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ERIC Number: EJ982584
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug-8
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
When Technology Tools Trump Teachers
Quillen, Ian
Education Week, v31 n37 p1, 20-21 Aug 2012
Of all the recent budget cuts made by the Eagle County, Colorado, school district--the loss of 89 staff jobs through attrition and layoffs, a 1.5 percent across-the-board pay cut, and the introduction of three furlough days--none sparked as much anger or faced the same scrutiny as the decision to cut three foreign-language teaching positions and replace them with online instruction. At a spring school board meeting, supporters of the targeted programs in French and German, as well as the affected teachers, railed against the 6,200-student district for replacing face-to-face instructors with a digital option they argued would not be as rich or as meaningful. The highly charged response reflects the fear many teachers are beginning to feel that technology could push them out of their jobs, especially in an era of persistently tight budgets. Emerging management models that rely on a smaller number of highly paid teachers supported by new technology and a larger roster of relatively low-paid paraprofessionals are also fueling such fears. Those worries seem likely to grow, even though younger teachers and many veterans appreciate the teaching potential of the Internet and digital devices, and educational technology advocates insist the teacher is still essential to any technology-based effort to improve schools. It's unclear whether the concerns dramatized by the action in Eagle County, about 120 miles west of Denver, are justified on a broad scale. Most administrators say decisions such as the district's move to offer students online French and German courses are more reflective of extraordinary budget circumstances than an institutional desire to cut staffing. Further, developers of even the most sophisticated learning technologies insist their goal is to help make teaching a more efficient and effective profession, not a less relevant one. Teachers' unions and other teacher advocates also appear to vary greatly in their openness toward technology initiatives according to the policy and economic climates in different states and districts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado