Policy Documents

E-Rate, Education Technology, and School Reform

Frederick M. Hess, Bror Saxberg, and Taryn Hochleitner –
October 22, 2013

In this education outlook for AEI, the authors write that over the past two decades, US presidents, governors, CEOs, and journalists have trumpeted technology’s power to transform schools. Yet technology never seems to deliver on its promise to be an education game-changer. This is because technology cannot drive meaningful change by itself—it must be coupled with a commitment by school leaders to reinvent teaching and learning. Policymakers and reformers should take cues from school systems such as Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, which successfully employs technology to make learning solutions more affordable, reliable, available, customizable, and data-rich. Specifically, state legislatures should encourage technology-enabled reinvention of schools by loosening seat-time requirements and online-learning restrictions, revisiting school spending rules, relaxing teacher evaluation policies, and supporting innovative school models.