An “overwhelming” 83 percent of voters support a proposal to put high-speed internet access in all American public schools within the next five years, according to a recent survey from the bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission. Support for the proposal remains very high at 69 percent when voters were told that it would be paid for by a fee of about $4 a year for three years on every cell phone user.
“We are pleased to see the public shares our concern and support for increasing access to technology in classrooms,” said Jim Steyer, LEAD Commissioner and founder and chief executive officer of Common Sense Media. “Technology access is not just an education issue; it is a global economic issue. We agree that more must be done to allow American teachers and students to remain globally competitive.”
Support remained high, even when broken out by political parties and parents versus non-parents. As shown in the graph to the right, majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, as well as parents and non-parents, express support for the proposal and the fee.
When asked why expanding high-speed internet access in public schools was important, 90 percent of voters said it would permit teachers to incorporate technology into their curriculum and teach students the skills they need for twenty-first-century jobs. Additionally, 88 percent said that high-speed internet improves the quality of education every child gets by providing access to new learning resources, online educational tools, instruction on foreign languages, college-prep tools, and distance-learning programs; 86 percent said that it would help level the playing field for students in inner-city and rural schools.
The LEAD Commission was established to determine how technology can help transform education in America. In addition to Steyer, it is cochaired by Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University; Jim Coulter, cofounder of TPG Capital; and former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Findings from the survey are based on 800 interviews with a proportionally representative sample of registered voters nationwide.
More information on the survey is available at http://www.leadcommission.org/news/bipartisan-lead-commission-releases-poll-finding-voters-support-improved-technology-broadband.