Most Recent Press Release:
WASHINGTON, DC—CoSN and the Alliance for Excellent Education today issued two complementary resources for school leaders to advance digital equity and increase broadband connectivity to students nationwide.
Advancing Digital Equity and Closing the Homework Gap details the current state of broadband access, its adoption, and its barriers in U.S. communities. The second brief, Advancing Digital Equity: An Update on the FCC’s Lifeline Program, recaps efforts to modernize the Lifeline Program, explains how these changes are at risk, and puts forth ways school leaders can stand up for the program and its positive impact on learning.
“High-quality broadband access at home is becoming the backbone of engaging, modern learning environments. Unfortunately, far too many students and their families do not have this connectivity and are falling behind,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The digital divide is too big and there is too much at stake for America’s students if we do not tackle this challenge. It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ effort, locally and nationally.”
“In an information-age economy, learning does not begin and end at the school door,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Teachers are increasingly turning to technology to deliver real-world content and ensure that students stay engaged with the learning process in school and at home. Rather than undercutting the program, the FCC should fully implement the modernization of Lifeline and ensure that all children have access to ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning.”
In the briefs, the groups underscore current data that paint the picture of broadband access and its implications:
- The Pew Research Center found that 5 million households with school-age children do not have broadband access. Low-income families make up a heavy share of those households.
- According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 42 percent of teachers reported that their students lack sufficient access to technology outside of the classroom.
- Results from CoSN’s 2016 Annual Infrastructure Survey show that 75 percent of district technology leaders ranked addressing the lack of broadband access outside of school as a “very important” or “important” issue for their district to address.
- In the same survey, 68 percent of respondents reported that affordability is the greatest barrier to out-of-school broadband access.
Over time, the Lifeline Program has provided critical support for underserved Americans to help improve these trends. In March 2016, the FCC approved updates to the Lifeline Program that would expand it to include broadband service; require providers to offer devices that are WiFi and hotspot enabled; and add a new process for other broadband providers to join the program.
However, recent actions under new FCC leadership have limited the program’s expansion and jeopardized implementation of the program’s changes. CoSN and the Alliance encourage school leaders to not only urge federal modernization efforts but also to take steps on the state-level to increase connectivity. These steps include: creating a legal framework that includes “broadband-only” options for providers; offering state-level subsidies to Lifeline-eligible households; and collaborating with other states and the federal government.
Learn more about CoSN’s leadership on digital equity here.
CoSN is the premier voice and resource for K-12 education technology leaders nationwide. Serving more than 13 million students in America’s school systems, CoSN provides education leaders with the tools and relationships to leverage technology and advance modern, engaging learning environments. Visit cosn.org to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam. Learn more: cosn.org
About the Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, a career, and citizenship. Learn more: all4ed.org
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Alliance in the News
Most Recent News Story:
Nonprofit leaders working to raise the nation’s high school graduation rate say it’s an economic imperative, and they say out-of-school-time (OST) partners play an important role. This was part of the message at the Aspen Institute early in May, where the latest report on high school graduation was released by the Alliance for Excellent Education and America’s Promise Alliance. “This country doesn’t move ahead unless we all move ahead,” Bob Wise, former congressman, former governor of West Virginia and current president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, said at the event.
More News Stories:
Tech & LearningMay 16, 2017
The seventh annual Digital Learning Day (DLDay) will take place on Thursday, February 22, 2018. Created by the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2012, DLDay is a nationwide celebration that highlights great teaching and demonstrates how technology can improve student outcomes.
Cabinet ReportMay 9, 2017
While graduation rates have steadily increased throughout the country, the U.S. is still drastically lagging in improving the likelihood that at-risk students will receive a high school diploma within four years, according to new research.
Education WeekMay 17, 2017
How do we ensure that our schools are preparing students from every background and community for good jobs and careers in this rapidly changing economy and labor market? This question is consistently raised by parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers. Past PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) results, which rank countries around the world based on student achievement levels, have suggested that the United States is in the middle of the pack compared to other international systems when it comes to equipping its young people with the skills needed to be successful in the global labor market.
National School Boards AssociationMay 15, 2017
When turnover is high, a district can end up focusing more on hiring bodies than supporting existing talent, reports “On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers,” a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education.