DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES 25 PERCENT INCREASE IN NUMBER OF TECHNOLOGY-READY DISTRICTS

Feb 05, 2014

Increased Support for Districts to Achieve Technology Readiness Goals

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today released its fourth semi-annual
Louisiana Technology Footprint, indicating the number of technology-ready Louisiana school systems has increased nearly 25 percent since the last report in July 2013.  Districts have dramatically increased student access to technology upgrading more than 41,300 devices and purchasing an additional 87,471 devices since July 2011.  Because of these efforts, Louisiana now has 906 schools and 47 districts meeting the state’s minimum technology device standards ratio of seven students for every one computing device (7:1).  This is an increase from 798 schools and 38 districts in July 2013 and 337 schools and just 2 districts in July 2012.  Technology upgrades are an essential, everyday right for Louisiana’s students, and beyond testing, providing individual learning opportunities for students.

“The progress we have seen in such a short time shows that Louisiana districts are committed to ensuring all students have access to the technology that is critical for them to compete in the 21st Century workplace,” said State Superintendent John White.  “While we still have a ways to go, it’s encouraging to see technology no longer thought of as a privilege but a right for our students.”

In the Footprint, the state details basic standards for the ratio of technology devices a district should have per student to be technology ready.  In July 2012, two school districts met the minimum standard ratio of seven students for every one device (7:1).  In January 2014, that number has increased to 47 districts meeting this mark.  Nine districts have achieved more ambitious standards increasing their student to device ratio to 3:1 with three achieving a 1:1 ratio:

  • Ascension Parish
  • Calcasieu Parish
  • Cameron Parish (1:1)
  • City of Bogalusa Schools
  • Claiborne Parish
  • Iberville Parish
  • Plaquemines Parish
  • St. Helena Parish (1:1)
  • St. James Parish (1:1)

The Department is committed to supporting districts in achieving technology readiness goals in all schools across the state by expanding technology support and services based on district needs and requests.  One such expansion is the increased support and training to districts utilizing the federal E-Rate program to purchase hardware, software, and services.  Through the E-Rate program, schools receive discounts on broadband internet, network infrastructure, and other telecommunication costs.  Last year, Louisiana districts received more than $36.5 million in E-Rate reimbursement dollars as of January 2014.  The Department’s increased support will translate to even more reimbursements in the coming years.

Additionally, the Department continues supporting districts through partnerships with technology vendors, providing access to technology at a reduced cost.  The state has negotiated technology contracts for schools to purchase low-cost, high-quality hardware, software, and services.  The initial contracts, focused on laptop, desktop, and tablet computers, has expanded to include computer software, peripherals, support, network hardware and support, technology services, and telecommunications products and services.  Through these vendor contracts districts have saved more than $14 million in the upgrading and purchasing of computers and installation services over the last two years.

Districts have also made progress in increasing internet bandwidth and local network capacity through investments in major infrastructure and broadband upgrades within their schools.  The state’s basic standard for bandwidth readiness requires 100 kbps (kilobits-per-second per student) of internet and network capacity, allowing students to complete online learning assessments.  With these upgrades, 58 districts now have adequate internet capacity, compared to 36 in July 2012, and 66 districts have an adequate network infrastructure, compared to 36 in July 2012.

“Technology is not just about taking tests.  It’s about the way we live day-to-day and the world that our students will enter as adults,” said Superintendent White.  “Louisiana will insist on technology readiness until all students have the technology they need to learn.”

To access the statewide executive summary and district by district technology footprint, please click
here

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