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RESOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATION PLAN PASSED

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Legislators and education leaders went to work Wednesday fleshing out Gov. Mike Leavitt's call for a technology-based education system in Utah.

It's going to cost money.In an address to legislators, members of the State Board of Education and the State Board of Regents, Leavitt outlined a dramatic plan for incorporating technology into the state's education system.

Immediately after, education groups here began discussing how to implement the governor's vision.

Among the resolutions they passed:

- Immediate expansion of the state's EDNET system, at a cost of $14 million over four years. They recommended that at least 40 sites per year be added at schools, applied technology centers, and other locations at a yearly cost of $3 million for equipment and $500,000 for ongoing maintenance and operation. Ultimately, the goal would be to expand EDNET capacity into Utah homes.

- Maintenance of the current Educational Technology Initiative, with additional funding for teacher training in technology and expansion into applied technology centers. The four-year original ETI funding is due to end this year. Leavitt said he will continue the program.

- Linkage of the Utah Education Network to the state's strategic plan for education, so that technological development is directly related to the state's five-year plan for education.

Legislators and education groups continued Thursday to develop joint resolutions that will go to the Legislature this winter.

Nevertheless, not all the education family is enamored of Leavitt's visionary plan for the future.

Utah Education Association President Lily Eskelsen, for example, is concerned that Leavitt may be focusing on education technology to the detriment of other necessary programs.

"We're confused," Eskelsen said. "Doesn't this contradict his action in signing a bill to provide more funds for new buildings to relieve bulging schools?"

Eskelsen was also concerned that Leavitt was shortchanging teachers.

"The relationship between a teacher and a student and a parent is the key factor in a child's education," she said. "Can we replace that with a computer? . . . Will parents support systems that minimize the human element in education?"

Eskelsen, who holds a master's degree in instructional technology and microcomputers, said she advocates technology but stressed the need for a complete program.