K-12 researchers have been pushing the idea that policymakers must get more involved in the ongoing discussion about emerging artificial intelligence technologies and what role they’ll play in classrooms of the future.
And now one branch of Congress has taken its first step — albeit somewhat of a baby step — in that direction.
The U.S. House has passed a bipartisan and nonbinding resolution to create a national AI strategy that, in part, highlights the need for continued planning in the area of education and AI.
Specifically, the resolution notes the need for things like:
- Teacher prep programs that can increase the number of educators in STEM fields
- New grant programs to integrate AI ethics courses into science and engineering classes
- New education programs related to AI that provide industry-recognized credentials and certificates and the inclusion of students from historically under-represented groups in technology education programs to help promote a “diverse artificial intelligence workforce.”
The resolution — backed by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), both vocal advocates of Congress spending more money on AI research — focuses on several key areas as part of the national AI strategy: workforce development, national security, research and development and ethics.
It was created with input from industry experts and the Bipartisan Policy Center, a D.C.-based think tank that said they are hopeful the resolution “will lead to a coordinated federal approach on the best way to develop and use this evolving technology.”
A recently-released report noted that the involvement of policymakers in AI’s development is “imperative” to ensure the technology not only reaches its full potential but that its use in K-12 education is “equitable, ethical, and effective and to mitigate weaknesses, risks, and potential harm.”
AI has been used in classrooms for years, in products ranging from smart tutoring and essay grading services to AI-enabled assessments. But researchers say AI technology for K-12 is quickly evolving to include more advanced technologies that could one day transform classrooms.
Since the resolution is nonbinding, it serves as a symbolic gesture from the House on what lawmakers in the lower chamber believe is the best way forward for Congress and the White House to help develop AI technologies.
In a statement, Kelly said the resolution should signal AI priorities to the incoming administration.
“If we are to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” she said, “the U.S. must begin investing now in our workforce, education, research and development, and national security to ensure that this technology will positively benefit society.”
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