Digital Opportunity Investment Trust

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Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DOIT) is a proposal to create a United States federal trust to distribute, for educational purposes, funds to be raised by public auctions of licenses to use radio frequency bands.

Concepts[edit]

According to advocates at the National Humanities Alliance, DOIT would receive funds from U.S. government lease revenues and distribute them through competitive grants for projects to (1) apply information technologies in education and skills training; (2) digitize collections of libraries, museums, universities and public television stations; and (3) develop tools for education and digital technology.[1]

U. S. government funding for humanities and arts[edit]

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, created by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965[2] (P.L. 89-209), currently have the largest shares of United States government funding for programs in humanities and arts. The FY 2006 appropriations for these two agencies are US$140.9 million and US$124.4 million. Appropriations in recent years (in US$ millions) are shown in the following table:[3][4]

Fiscal Year Humanities Arts
1992 174.0 176.0
1993 177.4 174.5
1994 177.5 170.2
1995 172.0 162.3
1996 110.0 99.5
1997 110.7 98.0
1998 110.7 99.5
1999 110.7 98.0
2000 115.3 97.6
2001 120.0 104.8
2002 124.5 115.2
2003 124.9 115.7
2004 135.3 121.0
2005 138.1 121.3
2006 140.9 124.4

Potential funding for DOIT as described above, although relatively small as compared to United States government support for education (US$71,545 million in FY 2006[5]), would represent a major increase above the funding levels historically provided for humanities and arts.

Federal grants and demonstration projects[edit]

The Federation of American Scientists has received grants from the United States government to demonstrate the potential of a Digital Opportunity Investment Trust. US$1.34 million in funding was provided through three Congressional earmarks.[6][7][8] These funds were used to write a report describing DOIT goals and organization[9][10][11][12][13] and to supplement $0.58 million from four competitive grants[14][15][16][17] in carrying out three prototype projects:

Immune Attack! -- an advanced video game teaching human immunology from the 9th grade to the college level

Discover Babylon -- a cultural, educational and historical virtual reality of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq)

Mass Casualty Incident Responder -- a high-stress, interactive real-time decision-making training simulation to teach firefighters and serve as a model for other first responder training

The interactive projects were first demonstrated to the public at a briefing organized by New America Foundation, held in the meeting room at 188 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., on May 3, 2006.[18][19][20]

Federal legislation[edit]

The Digital Promise Project has sought federal legislation for the proposed Digital Opportunity Investment Trust in the 108th and 109th U.S. Congresses. H.R. 1396 "Spectrum Commons and Digital Dividends Act of 2003"[21] was sponsored in March 2003, by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) with cosponsors John B. Larson (D-CT) and Karen McCarthy (D-MO). S. 1854 "Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act"[22] was sponsored in November 2003, by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) with cosponsors Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME). Critics said H.R. 1396 was "really just old wine in a new bottle...the fusion of the National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, and the 'E-Rate' program...which is a federally mandated hidden tax on telephone bills."[23] Although they helped introduce the concepts, the bills in the 108th Congress made little progress and expired at the close of the Congress.

S. 1023 "Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act"[24] was sponsored in May, 2005, by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) with cosponsors Conrad R. Burns (R-MT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). As of spring, 2006, it is pending hearings in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. H.R. 2512 "Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act"[25] was sponsored in May, 2005, by Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) with cosponsors Paul E. Gillmor (R-OH), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Rush D. Holt, Jr. (D-NJ), Major R. Owens (D-NY), Richard H. Baker (R-LA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA), F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA). As of spring, 2006, it is pending hearings in the Subcommittee on Select Education.

Although they carry the same title, S. 1023 and H.R. 2512 differ in some provisions. Both require 30 percent of the proceeds of each auction of radio frequency spectrum to be deposited in a United States federal trust fund, and both allocate 21 percent of the interest from the fund to educational television stations supported by the U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Both specify that the trust fund is otherwise to be used for the following purposes:

"to help underwrite the digitization of the collections in the Nation's universities, museums, libraries, public broadcasting stations, and cultural institutions"

"to support basic and applied research, development, and demonstrations of innovative learning and assessment systems as well as the components and tools needed to create them"

"to use the research results developed...to create prototype applications designed to meet learning objectives in a variety of subject areas and designed for learners with many different educational backgrounds"

S. 1023 authorizes the trust fund management to cooperate with business and nonprofit organizations by "seeking new ways to put telecommunications and information technologies to work in their areas of interest." H.R. 2512 makes use of the fund subject to Congressional appropriation, but S. 1023 does not. In that respect, the House bill follows the model of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,[26] while the Senate bill follows a model similar to the Smithsonian Institution.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Digital Promise Project (2006). "The Digital Opportunity Investment Trust". National Humanities Alliance. 
  2. ^ NEH Public Affairs Office (2006). "National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act". National Endowment for the Humanities. 
  3. ^ Sourcebook (2006). "National Endowment for the Humanities". National Humanities Alliance.  See "Funding History."
  4. ^ National Endowment for the Arts (2006). "Appropriations History". U.S. Department of the Interior. 
  5. ^ Education Overview (2006). "Budget News". U.S. Department of Education. 
  6. ^ U.S. House of Representatives (February 12, 2003). "Making Further Continuing Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2003, and for Other Purposes". Conference Report 108-10: p. 1155 (item 8).  "Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C., for Digital Opportunity Investment Trust...$750,000" (before general rescission of 0.65 percent)
  7. ^ U.S. House of Representatives (November 25, 2003). "Making Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2004, and for Other Purposes". Conference Report 108-401: p. 766 (item 15).  "Federation of American Scientists, Washington, DC, for a biopreparedness demonstration project involving the use of interactive simulation for training...$100,000"
  8. ^ U.S. House of Representatives (November 19, 2004). "Making Appropriations for Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2005, and for Other Purposes". Conference Report 108-792: p. 1247 (item 19).  "Federation of American Scientists for Digital Promise, Washington, DC, for creating a Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) project...$500,000" (before general rescission of 0.80 percent)
  9. ^ Lawrence K. Grossman, Newton N. Minow and Anne G. Murphy, Eds. (October 2003). "Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: Executive Summary". Digital Promise Project. 
  10. ^ Lawrence K. Grossman, Newton N. Minow and Anne G. Murphy, Eds. (October 2003). "Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: Structure and Governance". Digital Promise Project. 
  11. ^ Lawrence K. Grossman, Newton N. Minow and Anne G. Murphy, Eds. (October 2003). "Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: Rationale". Digital Promise Project. 
  12. ^ Lawrence K. Grossman, Newton N. Minow and Anne G. Murphy, Eds. (October 2003). "Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: Research and Development Roadmap". Digital Promise Project. 
  13. ^ Kay Howell, Ed. (September 2003). "Learning Science & Technology R&D Roadmaps". The Learning Federation. 
  14. ^ National Science Foundation award IIS-0215673, April 18, 2002, $99913, Gerald Higgins, Federation of American Scientists, Workshop: "The Digital Human, Towards Unified Ontology for Biomedical Modeling and Simulation" NSF Awards
  15. ^ National Science Foundation award CNS-0226421, September 18, 2002, $75000, Henry Kelly, Marianne Bakia and Kay Howell, Federation of American Scientists, Project: "Simulation-Based Learning Systems for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Issues in Design and Assessment" NSF Awards
  16. ^ National Science Foundation award CNS-0226422, September 20, 2002, $75000, Henry Kelly, Marianne Bakia and Kay Howell, Federation of American Scientists, Project: "Question Generation and Answering Systems R&D for Technology-Enabled Learning Systems." NSF Awards
  17. ^ National Science Foundation award REC-0428259, October 1, 2004, $331328, Andries van Dam, Brown University, Project: "Computer Simulation for Helping Students of Biology at All Levels Master an Increasingly Complex Body of Information." NSF Awards
  18. ^ Katrina vanden Heuvel (April 4, 2006). "Playstations for Peace". The Nation. 
  19. ^ Michael Calabrese, Lawrence K. Grossman and Kay Howell (April 2006). "Serious Games: Strengthening America's Competitive Edge Through Investment in Advanced Technology Tools for Learning". New America Foundation. 
  20. ^ Serious Games Summit D.C. (2006). "Interactive Solutions for Shared Challenges". CMP Media.  Conference announcement.
  21. ^ U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, et al. (2003). "H.R. 1396, Spectrum Commons and Digital Dividends Act of 2003". U.S. Library of Congress. 
  22. ^ U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, et al. (2003). "S. 1854, Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act". U.S. Library of Congress. 
  23. ^ Adam Thierer, Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., and Thomas Pearson (October 28, 2002). "Birth of the Digital New Deal: An Inventory of High-Tech Pork-Barrel Spending". Cato Institute. 
  24. ^ U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, et al. (2005). "S. 1023, Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act". U.S. Library of Congress. 
  25. ^ U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula, et al. (2005). "H.R. 2512, Digital Opportunity Investment Trust Act". U.S. Library of Congress. 
  26. ^ See reference [3].