Education Technology Programs, Title II Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

CRS Report for Congress
Education Technology Programs,
Title II, Part D of the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act
Charmaine Mercer
Analyst in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division
Bonnie F. Mangan
Technical Information Specialist
Knowledge Services Group
The Enhancing Education Through Technology Act of 2001 (Title II, Part D of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA]) establishes the EdTech grant
program. The purpose of EdTech is to improve student academic achievement by
utilizing technology in schools. This report describes the EdTech program, including
the allocation of grant funds to state and local education agencies; provides annual
appropriations data for the program; and discusses the applicability of child Internet
protection to EdTech grantees. In addition, Title II, Part D includes the Ready-to-Learn
Television program, which is also described in this report. This report will be updated
as warranted.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001 (P.L. 107-110) reauthorized the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. Title II, Part D of the
reauthorized ESEA consists of the following four subparts: State and Local Technology
Grants; National Technology Activities; Ready-to-Learn Television; and Child Internet
Safety. In this report, all of the subparts except Ready-to-Learn Television (RTLT) are
referenced as “EdTech.”
EdTech resulted from the consolidation of two previous technology programs — the
Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and the Technology Innovation Challenge Grant.
Both of the aforementioned programs were previously authorized as components of Title
III, Part A of the ESEA. Similar to its predecessors, the primary goal of EdTech is to
improve student academic achievement by utilizing technology in schools.

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

This report provides an overview of Title II, Part D of the ESEA. It also includes a
description of the EdTech program, including program guidelines, appropriations, and
child Internet safety information. In addition to EdTech, the report examines the RTLT
program currently administered by the Public Broadcasting Service.
The EdTech program is intended to assist elementary and secondary schools with
improving student academic achievement by utilizing technology. EdTech encourages
state and local education agencies to establish partnerships with private and public
agencies that focus on technology, to develop adequate infrastructure to support
technology usage in the classroom, and also to utilize technology to encourage parental
participation. By utilizing research-based instructional methods, EdTech also aims toth
have every child become technologically literate by the time they finish the 8 grade.
EdTech State Grants
EdTech provides formula grants to state education agencies (SEAs) that in turn
distribute them to local education agencies (LEAs) and other eligible entities. The ESEA,
Title II, Part D mandates that 98% of the appropriated amount for a given year be made
available to the states. The remaining 2% is allotted for the Secretary of Education to
conduct various national technology activities (described separately below). The 98% is
to be distributed as follows:
!three-fourths of 1% for the Secretary of Interior to be distributed among
schools overseen or funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
!one-half of 1% to the outlying areas;1
!any additional funds necessary for continuing technology grant awards
made prior to the enactment of the NCLBA; and
!remaining amounts to SEAs by formula.
Each eligible SEA receives an amount proportional to the amount it receives for
Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act2 for such year. For
example, if state “X” received 4% of the total allotment available for all states for Title
I, Part A of the ESEA, state “X” would receive 4% of the amount being distributed by
formula for the EdTech grant for the same year. To ensure that all states receive adequate
funding to carry out a technology plan, no state will receive less than one-half of 1% of
the total amount allocated by formula to all states. Additionally, if a state does not apply
for an EdTech grant or does not utilize its entire grant, the Secretary can redistribute the
monies among other applicants.

1 Department of Education program guidelines for EdTech define the outlying areas as the Virgin
Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
2 Title I, Part A of the ESEA provides formula grants through SEAs to LEAs for use in
elementary and secondary schools that serve relatively high numbers or percentages of poor
children to enable the LEAs to prepare the students to meet the state’s academic standards.

Application. To receive an EdTech grant, SEAs can submit a program-specific
application or a consolidated state plan covering multiple state-administered formula grant
programs under the ESEA, including Title II, Part D. Either way the application must
include a statewide, long-range education technology plan that addresses the technology
needs of the LEAs in the state. In addition, the state technology plan must also include
items such as proposed strategies for increasing technology literacy among students and
teachers; a description of how the state will encourage technologically literate teachers
to remain in urban and rural LEAs; how the state will increase access to technology in3
high-need LEAs; the accountability process; and measures that the state intends to use
to measure the efficacy of the projects funded by the subgrant.
Activities. The state may not use more than 5% of the EdTech grant to carry out
specific authorized activities. Authorized programmatic activities include, but are not
limited to:
!developing performance measurement systems to measure the efficacy
of the programs funded under the subgrant;
!assisting recipients with developing and sustaining professional
development; and
!collaborating with other SEAs to provide distance-learning opportunities.
SEAs are also required to provide technical assistance to high-need LEAs that
demonstrate to the SEA the greatest need for assistance in completing an application for
the EdTech grant.
EdTech Local Subgrants
Formula and Competitive Grants. SEAs award 50% of the grants in the form4
of formula subgrants to all eligible LEAs that submit an application for authorized
activities. Each LEA shall receive the same proportion from the 50% that it received
under Title I, Part A for the same year. The remaining amounts of the EdTech money are
to be awarded competitively to high-need districts or local partnerships5 through a state-
determined, competitive process.

3 A “high-need” local education agency is defined as: (1) an LEA with the highest numbers or
percentages of children from families with incomes below the poverty line, and that (2) operates
one or more schools identified under Section 1116 of the ESEA — schools in need of academic
improvement — or has a substantial need for assistance in acquiring and using technology.
4 An “eligible” LEA is a high-need LEA that is a current recipient of funds under Title I, Part A
of the ESEA. Over 90% of all LEAs receive Title I-A grants.
5 A local partnership includes at least one high-need LEA, and at least one of the following: an
LEA that can demonstrate that teachers in schools served by the LEA are effectively integrating
technology and proven teaching practices into classroom instruction; an institution of higher
education that is not identified by the state as low-performing and that is in compliance with the
reporting requirements for its teacher education program as mandated by Section 207(f) of the
Higher Education Act of 1965; a for-profit business or organization that develops, designs, or
manufactures technology products or services, or that has substantial expertise in the application
of technology in instruction; or a public or private nonprofit organization with demonstrated
experience in the application of technology in instruction.

Prior to distributing competitive grants, the SEA must establish the minimum
amount of each grant to ensure that the grant amount will be effective to administer the
proposed technology plan. Second, the SEA must determine which LEAs would have
received a formula grant that was not of sufficient size to be effective, and give them
priority in the competition. Finally, the SEA must ensure an equitable distribution of the
competitive subgrants between rural and urban areas according to the need demonstrated
by the schools within the LEA.
Application. Eligible LEAs and local partnerships are eligible to apply for
subgrants from their SEA to fund technology programs that assist in improving students’
academic performance and that help all students attain technological literacy. The
technology application must include the entities’ goals for using advanced technology for
both students and teachers, and it must clearly state how the EdTech funds will be used
to improve student academic achievement. Among other things, the application should
also include a description of how the funds will be used to ensure:
!increased access for students in general, and specifically for students in
high-need and high-poverty schools;
!teachers are prepared to integrate technology into the curriculum; and
!teachers receive ongoing and sustained professional development.
Activities. All recipients — formula and competitive grant — must use at least

25% of the funds received for continual and effective professional development.

However, if a recipient can demonstrate to the SEA that it provides adequate professional
development, the 25% requirement can be waived. The following is a select list of other
authorized activities:
!establishment and maintenance of public-private partnerships that
increase technology access for schools and students, especially those in
high-need areas;
!acquisition of proven and effective technology courses that are designed
to help students meet state academic standards;
!development or expansion of Internet and other technology efforts to
connect schools and teachers with parents and students; and
!utilization of technology for data gathering and measurement.
National Technology Activities
The Secretary of Education is required to conduct a long-term, independent study,
using scientifically based research, to ascertain the conditions and practices under which
technology is effective in increasing student academic achievement. Additionally, the
study should include the conditions and practices that increase teachers’ ability to
integrate technology into the classroom and curriculum. The independent study is one of
the authorized activities that can be funded by the 2% of the EdTech grant reserved by the
Secretary of Education to carry out national technology activities. A final report with
results from the study is to be submitted to Congress no later than April 6, 2006.

The Secretary is also required to publish a long-range technology plan that, among
other things, discusses how he or she intends to promote:
!technology usage to increase academic achievement;
!use of technology to assist with systemic state reform; and
!increased access to technology for teaching and learning.
The Secretary must also work with other federal agencies to coordinate joint activities and
promote technology use in schools.
Internet Safety
Title II, Part D extends legal requirements enacted for most schools under the Child
Internet Protection Act (CIPA) of 2001 (P.L. 106-554) to schools receiving EdTech
grants. CIPA requires that schools must use technology protection measures on
computers that can access the Internet to filter or block access to material that is
considered unsuitable. Specifically, for children under 17 years of age, the technology
protection measures must protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene,
contain child pornography, or are harmful to minors. For adults, the measures must
protect against access to visual depictions that are obscene or contain child pornography.
The technology protection measure may be disabled by authorized persons to enable
access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.6
EdTech received $272 million in FY2006. For FY2006, the Administration
requested no funding for the EdTech program. According to the Department of
Education’s FY2006 budget request, the Administration seeks to eliminate certain
categorical programs that have a narrow or limited effect. Furthermore, they maintain that
Internet access in schools has increased and that the ratio of students per instructional
computer with Internet access has declined.7
As shown in Table 1, the annual appropriations for the program have decreased over
the past five years.
Table 1. EdTech State Grants: Appropriations, FY2002-FY2006
Fiscal yearAppropriation ($000s)


6 For a discussion of federal legislation regarding child Internet protection see CRS Report
RS20036, Internet-Protecting Children from Unsuitable Material and Sexual Predators:
Overview and Pending Legislation, by Marcia S. Smith.
7 U.S. Department of Education. Fiscal Year 2006 Justifications of Appropriation Estimates to
the Congress (Washington: GPO, 2005), vol. 1, p. C-37.

Fiscal yearAppropriation ($000s)
Source: U.S. Department of Education, FY2006 Justifications of Appropriation Estimates to the
Congress, vol. 1, p. C-36.
* The reduced appropriation is partially attributed to the completion of continuation grants for
one of EdTech's predecessors — the Technology Innovation Challenge Fund.
Ready-to-Learn Television
Under the Ready-to-Learn Television (RTLT) program, a grant is awarded
exclusively to public telecommunications entities, to develop and distribute educational
video for preschool- and elementary school-aged children and their parents, in an effort
to increase student academic achievement. To be eligible to receive the grant, the
telecommunications provider, among other things, must have a demonstrated ability to
develop instructional programming that addresses the needs of disadvantaged preschool-
and elementary school-aged children, and the ability to develop programs that address the
needs of the local audience.
The current recipients of the RTLT grant are the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
(CPB), with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and WTTW-Channel 11 in Chicago.
CPB and PBS jointly and WTTW each received a programming grant, and CPB and PBS
also received a grant for outreach services. Both grants are for five years and will expire
in 2010. In the last five years RTLT funding has grown from $22 million in FY2002 to8
$24.2 million in 2006.
In previous years the RTLT grant has been used to develop numerous television
programs to promote academic achievement among younger school-aged children. One
of the shows created with the RTLT grant, Dragon Tales, is a daily animated preschool
show that teaches children ages 2-5 necessary life skills such as problem solving and
cooperation with others. Postcards from Buster uses both live action and animation to
show the many cultures in America and to support language learning in children. PBS9

continues to support traditional programs such as Sesame Street with RTLT grant funds.
8 Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2006 Justifications of Appropriation Estimates to the
Congress. vol. 1, p. E-76.
9 For additional information about the Ready-to-Learn Television program, see
[http://www.pbski readyt olearn/].