Boosting School Connections for High-Speed Learning
Posted July 2015
As we prepare our kids to go back to school this fall, we make a mental list of the supplies necessary for a quality education: a few notebooks, plenty of pens and pencils, and a new backpack to get everything from point A to point B. But the most important school supply in the 21st century isn’t something you can pick up at the store: it’s high-speed broadband in the classroom. Why broadband? Technology has the potential to revolutionize education in this country, but not without the Internet speeds to support it. Today, 40 million of America’s students are trying to learn skills for tomorrow with dial-up speeds of the past.
Making high-speed Internet available in every K-12 classroom across the United States is a problem we can solve.
Over the past three years, EducationSuperHighway has put the critical building blocks in place to make this vision a reality.
“We made school upgrades a national priority by catalyzing President Obama to announce his ambitious ConnectED initiative to connect 99% of students to high-speed broadband within five years.”
We organized a bipartisan group of America’s leading CEOs, policymakers, and EdTech innovators to support school upgrades. We also led the effort to modernize the Federal Communication Commission’s E-rate program, resulting in $3.9 billion per year of funding for K-12 connectivity – making it possible to connect every school to fiber and every classroom to Wi-Fi.
And now it’s time for our nation’s governors to step up.
History shows that states with the best K-12 connectivity had early executive leadership. For that reason, we are working with leading governors and their teams to bring their schools into the 21st century. In Virginia, we partnered with Governor McAuliffe to help school districts leverage price transparency to increase their bandwidth by 500% with only a 15% increase in their budget. In Arkansas we advised Governor Hutchinson as he led an overhaul of the state network that will enable all school districts to meet the state’s connectivity targets by the coming school year. If every governor joins these leaders in taking action, we can close the K-12 digital divide in the next five years.
Our schools now rank 17th in reading, 20th in science, 27th in math, and 16th in technological readiness compared to other developed nations. Only when America fully integrates technology in the classroom can we retake the lead in education. Broadband is the crucial first step and the foundation on which we can build schools that prepare all of America’s students to compete and succeed in the knowledge economy.