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Technology Literacy Challenge




     The President announced this (below) yesterday.  We thought
     you would want to see it.  As additional information becomes
     available, we will let you know.
     ------------------------------------------------------------


               AMERICA'S TECHNOLOGY LITERACY CHALLENGE
                          February 15, 1996

EXPANDING EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. Today, President Clinton travels
to Union City, New Jersey to announce a $2 billion, five-year
Technology Literacy Challenge fund.  The fund will help states,
localities and private sector companies work to ensure that our
schools provide all our children with a greater opportunity to
learn the skills they need to thrive in the next century. 
President Clinton and Vice President Gore will see a demonstration
of the educational technology that has connected students at
Christopher Columbus Junior High School and the Bergen Academy of
Technology to each other and to the world over the information
superhighway.

     "In our schools, every classroom in America must be connected
     to the information superhighway with computers and good
     software and well-trained teachers....I ask Congress to
     support this education technology initiative so that we can
     make sure this national partnership succeeds." -- President
     Clinton, State of the Union, January 23, 1996

A NATIONAL MISSION TO MAKE EVERY YOUNG PERSON TECHNOLOGICALLY
LITERATE: The President has launched a national mission to make all
children technologically literate by the dawn of the 21st Century,
equipped with essential communication, math, science, and critical
thinking skills essential to prepare them for the 21st century.  He
challenges the private sector, schools, teachers, parents,
students, community groups, state and local governments, and the
federal government, to meet this goal by building four pillars that
will: 

     1.   Provide all teachers the training and support they need
          to help students learn through computers and the
          information superhighway;

     2.   Develop effective and engaging software and on-line
          learning resources as an integral part of the school
          curriculum;

     3.   Provide access to modern computers for all teachers and
          students;

     4.   Connect every school and classroom in America to the
          information superhighway

A NEW TECHNOLOGY LITERACY CHALLENGE FUND: The $2 billion, five
year, Technology Literacy Challenge will catalyze and leverage
State and local efforts -- including work with the private sector -
- so that our schools provide all our children with a greater
opportunity to learn the skills they need to thrive in the next
century.

     STATE CHALLENGE WITH MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY: While the states are
     asked to come forward with a statewide strategy to meet this
     four-part national mission, they are given maximum flexibility
     to accomplish these objectives.  In order to receive funds,
     states must only meet the following three objectives: 

     1.   State Strategy: Each state will develop a strategy for
          enabling every school in the state to meet the four goals
          that the President has outlined by the dawn of the next
          century.  These State strategies will ensure that local
          districts and schools from the suburbs to the inner
          cities to rural America are able to participate fully in
          this initiative.  Strategies would include benchmarks and
          timetables for accomplishing the four goals, but these
          measures will be set by each State not by the federal
          government.

     2.   Private Sector Partnership and Matching Requirement:
          State strategies should include significant private-
          sector participation and commitments to meet the four
          pillars.  Private-sector commitments should at least
          match the amount of federal support.  Such a match can be
          met by volunteer services, cost reductions and payments
          for connections under the expanded Universal Service Fund
          provisions of the Telecommunications Act, and a range of
          other commitments.

     3.   Annual Progress Report to the Public: To ensure
          accountability, each state must not only set benchmarks,
          but it must also publicly report at the end of every
          school year to its residents the progress made in
          achieving its benchmarks and how it will achieve the
          ultimate objectives of its strategies in the most cost-
          effective manner.

     LOCAL COMMUNITY CHALLENGE OPTION: While states are encouraged
     to come forward with statewide strategies in order to receive
     funding, a state may also choose to have its local communities
     compete individually for a pro-rata portion of its funds.  Or
     if a state is unable to come forward with a statewide strategy
     application, local communities -- or consortia -- will have
     the option to come forward with local plans.

     LOCAL INNOVATION CHALLENGE FUND: Even where a state does have
     a statewide strategy, local consortia of private companies and
     local communities will be eligible to compete for a innovation
     challenge fund, which will be funded by expanding the existing
     Technological Learning Challenge from $10 million a year to
     $50 million a year.  This will further ensure that everyone
     can participate in meeting this Technologically Literacy
     Challenge.

     Funding Levels: The Technology Literacy Challenge Fund will
     provide a total of $2.0 billion over five years.  The
     President made a commitment in his balanced budget proposal
     that even as spending is being cut dramatically, education
     funding will continue to grow each year in response to the
     Nation's education needs.  The $2 billion in discretionary
     spending over the next five years, by coming from within these
     funds, will mean holding back or cutting lower priority
     programs.  Funding per state will be based on the number of
     students in each state.

     Reassessment and Review: The Technology Literacy Challenge
     Fund will provide funding for five years, then be subject to a
     sunset provision to allow a review of what the Fund has
     accomplished and a reassessment of whether the Fund is still
     necessary, and if so at what level of funding.

     Building on Affordable Connections under the
     Telecommunications Act: The President signed the
     Telecommunications bill on Thursday, February, 8, 1996.  This
     landmark Act will lower the costs of connecting schools and
     classrooms to the information superhighway by billions of
     dollars, by requiring carriers to provide telecommunications
     services to schools and libraries at discounted rates --
     helping schools and students gain access to the internet and
     advanced information services.  The Technology Literacy
     Challenge takes the next step by building on this new platform
     to support the national partnership that can now accomplish
     the national mission of preparing all students with the basic
     skills they will need for the 21st century.



Kirk Winters
Office of the Under Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
kwinters@inet.ed.gov