GOV. MALLOY: INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION ARE INVESTMENTS IN STRONGER COMMUNITIES AND OUR STATE'S FUTURE
Announces $24 Million Technology Grant For Schools
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, today announced plans to fund over
$24 million in grant requests
to bring more computers into classrooms and increase Internet bandwidth. This investment provides vital support to students, teachers, and school districts as local efforts accelerate to complete the transition to the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying computer-based Smarter Balanced assessments.
"Investments in education are an investment in stronger communities and our state's future prosperity. Ensuring students are prepared to compete in a global economy and to excel in 21st century careers means that we must strive to equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools they will need," said Governor Malloy. "I believe in the Common Core Standards and do not want to impose unfunded costs on municipalities for technology-related expenditures necessary to implement these standards, which is why we secured additional funding in response to districts' needs and concerns."
The State Department of Education received 128 applications, covering 126 cities and towns across Connecticut, in response to the request for proposals issued in July. Requests far-exceeded the original $10 million grant allocation, which prompted today's announcement to seek additional bond funding.
"Supporting a successful transition to the Common Core State Standards means ensuring that schools and classrooms are equipped with the right tools. Technology enhancements are necessary to enable students to benefit from the next generation of computerized adaptive assessments. But, even more importantly, these tech improvements provide essential tools for ever more engaging teaching and learning in today's classrooms," said Commissioner Pryor. "As districts complete their transition to the new standards and assessments, this grant offers significant support. We are grateful that, thanks to Governor Malloy, we are able to provide this assistance to all those requesting aid."
Since the adoption of the Common Core Standards by the State Board of Education in 2010, local districts have been transitioning their curricula to match this new set of higher, clearer expectations for what students should know in a given grade. Along with this new set of standards, will come new assessments aligned to the lessons being taught in math and English language arts classrooms.
Replacing the traditional paper-and-pencil-administered CMT and CAPT assessments, these new tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, will be administered on computers or other computing devices. This assessment transition makes the need to purchase new computers and upgrade technology more significant for districts.
Announced at the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) convention today in Groton, the Governor's intention to fund all requests for technology assistance was greeted as welcome news by many in the education community.
"Governor Malloy's announcement that all school districts that submitted applications for technology grants will receive grants is great news. All Connecticut school districts are continually trying to enhance their technological capacities so this infusion of state funds to assist with these efforts is most welcome. This is particularly true for districts that need to improve their technological infrastructure to accommodate the Smarter Balance Assessment System online tests," said CAPSS Executive Director Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo. "So, for a variety of reasons, the Governor's support for enhanced technology at the local district level will allow for improvements in the educational programs offered by districts and that will in turn benefit the children of Connecticut."
CABE Executive Director Robert Rader said, "During these difficult times of balancing budgets, this assistance to purchase new computers and improve technological capacity could not have come at a better time. We are grateful that Governor Malloy continues to make critical investments and seek ways to support education at the local level."
"We are thrilled by the steps taken today by the governor to support Connecticut schools. This assistance by the state reflects the needs voiced by school leaders to not only support our students' success on the new assessments, but provide for a technology enhanced system that fundamentally supports overall student learning," said Connecticut Association of Schools Executive Director Karissa Niehoff. "Furthermore, in order to ensure a level playing field for our students, we have to make sure our districts are equipped with all the tools necessary to succeed, which necessarily entails putting more computers into our classrooms."
Melodie Peters, President of AFT-CT said, "This is an example of the right response to changes in the way students learn and educators teach in our public schools. The governor is right to recognize the need for improvements in technology and infrastructure, and the needs of students in local school districts requesting the support."
In 2014-15, every public school district will administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment System and the state will sunset the administration of the math and English language arts CMT and CAPT tests. Districts will, however, continue to administer the science CMT and CAPT assessments.
The State Department of Education issued the technology grant request for proposals in July 2013. Awards must be used for the purposes of purchasing new computing devices, inter-school bandwidth, or inter-district bandwidth and are determined in accordance with a town wealth measure based on a 20 percent-80 percent sliding scale.
For Immediate Release: November 15, 2013
Contact: Samaia Hernandez
Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy
Contact: Kelly Donnelly
Connecticut State Department of Education
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