Previous Postings and Actions from NMSTE Advocacy

ETAN Letter to the Legislature Feb. 2010

To Members of the New Mexico State Legislature, The proposed elimination of state funding for educational technology is a short sighted response to budget problems that brings long term consequences. These funds do far more than paying for "boxes and wires", they also represent the primary source of funding for staff who keep networks running in our schools, many of them rural and without other sources to replace what's being taken away. The consequences of losing this funding will be strong and immediate, and the people hurt most will be our students, who will watch the "lights go out" as repairs and upgrades fail to take place, in the absence of anyone skilled or qualified to make sure schools and classrooms have the technology required to keep up in today's world.
Lots of lip service is given to "students are our future" and "education is the best pathway to success" but when it comes to moving New Mexico from the bottom of states' education ranking and economic development, we should be investing in the technologies our kids need to bring 21st century jobs to New Mexico, and not finding ways to force schools to return to the learning modes of "the good old days"
before technology. The students who will be hardest hit, as usual, are those least prepared to suffer: students from families who may not have computers or connections to the Internet, students in rural communities without access to a pool of highly skilled volunteers who might step in to fill in the gaps when districts can no longer fund technology coordinators or specialists, and students in schools where professional development opportunities are too few and far between to support their teachers becoming skilled enough to pick up the slack in maintaining systems and networks. For these students, school is the place where they can access 21st century learning, and we will be shutting the doors in their faces.
We have heard from our members about jobs that will already be lost should this decision stand. In our rural areas, where it is hard to attract highly skilled technical talent, this loss will be difficult to fix. Our school technology leaders are already working for a fraction of what they could earn outside education, yet they do so because of their commitment to children. While no one would recommend targeting these valued staff members to lose their jobs, this is precisely what will result from the proposed elimination of ed tech funding.
Over the past decade, New Mexico has invested millions of dollars in the infrastructure schools have now. Each year, this investment has been reduced, and schools have picked up the slack. This year's decision to eliminate the funding will have long term consequences, and places prior years investments at risk, to save a small amount of money compared to what will be lost. We recommend that you reconsider your decision and do what's right for our students, and for the future of our state.
Sincerely,
New Mexico Society for Technology in Education (NMSTE)