Letter From the Secretary

November 2010

Dear Members of Congress:

Education is vital to America's individual and collective economic growth and prosperity, and is necessary for our democracy to work. Once the global leader in college completion rates among young people, the United States currently ranks ninth out of 36 developed nations. President Obama has articulated a bold vision for the United States to lead the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020, thereby regaining our leadership and ensuring America's ability to compete in a global economy. To achieve this aggressive goal, we need to leverage the innovation and ingenuity this nation is known for to create programs and projects that every school can implement to succeed.

To that end, I am presenting you with the Administration's National Education Technology Plan, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. The plan calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement.

The model of learning described in this plan calls for engaging and empowering personalized learning experiences for learners of all ages. The model stipulates that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know and how they learn. It calls for using state-of-the-art technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts to enable, motivate, and inspire all students to achieve, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities. It calls for ensuring that our professional educators are well connected to the content and resources, data and information, and peers and experts they need to be highly effective. And it calls for leveraging the power of technology to support continuous and lifelong learning.

The National Education Technology Plan presents five goals with recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders. Each goal addresses one of the five essential components of learning powered by technology: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity. The plan also calls for "grand challenge" research and development initiatives to solve crucial long-term problems that we believe should be funded and coordinated at a national level.

The plan's development was led by the Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology and involved the most rigorous and inclusive process ever undertaken for a national education technology plan. It builds on the insights and recommendations of a technical working group of leading education researchers, learning and assessment experts, and practitioners. We also engaged with and incorporated input received from hundreds of industry experts, thousands of educators, and the public. I urge you to consider this vision for transforming American education by using the best and most inclusive modern technology to power up the core functions of learning, teaching, assessment, and continuous improvement efforts, as described in this plan.

Sincerely,

/s/

Arne Duncan