President To Announce Major Education Broadband Initiative
June 6, 2013
This afternoon, President Obama will announce a major initiative called ConnectED which include a proposal to provide high-speed broadband Internet access to virtually every school in the country by expanding the federal E-rate program. To watch the live announcement, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live at 3:00 today. I will send an update as soon as we have more details.
According to the White House talking points, here is what we know at this time:
• Upgraded Connectivity: The ConnectED initiative will, within five years, connect 99 percent of America’s students, through next-generation broadband (at speeds no less than 100Mbps and with a target of 1Gbps) to, and high-speed wireless within, their schools and libraries. The President is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize and leverage the existing E-Rate program, and leverage the expertise of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to deliver this connectivity to states, districts, and schools. [Julie comment: We've heard this may include a 5-year doubling of the E-rate fund.]
• Teacher Training: The ConnectED initiative invests in improving the skills of teachers, ensuring that every educator in America receives support and training in using education
technology tools to improve student learning. Using existing federal funding through Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Department of Education will work with states and school districts to invest in this kind of professional development to help teachers keep pace with changing technology. Additionally, federal funds under Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act may be used to train educators to use the educational technology needed to implement new, computer-based assessments of student learning.
• Leveling the Playing Field for Rural Students: Rural communities will experience some of the greatest benefits of new education technologies, as ConnectED will help provide new learning opportunities to level the playing field for rural students. The Universal Service Fund has been transformative in the past twenty years providing rural communities with telephone services, and now broadband. The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) has helped us connect under-served community anchor institutions. ConnectED builds on those efforts, with greater returns for communities finding it difficult to attract broadband investment.
• New Resources for Teachers: ConnectED will lead to new resources for teachers from any school, at any time, to open their classrooms to interactive demonstrations, lessons from world-renowned experts, or the opportunity to build learning communities and to collaborate with other educators across the country or world. New digital education tools that allow for real-time assessments of student learning, provide more immediate feedback to drive professional development, and enable the creation of interactive online lessons can empower teachers to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses and design lessons and activities that better meet their needs. Our teachers are being asked to do more than ever, and they need to be equipped with better tools to help them succeed. With the right investments, technology can play a central role.
• Educational Devices for Students: Leading companies in technology are capable of producing feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks. Districts that choose to purchase devices can come together to purchase them in volume to achieve greater cost savings— but purchasing choices remain in the hands of local educational leaders.
• Support for Digital Educational Content: A robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of these investments and create American jobs and export opportunities in a global education marketplace of over $1 trillion. Third-party validators can help schools find educational software (including apps) that provide content aligned with college- and career-ready standards being adopted and implemented by States across America.
White House Fact Sheet: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/connected_fact_sheet.pdf
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 - o
717-730-9060 - f