other branch of society in their technological advances, it will be difficult for them to empower students for the future.

Your ATTAIN bill recognizes that students’ ability to succeed in the technological global community depends upon our national commitment to supporting our schools today.  By providing federal funding to help schools that serve disadvantaged and low-income students purchase computers, software and other technology and train teachers in the use of technology, your bill will help ensure that every student has access to the technology so integral to a 21st century education. 

We thank you for your leadership on these important issues and look forward to continuing to work with you to fulfill every child’s basic right to a great public school.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy