PORTLAND - Oregon ranks near the bottom in the U.S. for technology in K-12 classrooms, according to an annual report card.
Education Week's Technology Counts 2008 report released this week gives Oregon and overall D grade on technology, placing it ahead of only two states - Rhode Island and Nevada. Washington D.C. also finished lower than Oregon.
"Oregon is not exerting the same kind of leadership in this area as are other states," said Carole Vinograd Bausell, project director for the report. She noted that the deficiency could have consequences for students because colleges and the workplace increasingly demand skills in technology.
Carla Wade, technology education specialist at the Oregon Department of Education, said the report overstates Oregon's weaknesses and fails to account for its strengths, such as its focus on training teachers to use technology in the classroom.
"You can put all the computers you want in front of kids," Wade said. "If you haven't done the professional development for teachers, the computers won't be used."
West Virginia, South Dakota and Georgia scored highest in the report, which looked at how much access students have to technology, the capacity of educators to use technology, and how technology is used in testing and standards.
Oregon earned a B-minus for its use of technology, earning points for its technology standards for students and its use of computers to test students.
But the state failed the other subjects.
Oregon got an F in capacity because it does not require teachers or administrators to meet technology standards to earn their licenses.
The state also flunked on access because its schools have fewer instructional computers for students than most other states. Oregon, for example, gives computer access to 91 percent of its fourth-graders, compared with the national average of 95 percent. It also provides an instructional computer for every 4.5 students compared with a national average of one for every 3.8 students.