Indiana High Schools May Get Dramatic “New Tech” Makeover

March 12, 2009 11:15 AM
by Haley A. Lovett
Gov. Mitch Daniels wants Indiana high schools to adopt the group project and hands-on oriented New Technology education program.

Indiana Governor Wants New Tech High Schools

On Monday Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that he would like all public schools in Indiana to adopt the New Tech program before he leaves office in 2013. The cost for conversion is about $500,000 over a few years for each school; Daniels did not propose how the move to the New Tech program would be paid for.

In 2006 Daniels awarded grants to three school districts in Indiana to start planning for the New Tech system. Since then six high schools have converted. “I would like to see us become the state of new-tech education,” Daniels told The Associated Press.

Background: What is a New Technology high school?

The first New Technology High School opened in 1996 in Napa, Calif. The idea was that the school could help students succeed in a technologically advanced marketplace.
In 1999 the New Technology Foundation was established as a nonprofit to help other schools follow the original New Technology High School’s model. Some consider the name New Technology to be a misnomer, since students don’t necessarily focus on technology careers but rather are computer literate and focus on project-based learning. Students in the program each are given their own computer, and work on project-based, interdisciplinary learning as well as communication skills, teamwork and leadership.

NTF is funded through the fees schools pay for assistance in implementing this model, and by donations from alumni, parents and businesses. Recently, KnowledgeWorks donated $10 million to NTF.

Opinion & Analysis: Do New Tech schools Work? Who will pay?

Some are very enthusiastic about the potential for Indiana schools. In a recent visit to a NTHS, Northwestern Consolidated Schools technology director Rhonda Hill told the Shelbyville News that the students were “very enthusiastic,”  and one visiting principal said, “These students were focused and engaged … It really looked like a 21st-century workplace.”

But others are concerned about how the model will be paid for, and how it will fit into the current curriculum. Washington Township Schools Superintendent James Mervilde told The Indianapolis Star, “Without having more information about how New Tech would fit into that at a place like North Central [his alma mater], we’d have to reserve our judgment.”

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