Miller Introduces bill to Accelerate Children's Learning and Innovation of Technology

WASHINGTON – The way students learn and teachers educate could be dramatically improved through a new venture-like capital program introduced yesterday by U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) to benefit student learning.   

Modeled after similar research programs in the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED) Act will pursue technological breakthrough developments that have the potential to transform teaching and learning the way DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has supported the development of  world-changing technologies such as the Internet, GPS and robotics.

“We must close the gap between cutting edge research and technology and their real-world impact on classrooms and students,” said Rep. Miller. “Schools need help to keep pace with quickly changing technology, research, and innovation to prepare students for the world of tomorrow. This legislation will provide an opportunity for us to dream big ideas, experiment and test our most radical hypotheses, and immediately implement those solutions that prove effective.

“Congress must also rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to modernize the law so that students can take full advantage of the educational opportunities that ARPA-ED and other technological advances have to offer. The question remains as to whether the majority will take action on the law that upholds accountability and equity for all students and in a manner that leads to a bill being signed into law by the President.”

The legislation was introduced on the same day as the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education’s hearing on education innovation. 

As witnesses explained, technology in the classroom has the potential to level the playing field for student populations that are often times left out. “If providing our young people with access to learning through technology does nothing else, it will dramatically increase opportunities to learn and excel for all students, especially those isolated by geography or income and those simply hungry for more than their schools are able to offer,” said Jim Shelton, U.S. Department of Education Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

While the technology revolution has catalyzed new capabilities, increased productivity in numerous sectors, and transformed the way we live our daily lives, the education system has not capitalized on these developments or invested in the kind of directed development that solves immediate classroom needs or launched the next breakthrough in teaching and learning.  ARPA-ED would invest in transformative research and development that is relevant and useful to educators who are in schools right now.

For more information on technology in education and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education Act click here.