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Netday Student Voices' Speak Up Day on October 29

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to "speak up" and support "Speak Up Day," a national event where students of all ages and grades, from communities and schools across the country, will go online from their classrooms and share their opinions, ideas and thoughts about how technology should be used in schools. NetDay, a national non-profit organization dedicated to connecting every child to a brighter future through the use of technology, is hosting this inaugural event of student participation in the governmental process.

"Speak Up Day" is being held as the U.S. Department of Education works on the development the Nation's third National Education Technology Plan as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. The Plan will establish a national strategy supporting the effective use of technology to improve student academic achievement and to prepare students for the 21st century.

Today's "Speak Up Day" activities will allow the student voice to be heard and involved in crafting this new Technology Plan. NetDay will summarize the student "Speak Up Day" comments into a written report that will be submitted for the National Education Technology Plan and will be available online for public discussion. This report will also be a call to action for national, State, and local education leaders to recognize the importance of student input in discussions about how schools and instruction impact their educational experiences.

I think we can all agree that using technology in schools has become a necessity. With the expansion and prevalence of the Internet in our society, it is critical that we teach our children how to use computers, the Internet, and the various other forms of interactive technology that exist today. Yet beyond the necessity of 'learning' technology, it is important that educators and communities understand that so many of our youth today are already 'one' with technology. The challenge lies in understanding how to connect this technological know-how with classroom instruction so that all our children have the best educational experience possible to prepare them for the future. "Speak Up Day" is a real life lesson on the impact of technology in the classroom, a forum for students to be civically engaged, and an outlet for our Nation's youth to express their empowerment when technology is paired with education.

Since October 1, over 1,000 schools from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and over 25 Department of Defense schools have preregistered for NetDay's "Speak Up Day" initiative, with over 170,000 students planning to participate. I am pleased that schools across the State of Michigan have registered to take part in this event. Over 5,000 students from small rural schools in Middleville, MI, to suburban schools in West Bloomfield and high schools in Detroit will have the opportunity to express their thoughts on technology in schools. I highly commend NetDay for sponsoring this progressive event, and I look forward to hearing the outcome of the discussion.

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