The Ocean Beach School District is asking patrons to renew funding for technology through a replacement tech levy. Here are a few facts you should consider while casting your ballot.
The state of Washington does not fund technology in our schools despite having curriculum and testing requirements that depend on computers. The state's definition of basic education was developed in the 1970s when advanced technology was an electric typewriter and the digital clock. While the goals of education may not have changed in 40 years, the methods and skills which our children need to succeed have.
New state assessment tests replaced the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) in 2009. Most of these new assessments must be taken via computer by 2012. The state and federal government require technology education and integration at all grade levels, K-12. High school graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency with technology by the time they reach college, not just be able to use a computer. Until the state funding mechanism is changed to reflect the real world, these costs will be born locally. If they are not provided by the tech levy, costs must be funded through an already insufficient general budget.
Funding technology through the general budget will cause service cuts and job losses in other areas of the district. Just saying no to technology is not an option. Many administrative tasks must be digitally prepared, stored and transmitted. Our computerized student information system provides state reporting, transcripts and report cards. Communication between the school and parents is, more often than not, done electronically, as are internal communications. Our security system is built on our computer network, making schools safer for all. Even the school's phone system requires a strong internal network infrastructure to work. All these costs continue whether the replacement levy passes or not.
The community has funded technology upgrades through the current tech levy, helping us fulfill the vision to make our schools safe, respectful and inviting. How inviting will they remain if the technology provided at school is outdated or no longer works? How can we maintain high standards if our school is required to choose between textbooks and telephones? We believe technology can make lessons more challenging and engaging and help students live successful lives when they leave our schools. To fully realize this vision we need teachers, staff, and students that are trained users of technology.
We need to support a reasonable technology replacement cycle and maintain a robust infrastructure that is both capable and flexible. All of this requires an investment that, at this time, is local. Please support the OBSD technology and M&O levies.