Chopra: White House Education Tech Initiatives to Include ‘Entrepreneurs as Problem Solvers’

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Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, Photo: OSTP.gov

Forget the “three Rs.”

In a speech at an education and technology conference, White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said the administration’s vision for education and technology focuses on infrastructure, access and research.

While Chopra’s speech at the Consortium for School Networking focused on the future, as with many such forward-thinking initiatives, the question of funding quickly came up.

Chopra said “he understood the angst expressed within the ed-tech community” as the White House mulls shifting funding away from the Enhancing Education Through Technology program, Education Week reported.

Instead, Chopra touted the Federal Communication Commission’s E-rate program, which provides $10 million in mobile learning grants; ARPA-ED, a $90 million initiative to spur high-tech innovation projects; and the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative’s $100 million fund to research the use of mobile devices in the classroom.

These three alternatives would not only provide funding but would encourage entrepreneurial investment in ed-tech, he said.

“The challenge is how to engage an ecosystem that includes entrepreneurs as problem solvers,” Chopra said in the speech, “so we don’t have to solve them all on our own backs.”

And because of the tight economic times, it’s difficult for the White House to continue funding the old system (the EETT) as well as its big-ticket new initiatives, Education Week reported.

“The difficulties of our budget environment are such that we’re making changes,” Chopra said. “We’ve made our decision in the administration, and we stand by those decisions. We look forward to moving forward working together.”

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