The unique aspect of this bill is the development of a research agency called the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-Ed). This agency would financially support breakthrough education technology that has promise to boost student achievement.
ARPA-Ed is based off of similar research agencies in both defense and energy that award grants to high-risk research projects that could potentially solve some of the country’s greatest problems. The idea is for the country to invest in high-risk projects that could return high rewards. The most infamous project to come out of the defense research agency is the internet – once considered an ill-conceived and risky project to connect the nation’s defense systems has now revolutionized the world in the way we connect, do business, and conduct day to day life.
Now its education’s turn to find technologies that can bolster student achievement and turn back the tide of this nation losing its competitive edge to other nations. ARPA-Ed has a long way to go before it can be implemented – committee hearings, debates, amendments, and going through the gauntlet of budget constraints. The likelihood of ARPA-Ed surviving the Congressional labyrinth is very slim – but what hopefully comes out of all the discussions is an understanding that archaic and technology-free classrooms only do an injustice to our students and a lackluster approach to STEM education will only result in declining US performance in the global economy.
Is there specific research you have heard about either at conventions, word of mouth, or read about that you hope receives the necessary funding to be implemented? Let us know about it and how you could see yourself using that in your classroom.