Colorado Springs, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, today visited Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy in Colorado Springs to highlight the importance of technology in revitalizing our schools and preparing our kids for success in the 21st century economy.
“If we are going to continue to compete in the global economy, we can no longer ask our kids to move backward in time when they enter the classroom,” said Bennet. “We need to start using technology in the classroom and teaching our kids in new, innovative ways. The bill to fix No Child Left Behind supports research and development that will spur innovation in the classroom and use technology to prepare our kids for their next step, whether it’s college or the job market.”
Bennet secured key provisions in the bill to roll back No Child Left Behind, which passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) last week. One amendment that Bennet successfully worked to include in the bill would establish ARPA-ED, an education research program based on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which would invest in research and development of new uses of technology in education and would help drive innovation in the classroom.
Other countries are out-competing us in the use of technology to assist teaching and learning. Research has shown that the education sector is among the least changed by the information technology innovations that have revolutionized other parts of the economy. Only 0.2 percent of our national investment in K-12 education is for research and development.
The Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy is an aerospace-themed middle school created through a partnership between the Space Foundation and Colorado Springs (Colo.) School District 11. Swigert Academy uses aerospace principles to build student proficiency in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM).
Bennet’s visit to Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy is part of his ongoing effort to inform conversations about how best to improve public education and build consensus for reforms that will help revitalize our schools and help prepare kids for success in college and the 21st century economy. The visits are modeled after the approach Bennet took as superintendent of Denver Public Schools, where he scheduled daily meetings with teachers and principals, and members of the community—conversations that helped build consensus and support for the positive reforms he implemented at the district. Bennet believes that the best ideas come from outside of Washington and wants to bring the voices, ideas and aspirations of teachers, principals, parents and students to the U.S. Senate.