A long-awaited federal report that developed recommendations for the use of the Internet in education has gone to press after being delayed during the transition to the Bush Administration.
the final report of the well-publicized Web-based Education Commission will now be printed, three months after it was sent to the presses.
“It’s at the printer’s now,” said Roger Murphy, a spokesman for the United States Department of Education. “No changes were made to the document.”
The commission – led by then-Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) and Representative Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) – was comprised of education, political, and industry leaders appointed by former Secretary of Education Richard Riley. It was established by Congress to investigate the use of technology at all levels of education.
Over the course of a year, hundreds of people testified before the commission in order to share their ideas and experiences with technology in the classroom.
As a result of that research, The Power of the Internet for Learning outlines a call for action to the federal government, industry and schools around the country.
The report calls for increased broadband access; teacher training and support; revision of outdated regulations that impede innovation in education; assurances of the privacy of online learners; and sustainable funding for Web-based learning.
“I know there were members of Congress who were waiting to get their copies,” said Linda Roberts, the former head of the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education. “I’ve had e-mails from hundreds of school districts, superintendents and principals, who have basically said, ‘Where is the report you promised?'”
Roberts said that funds were set aside in the old administration to publish the booklet. The 168-page report has been available online since December.
“For a lot of people who have slow access it’s a very, very long report to download,” said Sue Collins, a member of the commission. “It makes it much more difficult for the information to be spread broadly. I clearly would like to see this have broader distribution.”
“The issue has been resolved. It was one of those things that got caught in the change of administrations,” said Irene Spero, the former director of external relations for the commission. “It was not anything that was directed exclusively at the Web-based Education Commission.”
The new secretary said he wanted to review the printing contracts, according to Spero.
Isakson, the vice chairman of the commission, said the report has had a “positive impact” on President Bush’s education recommendations.
“We reviewed the findings of the commission with the President’s staff,” Isakson said. “A lot of things that are in our report are reflected in his initiatives.”
The recommendations of the commission are being considered in the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Spero said, and other organizations – like the International Society for Technology in Education, the Consortium for School Networking, and the School Tone Alliance – consider it an important guide for educational technology policy issues.
The report will be available June 1, Murphy said. The department will print 1,000 copies, which will be distributed to members of Congress and the commission. Leftover copies can be ordered through the website for free.