A Lesson From Europe

“Excluding ARRA funding and looking at the most recent annual ed-tech appropriations of $272 million, the U.S. has spent $5.44 in U.S. dollars per student on information and communications technology at the federal level, compared with $10.80 in the Netherlands and $20.10 in the U.K.”

Wow.  That quote took my beath away.  US ICT spending per student is half what it is in the Netherlands and one quarter of the investment in the UK.  That is staggering.

This quote is from a recent eSchool News article, summarizing the observations of a delegation (educators, policy makers, and leaders), called the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), who recently visited schools in the Netherlands and Scotland.  What they found there were engaged students, enthusiastic teachers, and innovation all over the place.  You can read more about their findings here.

Here’s another quote for you:

“Scotland and the Netherlands approach ICT in the classroom as an absolute necessity—not as a luxury—for improving learning and teaching, as well as developing workforce skills,” the report noted. “We found this attitude inspirational, particularly in view of the continuing debate in the U.S. about the unproven and uncertain value of technology.”

We often hear that investing more money in U.S. education isn’t going to solve our problems – well, maybe not, but a few additional dollars certainly couldn’t hurt and these numbers provide an interesting comparison.  But this story was about much more than money – it’s very clear that these countries have a strong policy framework, a clear vision, and lots of support for their teachers. And it’s very interesting to see what a smart, strategic investment can accomplish.  Sounds like educational leadership in the Netherlands and the UK has decided to promote and innovate, in contrast to our approach, here in the U.S., which is to block and ban.

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1 Comment

Filed under Reflections on Teaching, Teaching with Technology

One response to “A Lesson From Europe

  1. Absolute truth, and absolutely scary.

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