Budget Bill. (SB750)

Introduced By

Sen. John Chichester (R-Fredericksburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Budget Bill. Appropriation of public revenues and provide a portion of such revenues for the two years ending, respectively, on the thirtieth day of June, 2007, and the thirtieth day of June, 2008. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
12/15/2006Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/07
12/15/2006Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/07 079809712
12/15/2006Referred to Committee on Finance
02/06/2007Budget amendments available
02/06/2007Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
02/06/2007Motion for Special and Continuing Order (40-Y 0-N)
02/06/2007VOTE: (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2007Passed by for the day
02/07/2007Read second time
02/07/2007Passed by for the day
02/08/2007P.110 Item 444#2s, P.110 Item 449.10#1s, P.118 Item 481#1s)
02/08/2007Read second time
02/08/2007Uncontested committee amendments agreed to
02/08/2007Contested committee amendment agreed to (P.21 Item 104#12s)
02/08/2007Contested committee amendments rejected (P.105 Item 437#6s,
02/08/2007P.107 Item 438#3s, P.109 Item 443#4s, P.109 Item 443#6s,
02/08/2007P.110 Item 444#2s, P.110 Item 449.10#1s )
02/08/2007Reading of amendment waived
02/08/2007Amendment #1 by Senator Hawkins agreed to (Item 449.10#2s)
02/08/2007Contested committee amendment agreed to (P.118 Item 481#1s)
02/08/2007Budget floor amendments agreed to available
02/08/2007Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/08/2007Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
02/08/2007Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)
02/08/2007VOTE: (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2007Communicated to House
02/09/2007Placed on Calendar
02/09/2007Read first time
02/09/2007Referred to Committee on Appropriations

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1650.

Comments

Jasmine Davis writes:

As a Technology Resource Teacher in Mecklenburg County, with a student population of 4700 in 10 schools, our county should have 4, almost 5 TRT's. We are currently working with only 3 TRT's. We are extremely short staffed and the passing of this bill would absolutely destroy not only the progress we have made a technology team, but also the progress that we will make as a technology team.

Please vote NO on the passing of this bill. Small counties like Mecklenburg County will most definitely be negatively impacted.

THank you for your time and consideration.
Jasmine Davis

Gwen Cauley writes:

As an educator in the field of technology and its support I do hereby wish to express my feelings of discontent upon hearing about the proposed HB 1650 legislation. Virginia has been the focus of many other states in its approach and support of technology education in the last few years. The General Assembly has established a national reputation for its levels of investment regarding the future for technology in education. That investment is now reaping its benefits today as we continue to move into the future. Why would Virginia resign their support while gaining national recognition and accolades for its current initiative?

Yet, with the proposed legislation, Virginia would not only be taking a backwards step in the education of our children, but our current teachers and staff would no longer be capable of keeping up with the ever evolving world of technology. Technology is just one component of teaching yet without it our staff would be extended beyond comprehension.

As citizens of the great commonwealth, we should expect nothing less than the best for our children. We would not send them for medical assistance if we did not feel the doctor being seen was of a certain caliber. We would not want them using antiquated equipment and diagnostic routines. So I ask, why are we going to expect our schools to continue to forge ahead in this technological revolution without the aid of highly trained and qualified individuals to foster the use of new innovations found in the world today? Why are we going to ask schools to revert to something less than the absolute best? Our children are our future. Society needs each child to be prepared to contribute as they are prepared to take on their dreams in the future.

The Standards of Quality articulate levels of staffing to help guarantee success for 21st Century learners. The Joint Legislative and Review Commission clearly recognized the role of technology integrators and support personnel in their Standards of Quality recommendations to the General Assembly. VSTE helped develop those recommendations. We can not afford to revert; we must unify and forge into the future with individuals who are qualified and are given time to help teachers maintain and enlist new techniques in the classroom via technology.

The missing link has always been having the right people on the ground that are close to the children and can have a direct impact on their learning and achievement. The Standards of Quality have gone a long way towards facilitating those staffing issues, resulting in Virginia once again leading the Country in its approach to technology's role in education. Among other impacts, test scores continue to improve based, in part, on the support provided by technology integrators. Children embrace technology with a passion. Teachers reach beyond their own expectations. They do so with the appropriate aid and support provided by Instructional Technology Resource Teachers and the technology support personnel. How can it be possible to expect teachers to teach without having the support of these individuals? When our cars need maintenance we take them to a mechanic, who charges absorbent fees. So, are we going to ask our schools to pay even more by not making the Standards of Quality reflect what our students and teachers need to succeed?

Virginia is an innovator when it comes to the role of technology in education. Education Week recently announced that Virginia has the highest Chance-for-Success Index rating in the Country. This index, consisting of a state-by-state analysis, combines information from 13 indicators that span an individual's life from cradle to career. The index provides information that could be used to target the efforts of public education systems in ways that better serve students of all ages. Virginia's designation as the number one state in the country reflects the recognition of the importance of support for effective technology-related programs in education.

Again, I ask the following: How can Virginia continue to move ahead without the proper funding included in the Standards of Quality? Why are we going to ask our children to suffer because our teachers lack the proper support and training necessary to prepare them for the future? The future is in your hands; I ask you to consider, where would legislators be if it were not for the support of the voters of the Commonwealth? These technology positions of the support personnel and instructional resource teachers are our school’s voters. Our teachers and our students need them. These positions allow our teachers and students to explore and create exciting activities in education which expands the horizons for the future yet to come.

Below you will find some remarks from teachers here in Highland County on the impact of technology.

“The more I learn about using technology in the classroom, the more creative I become in my teaching. Enriching a lesson with technology stimulates the learning environment. It encourages independent learning as well as engages students in their quest for knowledge.”
--Julia Blanchard

“As a special educator, I need to find many more ways to motivate students, and today technology does it. If students can watch a movie, play a video game, or listen to something they are more willing to work and learn. I often use the projector to review notes before tests. Students who don’t often listen will sit up pay attention participate and highlight their own notes, when the projector is in the room. I use frames for note taking, however the use of the computer program like inspiration is more active and interactive with their constantly moving minds, especially when graphics are available. “
--Winnie Richardson

“Technology is a wonderful resource for me as a teacher. I often use a web site called United Streaming when I am planning my health lessons. I use videos and teacher guides that I have downloaded to show my elementary students. With my projector I can show videos in various classrooms straight from my laptop. I also use other sites to come up with new activities and games for physical education.”
-- Cindy Wood

“As an agriculture teacher the world of technology is a great addition to my program. I use PowerPoint’s instead of a black board and the students pay more attention to what is being taught and in society . They can also look up information at a moments notice so reports and information can be found during class. Questions can be answered quickly and accurately.”
--Steve Heavner

“Technology has had a tremendous impact on my teaching and learning since returning to the classroom in 2002. The Internet contains reliable information which supplements and often replaces the traditional textbook. Students are more focused as they research topics of interest which contain highly effective visuals. It makes learning fun for both the teacher and the student.”
--Jackie Stephenson

“Technology has greatly increased the productivity of my classes. The combination of the overhead projector and the CPS system has taken the classroom involvement of the students to a new level. The projector is excellent for showing computer and Internet content to the entire class, and streaming videos from sites like United Streaming, Discovery Channel, and PBS. The CPS works great because in is compatible with both the IGPro grading program that the school uses and the ExamView program that compliments my texts. I used to play Jeopardy as a review for tests, but only one person could answer each question. With the CPS each and ever student responds to every question, they stay engaged and enjoy the reviews even more. For tests, the students have the option of taking them on the CPS system, all do. They still have a paper and pencil version in front of them, but can now see results from the test immediately, and the program can print out each student a study guide based on jeopardy results. It would be difficult to maintain the current level of classroom performance without the technology I currently use. “
--Mike Warf

Technology has had a huge impact on my responsibilities. As a Special Education Director I have many reports, applications and forms that must be completed for the Department of Education. These have gone from paper reports that were mailed to the DOE, to being completed on the computer, saved to disc and mailed to the DOE, to web based applications that are filled out on line and submitted electronically. It has also affected purchases of materials for the teachers to use in their classrooms. Teachers are using more and more technology as an instructional tool with their students and we have bought a lot of hardware, software and other low tech and high technology materials to meet the needs of the students.
As Director of Testing, technology has completely changed the field of testing. With the implementation of online SOL tests we have significantly reduced the number of paper/pencil tests and answer documents that we order, keep track of and return for scoring. Ordering of test, registering of students, setting up test sessions, getting students results, and tracking school performance is all done online now.
All federal applications, amendments, and reimbursements are all completed and submitted on a secure web site. Superintendent Memos that come out weekly are only accessible over the Internet. Most communication with the DOE is done through email. Technology is vital to being able to do any of the jobs for which I am responsible.
--Mary G. Stephenson

Technology has enhanced instruction in the Carpentry/ Cabinetmaking shop area and Small Engine Repair by simplifying the tracking of student progress and grading. It has created many more instructional opportunities possibly having input from thousands of other instructors at my fingertips

-- Shane Waybright

Technology for me has impacted the classroom by being able to provide visual aids for students to understand abstract concepts. Also technology helps students to be able to learn by discovery, which enables the student to better retain the concept, rather than having the teacher using kill and drill to cram the concepts into the students.
-- Kent Miller

“Yesterday, I taught my students about energy exchange. I used a Power Point Presentation with notes, embedded video and an animated diagram of convection currents. Then the students took a quiz which was graded and returned to them in ten minutes. When the last bell rang, I put my thumb drive in my pocket and thus carried my entire plan book and a file cabinet full of lesson plans home. Technology makes every minute of my class and planning time count. It makes information more palatable to the techno generation. It makes me smile.”
-- Virginia Neil

Virginia’s Recipient of the National Education Award for Teaching Excellence

Because every school has these technology positions funded, each teacher in the entirety of Virginia has support. They know they can ask for help and receive it in a timely manner. Without the funding in the SOQ, it would be impossible to maintain such initiatives. The equipment down time and the time taken to learn new tasks would be so overwhelming that it would cause major interruptions in the classroom.
Please consider our children, consider the role of technology in education today, and consider the impact of this action. Please keep moving forward, do not let technology in education regress or become stagnant to the lack of knowledgeable support staff.

Daniel Hurlow writes:

If Virginia is expecting their teachers to promote 21st Century Learning and skills in our schools do not take their technology support personnel away. Please vote to not accept HB1650 in it's current form which strips the funding for the instructional technology support personnel.

Thank You

Suzanne Hurlow writes:

I am against this bill. The ITRT positions must be funded and remain in the school systems. In today's age, our students need all the help in using technology that they can get. The teachers also need the help to know what is out there and available. Please don't put our students behind by destroying this funding and this position. Please don't pass this bill.

Deborah Bowyer writes:

In my naiveté, I believed that when HB2199 was passed by indefinitely by the SOQ sub-committee, the attempt to eliminate the requirement for school boards to employ one full-time technology support position per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12 and one full-time instructional technology resource teacher per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12 was over. Now I understand that a second attempt is being made to eliminate funding for these vital positions in a proposed budget amendment. What reasoning accompanies this attempt to eliminate funding for these positions specifically? I am certain that there are a number of ways to provide funds for other areas of the state budget, but to eliminate funding for technology support MUST NOT be one of them.
In 2004, the state funded these positions with the intention of preparing our students for the technology-rich future. Wherever we turn, technology plays a role in our lives. Educators must prepare their students for that technology; and, in order to do that, they must understand, use, and integrate technology in the way they teach. To that end, the technology support personnel and the technology resource teachers are vital. The instructional technology resource teachers work very closely with classroom teachers; they train them to use the latest technology, they assist them in integrating that technology into their daily lessons, and they assist them in the classroom with those technology-rich lessons. Students benefit from this teacher training and integration, as they reap the benefits of using and learning with the latest advances in the technology field.
Virginia’s students are “digital natives,” so teachers must adapt their teaching methods to the learning styles of these students. If teachers hope to reach the majority of their students, they must remain technology savvy, incorporate technology seamlessly into their teaching, and excite students with the opportunity to use the technology. This cannot happen without the support and assistance of the instructional technology resource teachers you are attempting to eliminate. Without the state’s share of the funding needed to employ these support personnel and resource teachers, many localities simply cannot afford to sustain them. Is this then another example of the wealthier localities being able to provide advantages to their students that the less affluent localities cannot?
Virginia’s requirement that school boards employ one full-time technology support position per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12 and one full-time instructional technology resource teacher per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12 has become a model for many other states. Virginia has been and is a leader in its efforts to support technology in its schools. Why would the state take a giant step backward when its leadership is reaping such tremendous rewards? For these reasons, please ensure that HB1650 is passed by indefinitely.

Candice Diaz writes:

How does Virginia expect for students to be competent in technology areas if it is not present in Virginia schools? We all know that technology has become the cornerstone of modern education. Why would we want to take this away from our students?

Susanne Besecker writes:

I would like to take the opportunity to provide you with my opinion on what lies buried inside HB1650 and SB750 that you will be voting on very soon in Richmond. These bills both contain statements that eliminate funding for two extremely important technology positions in our schools. These are the Instructional Technologist Resource Teacher and the Technology Specialists. The ITRTs (as I am employed at Stonewall Middle School) provide much needed technology training and research of adequate systems to use for education. We also co-teach and model the use of technology for teachers to show them how to integrate technology into the classroom on a regular basis. Technology does not always work as intended and when teachers are asked to figure it out on their own, with the little time they have in the classroom, a whole day of planning can be shot simply because they aren't aware of extraneous things such as cable types, USB available power, pushing the function and 4 keys at the same time to show a video over a projector, etc. The ITRT positions are just not expendable. ITRTs also research available technology, interactive web pages, write lesson plans, evaluate software, support classrooms and labs, and with our networking, we do not reinvent the wheel - we share what we know with our cohorts making problem solving, integration of lessons, and purchasing and training much less timely for everyone. We have dusted off the technology that was sitting on shelves because no one knew how to use it or cared to use their own time to learn. There was no one to support it if it didn't work properly. Well, you get the message. The same goes for the technology specialist. It is WONDERFUL to have support waiting for you and to have your issues solved in such a timely manner. This position and the ITRT position make working with technnology much less frustrating for everyone - administration included. I hope you will vote to strike any statement from both bills that eliminates funding for one of the best moves this state has made in education in a long, long time!

Common Sense and Reality writes:

As an educator, I can honestly say that technology, although it has its benefits, is straightforward a huge waste of capital in education.
When students cannot learn the core content because there is no funding for textbooks or papers for resources, it is absolutely mind-boggling when that very same year, we have 80 new computers, plasma TV's, DVD players, new projectors, Quizdom, and other technology products being brought in by the truckload. How does this truly benefit the student? What is the point of all of this when they can't read, write, or do math?
Technology is not a cornerstone of education, it is a light show to cover up the decline of intelligence in our schools today. We pay out to IT personnel a salary that is, on average, higher than most veteran teachers. These positions are SUPPORT and SUPPLEMENTARY. The fact that these people spend more time surfing the web, taking time to go shopping, get lunch at McDonald's, print out personal endeavors, etc. is a travesty to this supposed "necessity."
Not only am I an educator of a critical subject (Englsih), but I have also been a person who was in charge of administering and regulating three technology programs while teaching a full course load. These positions are a gross misuse of money that can easily be absorbed by any educator with limited competency (something 90% of all IT personnel I have encountered lack). To illustrate this point:
If a person in the IT field has any true ability at what they do, they would not be working in a school system that pays them at minimum 1/2 of what the private sector would. IT personnel in education are more aptly those individuals who have poor work ethics and a serious lack of understanding of technology in the first place. These are people that complain when someone has an issue and fails to explain it to them in a way that is a solution. Furthermore, they are people that will not get off their lazy attitudes and assist and supplement the core teacher when asked.

Complain all you want, this is a fact: IT personnel are NON-ESSENTIAL and can be replaced with a pencil and paper. The only true benefit they provide is expediency; you can sugar-coat it any way you like, but this is all it is.

Now I am sure most of you are saying this: Our society is rapidly becoming completely technology integrated. Fine. I won't argue. What I will argue, however, is that the serious lack of solid, base education is necessary to understand that technology, and without it, you have done more harm to the student than good. Would you give a child a chainsaw without telling them about sharp objects? Clearly no. Would you let a child look down the barrel of a gun to see the bullet inside without explaining how it will kill them? It is appalling to think so. So why would we try to supplant proven education with technology that is as foreign to them as Quantum physics? Answer: we shouldn't.

End statement: If you vote yes for this funding, you have done nothing more than destroy eductation further, weaken a country, and most importantly, egotistically oppressed each student's ability to learn and grow through solid academics.

Leonard Klein writes:

I beleive that cutting funding for Technology Resource Teachers is not in the bets interest of Virginia's educational system. If we as a state wish to provide our students with great technology education and present content in ways students will find interesting these teachers are very important. So I oppose the cutting of the funds.

William F. Romano writes:

This bill can not be allowed to pass. Virginia is a leader in technology in the classroom and must be allowed to stay that way. The need to have people in the schools to integrate this technology and to repair the equipment must not ever be compromised.

This was already shot down in subcomittee but it seems that the author of the bill had his ego bruised and will not let it pass as the bad idea it was. Once again the legislators are trying to play politics with school funding. It seems that Del. Waldrup is determined to go down as the man who killed technology in the classroom.

Kimberly Compton writes:

I am one of the publications adviser at a High School in the Fairfax County Public School System. The yearbook, the newspaper and the literary magazine all face a staggering number of publishing deadlines throughout the year. The funding and support of the publishing computer labs have allowed us as advisers to create a learning experience in writing, and layout that allows us to teach our students at a level that enables them to work effectively with technology changes that exist and are in use in Journalism at newspapers, magazines and book publishing in the real world, beyond the years of their formal education. All material created by these students is now submitted online. Therefore we rely heavily on the TSpecs to keep our labs in working order. It is not unusual for our lab to experience technology glitches that completely shut us down,often ocurring right before deadline. Enormous financial resources have been dedicated to building our technology infrastructure. To cut the level of support that equipment requires is foolhardy.

As a teacher, I ask that you retain the tech support our schools need.

As a taxpayer, I insist you spend the considerable state income tax that we send to you in Richmond, every year, be spent with wisdom and foresight to maintain this enormous and essential capital investment. It is essential to preserving an education that deserves to be called "Quality"

Laura Burdick writes:

I have been a Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for the past 15 years. During this time I have seen many changes in technology and how it is used. If this bill is passed, it will set the Commonwealth of Virginia back many years. Right not Virginia is one of the premier states in the use of technology. The ITRT's provide a resource for teachers to help them integrate techology into the curriculum so that our students are becoming 21st Century citizens. Yes, students are do know a lot about technology but they do not always use it properly and a lot of what they know is about games, etc. PLEASE vote NO - Do not cause VA to go backwards in the delivery of technology to our students.

Other Common Sense writes:

I shy away from politics for this very reason...it usually means that "playing politics" is going to cost someone something. In the case of ITRT's that will mean salary. I struggle with some of the ways our fair state spends my tax dollars, sometimes because there is no clear benefit to my city or my part of the state. Have there been ANY studies conducted to fairly evaluate the value of effectiveness of ITRT's? Has anybody bothered to ask those closest to the situation? I cannot help but feel that this an effort to move state monies toward someone's pet project??? I would like to think that if the state legislature had a real desire to save dollars, they would look toward the elimination of highway funds for Virginia Beach.....how many more roads do they need??? As you can tell, it is very easy to offer assistance for the allocation of funds!!! Has a reason for elimination of the ITRT funding been suggested or offered?? This is really starting to look like back door to me!! And hey, Common Sense...who taught you to read and write??? and who helped them with that process??? and did you learn to use a computer by osmosis?? nuff said....my .02
Return the funding and leave it alone!!

William Brown writes:

To the "Englsih" teacher that posted, first off your comments about the competency of the technology positions does not apply to all the people that fill that position. You obviously have a slight insecurity about the higher salary. Though, maybe before you consider insulting people about there ability you should be an english teacher that knows how to spell.

Another unfounded statement is the idiotic claim of the difference in pay at the private sector. As someone who has experience in both areas a persons salary can vary for any number of reasons including the benefits, how far you are willing to commute, and how rewarding the job is. Your comment proves you ingnorance in this field.

Now onto the "SUPPORT" or your core subjects. What your limited viewpoint fails to realize the not only support of you direct teaching but also administrative problems. Such as email concerning meetings to the appropriate personel, printing of important documents, internet usage to view student myspace page for gang related activity and the list goes on and on.

End statement: Our world today revolves around the use of technology. As the world advances so will our schools. Why not prepare our student for the world that they will have to come to terms with ahead of time. All large organizations utilize a tech support including the people creating and voting on this bill why on earth would we cut the funding for the children. You don't see them cutting their support are they saying they need it more than the staff and children of our school systems.

Greg writes:

Personally anyone who would propose such a bill when technology is peaking in our society should, in my opinon, not serve as part of the governing body of Virginia. Period. This just goes to show that people who are not involved in education have absolutely NO idea what goes on in schools as they are not educated themselves on the daily life of teachers, administrators, and support staff. Taking away technology specialists in schools is the equivelent to taking away all positions of technological support for any product out on the market. In other words, if things break or are not working, you're outta luck buddy. I am a teacher, not in technical eduation or support - but realize the VALUE these people have in our schools. CHANGE is important, please remember that. Those that do not like change or are unwilling to promote good change should not be representing the people of Virginia or ANY other area in our country. Students will have this technology when out in the real world, so how will they learn to use it?

Other Common Sense writes:

I wonder how the legislators would feel if they had to handle ALL their business by themselves??? You know, answer the phone, take messages, handle the appointment book, get their own lunch...their own dry cleaning....answer their own emails????? If they eliminated the funding for the assistants to our elected officials, I wonder how much could be saved??? and btw, Common Sense....why is sentence diagramming still being taught when the majority of the population is reading tech manuals?? .02+.02

G. Bud writes:

What a great idea! If we want to save money, let's totally pull technology out of our schools and that way our kids won't be able to compete on the world market. Perhaps before our politicians think about cutting technology positions, they should work in Richmond without that same support. Do they fix thier own computers when they go down or do they call a technology specialist? When they want to make a presentation and really make a statement by using technology, are they putting together thier own power points etc. or are they having a technology savvy intern do it? Our schools are already being put through the wringer and stretched to the max with "No Child Left Behind" must we put them further in the hole by taking away thier technology support as well? I would hope that anyone in Richmond that votes in favor of this bill enjoy thier time in Richmond as they may not be there come the next election. Let's not conitue to play politics and finally get back to doing what is best for our kids and the people of the Commonwealth.

Bill Wells writes:

What sort of "Technology" are you teaching? Are you teaching programming languages? Web Design? IT skills? Will they be getting Microsoft or Macintosh Certifications from what you teach them?

Or are you just teaching students how to use word processing software, spreadsheets, and powerpoint?

The latter (Word Processing etc,) that's not teaching technology. That's teaching office skills. It won't give them any serious "competitive edge in the world market" as some of you claim. All it will do is make them better at the "office" equivalent of a McDonald's job, where they'll earn around 8 or 9 dollars an hour.

Core skills such as English, Advanced Mathematics, and Science- are what make a student more competitive in the world market.

Teachers are some of the biggest whining government bureaucrats I've ever seen. Think your job is too tough? Try working in private industry.

Thomas Carr writes:

I have just learned of HB1650 which, as I
understand from the person who informed me about it, is to take away funding for the Technology Resource Teachers (TRT) requirements of the Standards of Quality (SOQ) of 1 Technology Resource Teacher per 1,000 students in public schools. As a Technology Resource Teacher
myself, I am not writing for my job. I am writing for the education technology that we provided for the teachers and students we work with. This is their world. They are the technology natives. This is the mode of stimulation they understand, because it is what they are growing up with.

The school districts and the state of Virginia have invested many millions of dollars to provide technology to the students in schools. TRT's are a key component to the integration of technology in learning that the classroom teacher
cannot provide. The classroom teacher does not have the time to do what is needed to find the information, locate the devises, to prepare the materials in a presentation format for class along with all the other duties they have on their plate.

Working with the classroom teachers, we can prepare it in the technology format to present to the students for their understanding of the subject. It takes a lot of time to prepare a technology unit on any subject. It is not just finding the information to present and talking about it. It is also putting that information into a form of technology for presentation. Together, we work for the students.
Alone, teachers cannot compete with all the personal technologies available to today's youth. They are constantly being "entertained" with technology with their own technology devises.

Take this challenge. Challenge others on the
committee to go out to different schools throughout the state. Visit each level of K-12 and see what is going on in learning with technology. Our Stafford County Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007 is a Technology Resource Teacher. She is also the Teacher of the Year for our Region.

The Standards of Quality is for one Technology
Resource Teacher per 1,000 students. That means we touch the learning for 1,000 students in many
different ways that the classroom teachers cannot. We touch the learning for 1,000 students in ways that most would not have without us. We touch the learning of the parents of each and every one of those students
as well. We help teach the parents as to how to help their children learn through technology. Indirectly we teach the parents how to better themselves through technology.

You have given us the technology tools to use. Don't take away the leadership as how to use these tools to the best of their capabilities. Otherwise, much will be lost. The more we use these tools, the less expensive they are - the cost is the same, but the benefit is greater in the outcome.

Taxpayer who cares says Yes writes:

Why should I pay to have someone who knows little about technology and can't help the teachers by making computer lab available when they need it. They come late to school and leave early. They do not care if they interrupt the classroom when they set up and they send illegal e-mails through the school websites.
Why not incorporate in with a data specialists' job?

Bill Romano writes:

Isn't it funny that the people who are for the cutting of this funding and want to make blanket statements about all of the technical people do not have the courage to put their name on the post. To Mr. Wells, the office skills are not the only thing being taught by technology and that is not the point of these positions. These positions that those short sited delegates want to cut deal with teaching the teachers how to integrate the lastest technology into the classroom and having someone there when they need them to fix the problems when they occur. To the gutless Common Sense and Reality Englsih teacher I don't know who you are basing your skills assessment on, but the statements you made were wrong on all accounts. I not only have been far busier since I swiched over from the private sector (over 1500 work orders in 1 and a half school years at one high school not to mention working on a team that did 1800 upgrades in the 7 summer weeks) I also left the private sector job for a raise of over $15,000. This leaves your theory of "If a person in the IT field has any true ability at what they do, they would not be working in a school system that pays them at minimum 1/2 of what the private sector would" shot to dust. Next time do a little more research before you make a post with blanket accustations and assumptions. Follow me around for a day and your fat-head will be spinning.
Finally to Taxpayer post some specific times and dates and we will talk. We can only make available what is available. If someone else signs up for the computer lab before you then maybe you should stop procrastinating and sign up earlier.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I must remind everybody at the importance of polite discourse. If you disagree with what somebody has written here, or their ideas, please do so in a factual, informative, positive way, rather than calling their ideas "idiotic" or the person "ignorant" or "insecure."

Thank you.

Eyes Wide Open writes:

I can't believe some of the unbelievable attacks on tech support here. I want to say thank you and congratulate any IT person who shows up to school everyday and deals with attitudes like these. I don't know how you do it.

lois firunde writes:

Good morning, folks. I do not see why this is becoming such an ego infused debate. The bill is contradictory in itself, if you read it.
I would like to say that I was around and taught when our technology was a chalkboard and chalk. If we were lucky enough to get a handout, we would be chastised by our parents for the ungodly amount of black smudges on our clothing from the ink. There were inkwells in the desks, and students were courteous and respectful.
I am no technology wizard (I find it amazing I am able to do this - thank you youngsters), but there is a time to say enough is enough. I like to think I had a pretty good education, and from what I see today, I appears to me that today's students are just not getting that.
What I find most intriguing is that most of the comments people have left here, IT people and teachers alike, mostly seem to occur during what I thought was the business day. My question is this: Shouldn't you be working? I hate to agree with Common Sense up there (he clearly is on his own soapbox), but if the IT people are there to help and assist others, even teach, how is it that they have time to waste responding to this?
As I do not have to work now (happily, I might add), please do not chastise me for the very reason I just spoke of.
Lastly (I just can't resist), is it ironic or telling that so many people are infuriated with Common Sense and Reality? (Please be kind to this old soul).

Susan Fisher writes:

I would like to suggest that people read the ITRT Handbook. http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Technology/ITRThandbook.pdf
As an ITRT, I work with over 200 teachers and administrators integrating technology in classrooms. Education is not what it was in the 50's when I was in school. It is much better! Technology in the classroom is no longer a choice with SOL online testing, NCLB, and other mandated initiatives. I was a high school English teacher for 25 years, so I do know what core teachers are facing. They are facing an exciting time in education where teachers no longer have their backs to students writing problems on the board- they use a wireless pad that projects onto a white board from anywhere in the room. Technology is improving and moving faster than the teacher alone can keep up. That is one reason why the ITRT is so valuable.
For those systems mentioned above that have less effective ITRTs, then that is an administrative problem. I can tell you I work a minimum of 60 hours a week on ITRT lessons and issues. I am able to write this because today is a snow day but I have already received 3 phone calls at home and 12 emails and it is not 9:30 A.M. yet.
ITRTs and Tech. Support are valuable to all school systems, so vote no to HB1650.

John Smith writes:

And to you, Ms. Besecker, what is your maturity level if you end your statement with the very colloquial and somewhat inappropriate acronym? If you wish people to support your side (as I do) do not make us look so badly. It would be best if you didn't reply at all - I am afraid you will create more damage for our campaign than good.

Suzanne Whitlow writes:

I would like to address the comments concerning the fact that someone believes Technology Resource Teachers teach "office skills." While doing a lesson on Google Earth, I guided students through all of the continents, the oceans, and to places our students study in Social Studies. We went to the Old North Church, and to Paul Revere's House. We measured the distance from these two landmarks using the measure tool. We then went out to our playground, and measured off that same distance. We tried to "signal" each other using signs, hand signals, and flashlights. We measured the distance from the Old North Church to the water.
One student remarked "Now I understand why someone had to climb up so high. This is a great way to learn."
I ask you, is this teaching office skills?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Ms. Besecker's comment has been removed at her request.

Laura Davis writes:

To "Common Sense & Reality"- if your school does not have the funds available for books, paper resources etc. but can buy Plasma TV's, DVD Players, fund a new computer lab, - perhaps the person you need to place on the chopping block would be your administrator, not your IT person, if your district is managed on site. Maybe it is necessary to replace your lab due to older technology not supported by the system network within your county?

Pen & paper need be an integral piece of education- yet technology, used for the benefit of the student learning is not "lightshow" as you imply, but rather a tool for enhancing their learning and making connections with the students to the real world, bringing the material to life, rather than strictly teacher centered instruction. I teach HS not college- so pen & paper are not the only tools I like to have at my disposal to teach my curriculum.

As far as my understanding of the pay received by the IT it is grant money and should that person no longer be funded by the state- it would not financially benefit your school, that money would be earmarked for some other state project. I was also under the impression that they currently are paid based on the same scale that teacher's are, years of experience & educational level- if I'm wrong, please let me know.

The other issues/complaints you were lodging have nothing to do with the bill, but rather seem to be an attack on someone you have encountered in your work place, or currently are working with-issues better dealt with in your building? You choose to condemn a bill & funding based on your personal experience & relationship with your IT, rather than what the spirit & purpose of this bill and the impact of ending funding for technology would have on the lives of students. Maybe open discussion within your building would be a better place to air your differences than anonymously on the internet. I've been teaching for over 25 years and couldn't tell you what the teacher's on my floor had for lunch yesterday, let alone what the ITRT person had or when they come or go. It is not my job to check up on them, or anyone other adult in my building. My job is to teach.

As educators it is our job to teach- and once you learn and accept all students are not the same, nor do they all learn the same you will find that technology is a wonderful thing. Not all students learn by pen & pencil- some need to see it, experience it, manipulate the information, etc- difficult to do with only paper & pencil. We also must create lifelong learners- if we make connections with our students, albeit as you say with a light show- then I've done my job. Technology provides educators with an avenue not accessible through pen & pencil- to take them on a virtual field trip to an art museum, biology lab to dissect animals, places they may never have the opportunity to experience is a marvelous thing. Technology in the classroom is not about looking good, it is a tool, a way to provide the students, theorectically the reason we're all in education-the STUDENTS, with just that- Education, open their eyes to the world around them, make them curious, make them eager to learn. Why limit the students accessibility to information, knowledge, & learning because the IT is NON-ESSENTIAL.
Who else in your building has the time to help implement technology use in the classroom? Who assists when the technology has a glitch, who should the teacher call? Mind you- in room of 30 students- who has the time to trouble-shoot if there are problems,either with the technology in the room, or problems in the lab? If you look to supplement your curriculum and the IT person is there to help- it's a wonderful learning experience.
I would submit that not all schools or buildings experience what "Common Sense & Reality" suggests- when everyone works together for the benefit of the children, technology & what the 21st Century has to offer to our students is amazing. To cut this funding ultimately hurts our children/students- it's not about our egos or personal agendas it's about the kids. With the quality & level of education we wish to provide them-technology should be an integral aspect of education and not up for debate & what appears to be personal attacks in the above postings.

Colonial Heights writes:

If I read this correctly, you are appropriating funds to purchase new and additional computers or other related equipment. All I want to know is if each of you or the other delegates are willing to volunteer your time to install, maintain, and repair this equipment as the need arises.

Most school divisions are stretched to their limits as it is, with minimal technology staffing, and inadequate training. Please explain somewhere in this bill who will take on those responsibilities if the technology support and instructional personnel funding is eliminated from the Standards of Quality program.

Dave K. writes:

I have a better idea of how to save even more money. Dissolve VITA, sell the nice big plot of land just purchased in Chesterfield County for out-sourced, contracted support, and move the support to India. Then if your computer breaks, you can have a foreign company profit from it, while they send you a replacement part and let you install it yourself.

Sean S. writes:

Working as an ITRT in SW Virginia, I see the strong need for technology training of teachers in rural parts of our state. We are envied by other states for providing such a depth of technology training and support and I can't believe that this amendment has been introduced. Please do not pass this bill!

Thank you.

Common Sense and Reality writes:

To Ms. Laura Davis:
You are absolutely correct. It is an issue that I should have addressed and kept within my building. My frustration is that I have discussed this ad nauseum to no effect. Seeing this as a public forum, I let my frustrations out here - for that I apologize.
The one thing I would still disagree with is this: Until state testing is COMPLETELY integrated into technology, it is harmful to "train" them in uses that are not appropriate for the test. Example: a teacher decides to use a jeopardy-like game to give quizzes and/or tests. This is the teacher's main test-taking strategy. When it comes time for that teacher's students to take the SOL test with paper and pencil, these students have not been properly trained to manipulate and interact with the hardcopy. As tests are becoming more and more challenging (and many would say unfair), limiting the education of this method of teaching would be harmful in lieu of "keeping their attention" with technology as a supplement.
When there are enough funds delegated to implement the state test in certified testing facilities so that there is one computer for each student, I will whole-heartedly support this, as long as those funds are not filtered through the true educational funds for textbooks, supplies, desks, chairs, classroom space, qualified teachers, etc. Until then, those funds can and should be spent elsewhere, if everyone is trying to support students' educations.

History Teacher writes:

To everyone. I have taught middle school for over 20 years and have seen many changes. Until recently computers, software, and other things have been given to us with little or no instruction in its use or implementation. New teachers are required to have technology skills but these are often limited to word processing, database, and spreadsheets. We are a small school system in South Central Virginia and technology allows our students avenues previously limited. I myself am a quick study of technology but I see many of my peers frustrated and the two ITRT's work tirelessly, often working 12 hours days with no extra compensation. There might be a time where an ITRT is not needed and computers may be made well enough to where other IT personnel are not needed but that is is not now.
Eliminating funding for these positions will result in a tremendous investment being wasted because many of the teachers will lack the skill or instuction in being able to use it. Pure IT personnel, though good in maintaining computers and working with them, lack the personal touch that helps older teachers grasp and feel comfortable with the technology.
Please vote "no" to this bill.

Faith Ramer writes:

There is an expression among educators that goes something like "I am now so good at doing everything that I can to anything with nothing." Having taught for almost 30 years in various parts of the commonwealth, there are places in this 10 wealthiest state that doing much with nothing is a requirement of employment. Why are children and their teachers being asked to carry the weight of budget cuts? These childrens are held to standards that are invalid and unreliable; they are tested too much in the name of not leaving even one behind, when we are indeed leaving some behind because they will not help us reach AYP!
I realize that we live in a culture where few of us see very far past our noses, but it is time to stop compromising their and our future. After all, these are the individuals who will support us in our old age!
And then, what do we do when the technology does not work? Those who work with this machinery are individuals who facilitate student learning, expose students and teachers to teaching and learning methods that shorten the distance between the presentation and retention of information.

Ken B writes:

"Please do not support any finance bill amendments which eliminate the funding for instructional technology resource teachers and technology support personnel in Virginia's schools."

Nancy Fehrle writes:

How many times have you needed technical help? What if you have to wait for that help?
What if your child needed a computer fixed to finish their project?
Would you tolerate having no technical support in your facility?
Do you want your children to use computers?
Get real. Schools need technology. Technology needs caretakers.

Sally Bryan writes:

I am the School-based Technology Specialist at an elementary school. I spend my time training teachers in the use of educational technology applications and showing them how to integrate technology into their curriculum. I model for students and make sure that our technololgy supports and enhances our curriculum. Elimination of my job will eliminate the use of technology in my school. If you believe that our students need to use technology for their future then do not vote for this bill.
Sally Bryan

Sylvia Perez-Fasano writes:

I am a school based technology specialist in my school district. My role is to provide instructional and technical support to our teachers and students. The use of technology and its integration into instruction and the curriculum will be greatly impacted if funding is cut and positions are eliminated. Teachers will opt to use technology less in the classroom because of the lack of support and professional development that this position provides. Technology is the future of our students who depend on their teachers to provide them with the basic and foundational technical skills and abilities that they will encounter and utilize in potential job possibilities.. Therefore it is essential that we continue to maintain the funding that is going to prepare our students to be our future citizens and in charge of making decisions that will impact all of our future.

Sanchita writes:

How do you expect schools to run without technology staff members? I am baffled by the logic of all this.

Techie from FCPS writes:

This is totally outrageous. If the lady further up this column thinks that we come to school late and leave early- she's generalizing about the whole profession. I am a teacher and plan technology as a supportinve resource for my teachers. Being a former teacher, I know how valuable a resource this position is. Don't dissolve it.

Sanchita writes:

I am special education teacher, and the IT specialists are vital. They allow me to do my job without having to delay lessons just because something is amiss in technology.

Sanchita writes:

n order to maintain the excellent educational opportunities provided by the ITRTs and school-based technology support personnel, I urge you to vote against HB-1650 and SB750.

Sanchita writes:

In order to maintain the excellent educational opportunities provided by the ITRTs and school-based technology support personnel, vote against HB-1650 and SB750.

Steve Ballard writes:

Technology is at the forefront of our society. It is a vital part of our student's education - which we are required to include regardless of our level of training. It is an absolute necessity for teachers such as myself to have the technology support we have now and I ask that we be given more, not less. Without the support of our ITRTs, we cannot function appropriately. Vote NO on HB1650 and SB750.

It is a sad reflection of our government that any bill would be proposed, which cuts into the funding and staffing of our schools on any level. If you do not yet realize how poorly funded and staffed schools are to begin with, you have no sense of the reality which exists. Have the sense to start supporting your own children's education. Vote NO on HB1650 and SB750.

Kim Compton writes:

As a taxpayer I am dismayed that this bill is even being considered again after having been ditched by the SOQ subcommittee.

Wisely the General Assembly years ago made a deep financial committment toward establishing a quality level of technology resources in Virginia Public Schools. They saw fit to to support the staffing necessary to maximize Virginia's investment in technology, and take the steps needed to keep the tech infrastructure in constant working order.

The daunting task of administering, grading, and reporting SOL scores has been managed by widespread us eof technology. Technology has also been invested in many varieties of learning labs; in sciences, math, foreign language, graphics and journalism to name a few. Technology has become a cornerstone of teaching, learning, and yes, even governing, in the 21st century.

For the Assembly to have made this enormous capital investment and then cut the funding necessary to preserve it, is counterproductive at best, and wasteful of our resources at worst.

If what I have already said makes no difference to the supporters of this bill, then imagine this: cut in half the tech funding for the Assembly. How would that affect the quality of their research, legislation, communication among colleagues and between you and your representatives? How effective is technology for any of us, in schools, government and business, without uninterrupted access to working technology?

All taxpayers deserve an explanation as to what logic or wisdom drives the proposal to cut tech support in our schools. Is there solid reasoning behind this bill or is it proposed with just the bottom line of the state budget in mind?

Lois Sady writes:

I don't want to add a long comment - if you read all the other comments you will read all the overwhelming reasons to NOT support this bill... this is a bill against best practices in education and I thought we had gone beyond that.

J. McCallum writes:

Someone needs to give Mr. Callahan a round trip ticket on the "Get a Clue Bus."

Joe S. writes:

Ms. Lois Firunde,

The logic of your question "Shouldn't you be working?" is baffling. You say not to chastise you since you were not working when you posted, but apparently you assume that all the other technology related personnel who post are doing so in lieu of their work. Do you not see that it is feasible that other's could be posting during their breaks, lunches or after hours? If your lack of support is based on this weak arguement, then perhaps you should reconsider.

Also, just because someone calls themselves Common Sense and Reality, does not make them the embodiment of such, so, no, I see no irony in disagreeing with them.

As my co-worker pointed out to me, if this amendment (for the whole bill is not problematic, just the amendment) is allowed to stand, the cities and state will be spending significantly more money to outsource the work to money-hungry companies (nothing wrong with capitalism!) that will be required instead of using the in-house technicians and specialists that work at the rates controlled by the districts, not by the vendors. Computer clubs will not teach our students and faculty enough about technology, and the equipment will not fix itself. In-house experts who are familiar with the equipment and instructional specialists who know how to teach technology is what we have, and continue to need.

Deidra Dunbar writes:

It has been a blessing having IT personnel available in our building. If we are to continue moving toward the new goals established for the county, technology resources should be increased not decreased. IT personnel is essential to our technological growth. I hope this bill will not pass.

Susanne Besecker writes:

Please see all comments for HB1650. They are most relevant to not passing Senate Bill 750! We can not stop supporting educational technology by cutting funding for support positions! PLEASE VOTE NO!

Joe S. writes:

Although the whole bill may not be flawed, there is an are of great concern in it, the defunding of removal of a requirement to have 1 Instructional Technology Resource Teacher and Technology Support Specialist per 1000 students. To allow this bill to pass without removing these aspects would be a travesty. Take into consideration these facts:

1. The General Assembly has established a national reputation for its levels of investment regarding the future for technology in education. That investment is now reaping its benefits today as we continue to move into the future.

2. The Standards of Quality articulate levels of staffing to help guarantee success for 21st Century learners. The Joint Legislative and Review Commission clearly recognized the role of technology integrators and support personnel in their Standards of Quality recommendations to the General Assembly.

3. The missing link has always been having the right people on the ground that are close to the children, and can have a direct impact on their learning and achievement. The Standards of Quality have gone a long way towards facilitating those staffing issues, resulting in Virginia once again leading the Country in its approach to technology's role in education. Among other impacts, test scores continue to improve based, in part, on the support provided by technology integrators.

4. Virginia is an innovator when it comes to the role of technology in education. Education Week recently announced that Virginia has the highest Chance-for-Success Index rating in the Country. This index, consisting of a state-by-state analysis, combines information from 13 indicators that span an individual's life from cradle to career. The index provides information that could be used to target the efforts of public education systems in ways that better serve students of all ages. Virginia's signation as the number one state in the country reflects the recognition of the importance of support for effective technology-related programs in education.

The ITRT helps the teacher in using technology to its fullest capability, which in turn, helps to engage and educate your children. The Technology Support position helps ensure that the equipment that your children use work effectively and efficiently, and has the familiarity to recognize problems before they occur. Additionally by being in-house they can fix a problem rapidly with little down time in the classroom, enabling teachers to stay on task with your children, rather than distracting them by switching to other teaching points. Don't remove the funding and requirements for these positions. The need will not go away, and the money saved is paltry compared to the costs in outsourcing repairs and training to local vendors who do not have the familiarity with the equipment, the understanding of the teaching environment, or the concern for your children.

Joyce Wainwright writes:

I am a School Based Technology Specialist (SBTS) at an elementary school. Eliminating the funding for this position and the Technology Support Specialist (TSSPEC) would drastically reduce the use of technology in our school; and therefore, negatively impact the overall student achievement in our school. Technology has become integral part of our school’s curriculum, and we need to continue the progress that we have already made on increasing student achievement through the use of this technology. Please defeat this bill and help continue the positive impact that we have had since the implementation of these two positions.

Steve Holmlund writes:

"Penny wise, pound foolish."

Robert Burton (1577–1640)

Chad Rummel writes:

If there is anyone that thinks a school can run without the support of the technology specialists, I would happily invite you into my classroom at any time of the day to see how much technology is in use and the problems it has.

It seems funny to me that the House just passed a bill to icrease the requirements for a standard diploma to include two consecutive Career/Tech Ed classes. Many of these class will involve computer use (all business, computer, tech, marketing classes), yet, we want to cut out the people who support them? Haven't we seen enough of this in No Child Left Behind (increasing mandates but not providing the resources to accomplish them). What next? Should we eliminate the school media center, nurse, security specialists? After all, they aren't directly involved in the four core classes.

To the person that thinks our technology people come in late and leave early: again, you are severely mistaken. Our SBTS has waved at me many times as I walked out the front door, and I stay later than moste teachers. Our Technical Specialist has been known to stay FAR after school to fix problems in my lab, to answer emails I send him late at night and be in my classroom first thing in the morning to fix problems.

I would ask that we look at the current teacher shortage that is expected to grow and grow. When you start putting the responsibility of of Tspec and SBTS on the teachers, too, (after all, we already play teacher, parent, counselor, etc.), your shortage is going to grow and grow.

We are not teaching in the '50s anymore. Technology is rampant in the world, and our schools should be the same. Eliminating the background that supports this endeavor is taking a step backward.

**This message was posted at 4:31 p.m. on a Friday evening from my home, personal computer.

Chad Rummel writes:

One more note: another amendment to this bill would increase funding for CTE to schools. So we buy more equipment but cut the support for that equipment?

Laura Davis writes:

TO: Common Sense & Reality,
Apology accepted. Education is a very frustrating job- not even considering the students into the mix-it's a very private matter undertaken in public!
Quick question- is there value or connection between the use of technology for testing & quizzes if it helps the student learn the material for that SOL? I've used jeopardy/games in the classroom- but could not imagine testing my children, even with technology without providing them with a hard copy in their hands.
As for the legislation itself- I find it frustrating that again, legislators are attempting to tell us how to do our jobs, what we need to be successful teachers- you can't legislate "smart children"-yet they continue to attempt to impliment a one size fits all solution hoping that legislation will correct the problems faced in educatio.

ABC Tecky writes:

As a School Based Technology Specialist, I am not only responsible for assisting and training the teachers in effectively integrating technology and maintaining the many pieces of equipment in my building, I see myself as an instructional leader. All the Technology Specialists in my school district are valued at their schools and needed. Eliminating this position would move Virginia backwards.
Check this out: http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2006/08/did-you-know.html This link will take you to a Did you know Powerpoint that shows how important it is that our teachers have training on proper technology integration and the impact it will have on their students.

Bob Smith writes:

Virginia has been in the lead in technology use in education and earned the appelation, "The Silicon Dominion." This bill, in its current form would be a giant step backward. If you strip money for educational technology support, teachers will rapidly become frustrated with trying to implement technological approaches to the curriculum and the millions of dollars that have already been spent on equipment will be wasted because there will not be educational and technical support specialists readily available to keep the equipment running. It will also not be possible to maintain the current level of teacher education because this strips out a vital layer of the training process when a new technology is introduced.
Please support technology in our classrooms in Virginia.

steve purcell writes:

As a teacher educator, I prepare initial-licensure education candidates to be knowledgeable, competent, enthusiastic users of technology. All of our discussions about technology usage are grounded in the psychological understandings of how learning takes place. Meaningful learning goes well beyond the simple recall of information, and technology has the both the potential and the appeal to challenge kids in ways that textbooks alone cannot.

Central to the successful, creative, innovative use of technology is the vital work that Instructional Technology Resource Teachers are undertaking in Virginia's public schools. The research literature is quite clear: traditional methods of teacher professional development (i.e., interventions that require teachers to attend "training" either before or after school) have not kept pace with advances in technology. With the demands made of teachers in response to SOL testing, it is more important now than ever for teachers to harness the potential that new technologies bring to bear on learning and teaching. The key to capitalizing on Virginia public schools’ technology investment is the ongoing support for professionals who can assist teachers in designing technology-based instructional interventions that meet the variety of learning demands abundant in today’s classrooms. I urge you to continue funding these very important positions in Virginia that all students throughout the Commonwealth will benefit.

Timothy Buckley writes:

I cannot believe that we are even discussing this. Anyone who works in a school these days understands that these positions are highly important. They support the system in ways that are not seen by the public. Please, if we truly want to help our students, do not start cutting state funding in this critical area now.

Sally Hazard writes:

As a parent, former computer programmer and now and IA at my children's school, I am baffled by the comments of those that support this bill. Our IT tech goes above and beyond helping teachers and students utilize technology to its full potential. Sure, there are slackers out there who don't do anything but that's life and it exists in every profession. Take action against it. You aren't afraid to speak out in this forum so be a voice for your school and make technology work for you.

Like it or not we live in a computerized world and thank goodness my children have learned the basics on a computer. It will no doubt give them an edge later in life. Every child should have the opportunity to feel comfortable with technology. And without the IT support who will give those kids a chance?

I think the key word here is "support". Computers should support pen/paper and teacher based instruction. Teachers should support technology. And staff should support staff!

Joette Bailey writes:

I believe that whoever introduced this amendment knows too little about education and technology to have a seat in the General Assembly. Why should someone so lacking in awareness be allowed to make decisions that will affect our students and teachers jobs, education and success? Without the technology personnel in the school system, the computers and programs available will be a waste of money. Please inform yourselves properly before voting on issues that affect so many so seriously. If you don't wish to be informed, get another job! This is too important to be at the mercy of ignorance.

Joette Bailey writes:

I believe that whoever introduced this amendment knows too little about education and technology to have a seat in the General Assembly. Why should someone so lacking in awareness be allowed to make decisions that will affect our students and teachers jobs, education and success? Without the technology personnel in the school system, the computers and programs available will be a waste of money. Please inform yourselves properly before voting on issues that affect so many so seriously. If you don't wish to be informed, get another job! This is too important to be at the mercy of ignorance.

Mark Sulivan writes:

If technology is so integral to teaching, why is it not required for to get a license? Perhaps if a course or two in computers were a requirement for licensure, then it would solve everyone's problems.
Mark

Karen writes:

If you think that using a computer is what this is all about, you are sadly mistaken. It isn't about how to use a computer, it is about finding and using resources and technology to enhance your lessons and to perform administrative tasks. A teacher has to know how to not only "use a computer" but find good resources, develop lesson plans that infuse technology, use a smartboard, an Elmo, a projector, a classroom response system, video casting equipment, etc. It is not so simple as just to require teachers to take a computer class. Technology is always changing and growing. The class you took last year is out of date, the version of software or the technology you used last year is updated, and changed. Teachers need someone to keep them updated, help them find good educational resources, teach the children how to use the equipment, teach the teachers how to use the equipment, help them when the equipment is malfunctioning, prepare the students to take their SOL tests online, keep up with how to do all the administrative tasks on the computers, etc. Not so simple as Mark Sulivan proposes.

Bill Romano writes:

This is from an email I received from the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.

"It appears that the language to strike the funds was not included in the latest version of the bills, primarily due to the large response from the education community. Although not yet finalized, it appears that everyone's swift action has helped for a second time to keep the TIS/TSS positions funded.

If you look at the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee recommendations that came out yesterday afternoon, you will see that neither committee recommended removing the funding for the two technology positions.

Please note that until the legislation is signed on the bottom line, the process can still stray from the desired path. Tomorrow, the FINANCE bills will be voted on by each house prior to crossing over. Amendments, although very unlikely, may still be possible from the floor."

Congratulations go out to the members of the commitee who listened to their constituents and did the right thing.

whocares writes:

Congratulations the NIMBYs win again

I guess it would be too much to ask for teachers to have a basic knowledge of technology. If you actually did your JOB these extra positions would not be necessary. Instead we "need" people to spoon feed basic technology skills.

Those of us with real jobs sink or swim. If you can't pick up technology you are fired and replaced with someone who can.

I am suprised you don't need more specialists. Maybe a discipline specialist for handling classroom behavior. Oh how about a reading specialist to teach kids how to read. Oh wait we already have these positions. Pathetic

English Teacher Who Cares writes:

To Who Cares...I suggest you get fired for your lack of people skills. You wouldn't survive with my 8th grade students for 5 minutes. The basic technology skills you are speaking of are part of most teachers' skills. The IT people handle much more than your narrow mind can understand...podcasts, blogs, grading systems that update parents with grades daily, video conferencing with other parts of the world...everything so that one day our students can take over your job. Oh, and unless you work for a fast food company or some no-where little company, you have an IT person too. Everyone does, wake up. I worked in law, medicine, and the government before teaching. IT people are everywhere and needed. The next time you lash out, just wait, one of our non-disciplined, illiterate students may be waiting to point out your flaws.

To all those who have true passion for education, bravo. It is a field that can not be understood by all. Who cares...why are you posting if you don't care.