How do we hit the ed tech jackpot without a ticket?

When congress finalized the FY2012 budget last week, they left out key provisions which would have directed money toward new education technology research and programming. In essence, this now leaves education technology unfunded in the budget.

The public perceives education as of the government. The public is demanding better education options. The public is asking for real progress in the way of education reform. And yet, the government is now sitting on the sidelines waiting till next year.

Is this really what we want as a country? Is this really in line with what we like as a country?

As Americans we like to place bets. We like it to the tune of $92.27 billion in revenues each year — after payouts to winners^. Heck, news outlets were covering the $200 million jackpot in the lottery last weekend. That’s news?

It’s nearly impossilbe to significantly increase your chances of winning when the odds are so great at 1 in 175 million. Right?

And yet I personally know one strategy I could have used last weekend that would have dramatically increased my chances. I could have bought a ticket.

I could have bought a ticket instead of waiting till next year when the payout on my bet seems better or more attractive to me.

This is the same logic lawmakers should apply to the development of transformational education technology. Even if the cost seems high today. Even if the odds don’t sound great. Even if some poeple consider it taboo.

To those lawmakers who claim to be education advocates and committed to real change in education — take education off your lipservice list and put it on your to-do list. Stop using education and education investment as a bargaining chip to get your other deals done.

For avoidance of doubt, my intenet is not to suggest that tech innovation in education will be the result of haphazard, chance-based investments. However, without a concerted effort to “place bets” on the ideas that have the potential to transform education, how can we ever expect to “hit it big” when it comes to education technology?

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