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Coalition of Education Organizations: FCC Chairman’s E-Rate Modernization Proposal Is “Critical First Step” Toward Providing All Students with Access to High-Speed Broadband

Press Release:

Coalition of Education Organizations: FCC Chairman’s E-Rate Modernization Proposal Is “Critical First Step” Toward Providing All Students with Access to High-Speed Broadband

Washington, DC – In a joint letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel, Ajit Pai, and Michael O’Reilly, ten diverse education organizations expressed support for Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to update the federal E-rate program.

The letter, signed by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Council of Chief State School Officers, Digital Promise, EducationSuperHighway, Funds for Learning, International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL), Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission, National Association of State Boards of Education, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), reads

“This plan offers an important and timely first step toward achieving the critical national goal of providing at least 99 percent of America’s students with access to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries within the next five years.

“High-speed internet access, including reliable Wi-Fi, is vital for providing today’s students with a world-class education in the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, half of E-rate applicants have slower internet access than the average American home. Moreover, three out of five schools lack sufficient Wi-Fi to take advantage of digital learning opportunities to strengthen student instruction. The fact that no funding was available from E-rate last year to support Wi-Fi demonstrates that this program must be modernized and expanded, including ensuring sufficient resources are available over time to meet the chairman’s five-year goal.

“We support the chairman’s proposal as a critical first step, and look forward to working with the FCC as it continues to modernize and expand E-rate toward the goal of providing at least 99 percent of America’s students with access to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries within the next five years.”

The full letter is available at https://all4ed.org/reports-factsheets/erate-coalition-letter/.

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Alliance for Excellent Education

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

Consortium for School Networking

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership and the CETL certification exam.

Council of Chief State School Officers

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public. www.ccsso.org

Digital Promise

Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education in order to improve the opportunity to learn for all Americans. Through its work with educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading thinkers, Digital Promise supports a comprehensive agenda to benefit lifelong learning and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy. www.digitalpromise.org

EducationSuperHighway

EducationSuperHighway is a nonprofit organization with the mission of ensuring that every K–12 public school has reliable, high-capacity internet access so they can take advantage of the promise of digital learning. Backed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the team of educators, business executives, and engineers is led by entrepreneur Evan Marwell. ww.educationsuperhighway.org

Funds for Learning

Funds for Learning is a professional firm specializing in the federal E-rate funding program. Its mission is to provide high-quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate program participants. It consults with clients to help them understand, effectively utilize, and maintain compliance with E-rate rules and regulations. www.fundsforlearning.com

International Association for K–12 Online Learning

The International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) works to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality blended and online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. iNACOL is a nonprofit organization focused on research; developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access; developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended, and competency-based education; and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school, district, and state leaders for new learning models. www.inacol.org

Leading Education by Advancing Digital Commission

Answering a challenge from the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Education, the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission was established to determine how technology can help transform education in America. The LEAD Commission is cochaired by Lee Bollinger (president of Columbia University), Jim Coulter (cofounder of TPG Capital), Margaret Spellings (former U.S. Secretary of Education), and Jim Steyer (founder and CEO of Common Sense Media). www.leadcommission.org

National Association of State Boards of Education

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state and territorial boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in educating all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education. www.nasbe.org

State Educational Technology Directors Association

Founded in 2001, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal nonprofit membership association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology leaders. SETDA’s mission is to build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through technology policy and practice. www.setda.org

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