Federation of American Scientists' Kay Howell, who authored the research roadmap for the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act, has a column in eLearn explaining why passage of the act is so critical:
Today's students are not only comfortable with technology-they know how to use it effectively to solve problems, find resources, and build networks of people with shared interests. So why do we send them to places of learning and ask them to leave their technology tools at home? Why do the cookies on my ten-year old daughter's computer know more about what she likes to read and how she likes to locate information than does her teacher?
The answer, unfortunately, is fairly simple: As a nation we've been unwilling to make the investments necessary to give our kids and their teachers the same productivity tools used in the computer, pharmaceutical, energy, and other industries. The federal government funds substantial research and development (R&D) initiatives that translate into advancements in key US industries-and those investments pay off handsomely. Federally funded R&D, performed mostly in US colleges and universities, leads to improved productivity through better processes, products, and services, and the graduate students that participate in the R&D eventually end up as workers in the related industries. It's a great model that has served our country well.
Unfortunately, there is no such R&D model for the education sector.
It's a good read. And once again, I urge you to write your congresspeople in support of the bill and get your friends and colleagues to do the same.