Most Recent Press Release:
Superintendents, School Leaders, and National Education Organizations Urge FCC to Maintain Support for Wi-Fi in Schools
WASHINGTON, DC— More than 250 superintendents, school leaders, and local and national education organizations urged the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC) to continue its support of high-speed Wi-Fi services in schools and libraries through the federal E-rate program.
The FCC recently modernized the E-rate program, which provides schools and libraries with high-speed internet, to include Wi-Fi services in addition to broadband. Last month, the FCC requested public comments on the current funding levels for Wi-Fi services at $1 billion annually for five years.
In response, the groups submitted letters highlighting that in 2015, more than 42,700 schools have accessed funding for Wi-Fi infrastructure and services, and that 83 percent of the $1 billion in funding provided by the FCC that year went to low-income schools.
Nearly 200 school and district leaders representing thirty-eight states, and more than fifty leading organizations, including the Alliance for Excellent Education; Common Sense Kids Action; CoSN (Consortium for School Networking); Education SuperHighway; Funds for Learning; International Association for K–12 Online Learning; National Association of State Boards of Education; Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition; and Urban Libraries Council, signed on to support preserving and continuing the FCC’s current commitment of $1 billion annually for Wi-Fi services through E-rate.
The groups emphasize the importance of providing digital access to the nation’s students through E-rate and urge that progress not be undercut:
“In today’s modern economy, it is critical that the nation’s schools and libraries have robust Wi-Fi to support digital learning for students and library patrons alike. High-speed broadband enables students across the country to engage in courses and learning opportunities that were not previously available in brick-and-mortar classrooms; allows educators to take advantage of online and digital resources and tools to transform teaching and learning; and helps librarians provide students with after-school homework access and adult education and workforce development opportunities for their communities.
“There is still work to be done to ensure that all students attend a school with high-speed internet access … 6.5 million students still lack access to high-speed broadband for digital learning and 10,000 schools report having insufficient Wi-Fi in their classrooms.
“The FCC’s role in supporting access to high-speed Wi-Fi in schools and classrooms is critical to preparing the nation’s students to compete in an increasingly global workforce.”
E-rate has provided funds and discounts to make internet connectivity and other telecommunications services more affordable for schools and libraries since its creation in 1996. The greatest discounts are available to rural schools and libraries and those that serve high-poverty populations.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.
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Most Recent Op-Ed:
Analysis: Strong Incentives for Academic Progress in New York’s Early ESSA Plan, But Goals Could Be More Ambitious
By Phillip Lovell. While students are gearing up for the new school year, education leaders across the country have been hunkering down all summer to finish up their state education plans as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Sixteen states and the District of Columbia submitted their state plans to the U.S. Department […]
Bob Wise & Daniel Cardinali: As ESSA Frees Up Federal Funds, Districts Should Invest in America’s ‘Graduation Dividend’
Over the next few weeks, America should reach an important new milestone. Thanks to a lot of hard work by educators everywhere, high school graduation rates have inched up 1 percentage point every...
Bob Wise & John Gomperts: Six Ways for State Governors to Help Raise the Nation’s High School Graduation Rate
Spurred on by increased federal oversight and hard work by teachers, parents and students, the number of U.S. high school dropouts has decreased – falling to 750,000 in 2012 from 1 million in 2008....
Alliance in the News
Most Recent News Story:
If Utah were to graduate 90 percent of high school students, the state’s economy would be more productive by millions of dollars each year according to a new study from the national Alliance for Excellent Education.
More News Stories:
Los Angeles SentinelDecember 21, 2017
“Public reporting is going to be very important, because state systems, like what goes into [calculating] letter grades for schools, are incredibly complex,” said Phillip Lovell.
Desert NewsDecember 11, 2017
According to recent research by the Alliance for Excellent Education, increasing Utah's high school graduation rate to 90 percent would lead to more education and higher incomes for those graduates, which would translate into higher rates of home buying and boost income tax collections.
The Post and CourierDecember 26, 2017
What would happen to South Carolina's economy if the state's high school graduation rate — now at a peak of 84.6 percent — was as high as Iowa's (91.3 percent) or New Jersey's (90.1 percent)?
Arizona Mayors Meet to Focus on Education Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable Meeting Addresses Every Student Succeeds Act
Markets InsiderDecember 11, 2017
Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and now president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, led a discussion with the mayors and 14 school district superintendents invited by them to attend the Roundtable meeting. They discussed what ESSA means for state and school district policies, as well as what city leaders should know and understand about the law.