Network 21 names new manager with expertise in education technology - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Network 21 names new manager with expertise in education technology

Bindu Batchu, the Metropolitan Planning Council's technology associate for two years, took on a new role as manager of the Network 21: Quality Schools and Stronger Communities coalition on Jan. 21, 2003.

Network 21, the coalition of business, labor, civic and civil rights groups working to reform education in Illinois, named MPC's Bindu Batchu its new manager last week.  The move is a promotion for Batchu, who has been working on technology issues at the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) for two years. 

"Bindu was an obvious choice," said MPC President MarySue Barrett, "because her work on education technology gave her exposure to the issues.  She already has strong relationships with many coalition members, as well as legislators and other leaders in the field.  Plus, she has demonstrated a real, personal commitment to education reform." 

In November of 2001 Batchu organized an education technology symposium to examine how technology can be used to enhance student achievement.  The symposium's findings, complemented by Batchu's research, resulted in Developing an Education Technology Agenda for Illinois in April 2002.  The report recommends creating benchmarks and improving data collection statewide to determine how technology is used in schools, and sets goals for using it more effectively.  It also urges making technology a part of training and professional development for teachers.

Batchu testified before the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in October 2002, urging it to preserve funding for technology in its 2004 budget.  She also served on ISBE's committee that shaped its application for federal education technology funds, and advised on its plan for "Digital-Age Learning" as a member of its Education Technology Advisory Committee. 

Batchu said she was "excited to be working on Illinois' most important social justice issue."

"With nearly 400,000 children not meeting state learning standards and a budget crisis in Springfield," Batchu added, "the challenges are daunting.  But Gov. Blagojevich made campaign commitments to take a hard look at education quality and funding reforms, and Network 21 will be there to help him make them happen." 

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) agrees.  "We need to improve educational quality and standards along with providing the money to provide a basic education for our children."

Batchu came to MPC from Bank One where she specialized in community development finance.

Batchu succeeds Leslie Lipschultz, who resigned from Network 21 in January after helping build the coalition to more than 50 members. Lipschultz also helped Network 21 achieve recognition as the leading coalition voice on education funding and quality reform in the State of Illinois.

Contact Bindu Batchu at 312-863-6014. 


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