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November 16, 2000

Governor Ryan Highlights Learning Technologies

SPRINGFIELD -- In recognition of American Education Week, Governor George H. Ryan today highlighted a variety of ways technology is being used to transform learning across the state.

"We are utilizing the power of technology to leverage knowledge in Illinois," Ryan said. "Initiatives such as our new partnership with PowerUP in the South Cook schools highlights technology enhancements and the strength of partnerships occurring across this state."

The partnership between PowerUP and the South Cook Education Consortium, the Illinois State Board of Education and Governor Ryan provides community access to school-based computer labs with state-of-the-art Gateway computers provided by the Waitt Family Foundation and internet accounts provided by AOL and the AOL Foundation. Through the PowerUP/Illinois partnership, several hundred computers will be installed in over 40 elementary schools in eight school districts that comprise the South Cook Consortium. To date, nearly 200 computers have been installed in school-based labs in the South Cook Consortium, which serves 20,000 students in economically challenged communities. Approximately 800 computers are expected to be installed by the end of the year.

The computer labs within these schools will be staffed with a full-time staff member trained by PowerUP for after-school access by students and other children in the community. The after-school content is based on the "Five Promises" identified by America's Promise - The Alliance For Youth as critical to the success of our youth. The "Five Promises "are: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, marketable skills, and opportunities to serve.

"The school districts within the South Cook Consortium have established a formal agreement to work together and leverage substantial funding for equipment and training," said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee. "The partnership with PowerUP represents a terrific opportunity to bridge the digital divide. The school boards should be commended for their collaborative agreement that made this arrangement possible," said McGee.

PowerUP is a national initiative designed to help young people succeed in the digital age. Partners provide technology, funding, trained personnel, innovative interactive programming, in-kind support and other resources to bridge the digital divide. PowerUP's partners include: America's Promise, the Case Foundation; the Waitt Family Foundation; AOL, Inc./The AOL Foundation; Time Warner Cable; Cisco; Hewlett Packard; American Power Corporation; the Corporation for National Service/AmeriCorp VISTA; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; YMCA of USA; ASPIRA; Communities in Schools; National Urban League; PowerBar, Inc.; Save the Children; Sun Microsystems; HUD; and the U.S. Department of Education. The school districts participating in the PowerUP initiative are Posen Robbins, West Harvey-Dixmoor, Dolton, South Holland, Ford Heights, Harvey School Districts, George Patton, and Prairie Hills School District 144.

In the last two years, Governor Ryan has made substantial investments in learning technology initiatives included in VentureTECH.

Major VentureTECH learning technology investments include:

  • The Illinois Century Network (ICN) provides the infrastructure to support high-speed access to data, video and audio communications in schools, libraries, colleges, universities, museums and government offices. Over 4,000 facilities are connected to the Internet through the ICN, including more than 70 percent of the K-12 public school facilities. Additional schools connect to the Internet through other service providers (www.illinois.net).

  • The Illinois Virtual Campus, which in its second year in existence, already offers 9,888 courses to 26,214 students, provides access to higher education courses through the desktop (www.ivc.illinois.edu).

  • The Illinois Virtual High School is a brand new initiative that will begin in January to offer on-line learning opportunities for students and teachers. The Virtual High School will provide access to college-level and special interest courses over the Internet (www.ivhs.k12.il.us).

"Initiatives such as the Virtual Campus, Virtual High School and Virtual Academic Library provide access to educational resources anytime, anywhere," said Ryan. "These initiatives are investments in our citizens and provide access to unlimited lifetime learning opportunities."

In September, Illinois was recognized as the most improved state in the nation, moving from a rank of 49th in 1998 to 4th place in 2000, in the use of digital technology according to the 2000 Digital State Survey conducted by the Progress & Freedom Foundation and the Center for Digital Government. The Study ranked Illinois second in the nation in K-12 education. "We are making investments in our students," said Ryan, "giving them the tools they need to succeed in the 21st Century."


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