Getting America's Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge, June 1996
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Members of Congress:

Over the last decade, the use of technology in American life has exploded. Yet most schools are still unable to provide the powerful learning opportunities afforded by technology, placing our children at a competitive disadvantage in the new, international marketplace of jobs, commerce, and trade.

Computers are the "new basic" of American education, and the Internet is the blackboard of the future. But the future is here and now, and we cannot miss this opportunity to help all of our young people grow and thrive. I strongly believe that if we help all of our children to become technologically literate, we will give a generation of young people the skills they need to enter this new knowledge- and information-driven economy.

To achieve this end, and in response to the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-382), I have prepared a national, long-range technology plan. At the heart of this plan is the President's Technology Literacy Challenge, which urges that the nation's students be technologically literate by early in the 21st century.

Because of the vital significance of the technology challenge to America's future, we sought advice from many different parties: teachers, students, parents, administrators, employers, and experts on the cutting edge of the technology revolution. The accompanying plan distills and builds upon this advice, proposing actions for meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge. Although the federal government has an important role in helping to galvanize efforts, the challenge is a clarion call to local communities and states and to the private and nonprofit sectors from which leadership and initiative must come.

I invite Congress to join in this undertaking by initiating a five-year, $2-billion commitment to a Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. The fund will be aimed at helping states and local communities to create and implement their own plans for integrating technology into teaching and learning for the purpose of achieving excellence among our students. I look forward to working with you to make this outcome a reality.


Richard W. Riley
Secretary of Education

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Last Modified: 08/23/2003