Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Technology Alliance Annual Luncheon
May 10, 2004
Good afternoon. It’s great to be here. I enjoy the opportunity each year to join you at this luncheon and share in learning the next steps we can take to further technology’s role in making a more prosperous Washington.
I am very proud of the way we have used technology to make government more efficient and deliver government services more conveniently. We have won numerous national awards for the services we provide online, and have been named “the most digital state government” in the country. And we continue to build on our digital government success. For example, this fall, you will be able to renew you driver’s license online.
We are also still hard at work on the Bio 21 Initiative, which is a public-private, non-profit partnership that merges and builds on the two great strengths of biotechnology and information technology to cure diseases and promote medical breakthroughs. Bio 21 establishes Washington as a global leader in computer and biological sciences. It has enormous potential to create new industries and thousands of good-paying jobs for our state.
Today I want to bring you up to date on the efforts made in the last two years in the application of technology in education, specifically the project known as the Digital Learning Commons, which has been a dream of mine from the first day in office. The Technology Alliance has been a valuable partner in this endeavor, both in assisting with the initial Task Force and the creation of the Commons as well as implementation.
A world-class education system is the key to our future. The Digital Learning Commons is an important step in the pursuit of this vision.
Underlining the Commons is a simple proposition: equality in opportunity. We want every student in our state to have access to great courses in every subject they wish to pursue. We want every student to have access to great resources to enrich their classroom education. And great tools to help every student—and their parents—plan their careers and pursue higher education. Every student — regardless of location, regardless of background, regardless of district resources. For example, a small rural high school – or even a large rural high school – is not going to hire a teacher to teach Latin or Russian to three students.
We want to bridge the gaps that perpetuate inequities. We want to engage and support teachers and parents to help students.
There are now more than 50 schools and 20,000 students participating in the Digital Learning Commons. We are seeing the dream materialize. And we’re only getting started. Our aspiration is to reach every middle school and every high school in our state!
I want to acknowledge some of the people who have been a key to the development of the Digital Learning Commons. First, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the task force whose work led to the Commons. Marty Smith did a great job as Chair. And as the head of the Board of Directors for the Commons, his energetic and committed leadership continues.
Other members of the task force include:
· Tom Alberg
· Susannah Malarkey
· Our keynote speaker today, Nathan Myhrvold,
· and his colleague Edward Jung
I’d also like to acknowledge the Board of Directors of the DLC, many of whom are here today:
· Lisa Holmes
· Ed Lazowska
· Kevin Laverty
· Diana Eggers
· Chris Hedrick
· Mike Scroggins
· Dan Laster
· Dan Hesse
· Trish Millines-Dziko
I want to thank the Washington State Legislature for funding the DLC, especially Bill Finkbeiner and Laura Rudman, who are also Board members.
In addition to state dollars, we greatly appreciate the support of the Hewlett, Gates and Allen Foundations.
Let’s also recognize the University of Washington for its many contributions to the first 18 months of the project, especially for lending us the outstanding services of Louis Fox as interim executive director and to the UW students who have helped schools and students get going!
I want to thank my former technology policy advisor, Fred Morris and Larua Kohn, my former education policy advisor, for their hard work, dedication and vision on this project.
And finally, thank you to the staff of the DLC for your tireless work – and the many miles you’ve traveled crisscrossing our state!
Finally, I’d like to announce some exciting news. Just a few minutes ago, I signed an agreement with Microsoft as the first state in the nation to participate in Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning program. Under the agreement between Microsoft and the Governor’s Office, there will be two objectives here in Washington:
· Develop a program at a public College of Education to prepare teachers to use technology in breakthrough ways in the classroom; and
· Develop technology-rich programs to help raise student achievement with at-risk students.
We are very appreciative of the $3 million commitment Microsoft is making to support this work in our state over the next five years. Let’s thank Microsoft for choosing Washington state to launch this exciting project!
The Digital Learning Commons has just completed a video to give us a glimpse of the DLC in action. I’m looking forward to seeing it for the first time! It’s my pleasure to invite you to join me in taking a look at an important part of the future of Washington education.