Saturday, February 23, 2008

Technology not the best idea for preschoolers

HB 200 Early Childhood Learning and Evaluation is a well-meaning idea from a great lawmaker, Rep. Brad Last. But it's not as good as it looks and is being opposed by many in the early childhood community because computer-based learning is not a replacement for developmentally appropriate learning environments that contain cooperative play, blocks, art, etc. Reading daily with an adult increases literacy skills as the child and adult converse back and forth about the story. Currently, there is limited funding for the WPU and existing educational programs. This bill creates an expensive test pilot when we have evidence-based programs already in existence that have no state funding. In addition, the Governor’s Early Childhood Commission is developing early childhood policy priorities for the state that will be announced at a Summit in April. Hopefully, this bill will stay in the Rules Committee and not be debated in the House this session.

This bill creates a pilot project, known as UPSTART, using a home-based educational technology program to develop school readiness skills of preschool children ages 4-5 not enrolled in kindergarten. One third of the funds can be used to provide families with a computer and internet access if they don’t have it. The bill asks for funding of $9.6 million, but has only been prioritezed for $5 million in ongoing and $2 million one-time from the Uniform School Fund to support the pilot. The money will be appropriated to the State Board of Education.

UPSTART is created to evaluate the effectiveness of giving preschool children access, at home, to interactive individualized instruction delivered by computers to prepare them for future school success, and to test the feasibility of scaling a home-based curriculum in reading, math and science to be delivered by computers and the internet to all preschool children in Utah.
The bill directs the State Board of Education to:
1. Contract with an education technology provider, selected through an RFP, for the delivery of a home-based educational technology program for preschool children.
2. Contract with an independent evaluator to evaluate the program.

The bill:
1. Specifies standards for the technology
2. Provides for school district participation in the pilot project
3. Requires an annual audit of the contractor’s use of funds; and
4. Requires an annual audit on UPSTART to the legislature; and repeals the pilot project on July 1, 2014.

To view the full text: http://le.utah.gov/~2008/bills/hbillint/hb0200.htm

2 comments:

Natalie said...

Some think that Brad Last looks like Ron Bigelow. Personally, I don't see it.

I'm sorry if I am tainting your blog with my personal jokes that aren't even that funny to people on the in. It's been a long 44 days (and I am a slacker. It must have been a really long 44 days for those that are doing something).

Natalie said...

After my last comment, I thought of something that cracked me up. So, please indulge me.

"I love technology, but not as much as you, you see. But, I still love technology."
Kip Dynamite