Integrating Technology into the Massachusetts Public Schools
Updated: May 29, 2003
To meet the workforce needs of the future and to maintain our leadership
position in the New Economy, the software and Internet industry needs
the public school system to produce graduates who are computer literate
In 1997, Massachusetts was 48th in the country in computer connectivity,
with one high-speed computer for every 15.6 students. Within several
years, Massachusetts moved up to 21st, but because other states put
a higher priority on educational technology, Massachusetts' position
has since dropped.
A series of three statewide Net Days, spearheaded by Senator Edward
Kennedy with the Council as one of the primary organizers, helped
to partially or wholly wire about half of the K-12 public schools.
Over 15,000 volunteers participated and more than $25 million in
products and services were donated to schools over the two-year
period in which Net Days were held.
Software Council Position:
- In 1997, the first educational technology bond bill, with a
3:1 local matching provision, was passed by the Massachusetts
legislature, allocating $30 million or $30/student for technology
in the schools.
- In 1998, $20 million was appropriated for educational technology
out of the supplemental budget with $15 million going for professional
development and $5 million for Massachusetts Community Network
(MCN), which provides high-speed Internet access at low rates
for schools and other municipal agencies.
- In 1999, $10 million more was appropriated to complete the initial
funding for the MCN.
- As part of the FY 2002 budget, the legislature created the
Capital Needs Investment Trust Fund, which includes $35 million
over a five year period for 3:1 competitive matching grants to
local school districts to implement their technology plans, provide
training for teachers, and ensure that schools can upgrade their
hardware and software.
- On January 23, 2002, the former Acting Governor submitted a
budget for FY2003 that repealed the Trust Fund.
The approach taken by the creation of the Capital Needs Investment
Trust Fund has the advantage of providing a stable source of funding
for educational technology. It will help sustain the momentum necessary
to bring Massachusetts schools up to standard in their use of modern
Drawing on analysis from the Consortium for School Networking and
from the Department of Education's benchmark standards, a coalition
of business, education and labor organizations (BEST) advocating
the use of educational technology to enhance teaching and learning
in Massachusetts K-12 schools, has calculated that $340 per pupil
should be included in the Foundation Budget in order to meet the
minimum Total Cost of Ownership requirements for the effective use
of educational technology. The Council strongly endorses BEST's
Software Council Activity:
The Council has been active on behalf of funding for educational technology
for a decade, organizing numerous meetings on this issue with Governors,
members of the Legislative leadership, and other Administration officials.
The Council is also a member of BEST, which has been an outstanding
and effective advocate, leading the way for continued funding for
For more information, see http://best.prospect.com